5 Jun 2023 3:45 AM GMT
The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has reiterated that the actual purpose of Order 6 Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) in the legal system is to advance the cause of justice rather than impede it.This provision exists to ensure that parties involved in a legal dispute receive fair and comprehensive resolution and by granting amendments, the courts strive to achieve...
The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has reiterated that the actual purpose of Order 6 Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) in the legal system is to advance the cause of justice rather than impede it.
This provision exists to ensure that parties involved in a legal dispute receive fair and comprehensive resolution and by granting amendments, the courts strive to achieve the ultimate goal of doing full and complete justice for all involved, a bench of Justice Javed Iqbal Wani emphasised.
Order 6 Rule 17 CPC allows for the amendment of pleadings. This provision grants the court the power to allow parties to modify or alter their pleadings, including the plaint or written statement, at any stage of the proceedings.
In a matter under Article 227 of the Constitution of India the petitioner had assailed an order passed by Sub Judge/Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jammu whereby the trial court had allowed an application permitting the respondents/defendant to file the amended written statement within a period of 30 days.
The petitioner had originally filed a suit against the respondents, seeking to set aside a judgment and decree declaring sole legal heirs of the deceased, who was an employee in the police department and passed away in December 2015. She claimed to be deceased's second wife and argued that she is entitled to the deceased's estate and his service benefits, along with respondents 3 & 4, who are the minor children from the deceased's first marriage.
The respondents admitted that the petitioner married the deceased but stated that she left his house after funeral ritual and to live with another man. They argued that she disentitled herself from claiming any rights in the deceased's estate or his service benefits.
During the suit proceedings, the respondents filed an application to amend their written statement, providing additional details about the petitioner's alleged marriage to another man. The petitioner objected to the amendment, arguing that it was beyond the scope of the relevant court rules and a delaying tactic.
The trial court allowed the respondents' application and permitted them to file the amended written statement, citing the court's authority to allow parties to alter or amend pleadings in order to determine the real issues in dispute.
The court observed that the defendants filed an application to amend their written statement, specifically to elaborate on the fact that the petitioner remarried after leaving the deceased's house and is now living with him as his legally wedded wife. The amendment sought to provide additional details and clarify the circumstances surrounding the petitioner's alleged second marriage, the bench pointed.
Expounding the law on the subject, Justice Wani observed that the underlying object of Order 6 Rule 17 Court should try the merits of the case that comes before it and should consequently allow the amendments that may be necessary for determining the real question in controversy between the parties, as ultimately the Courts exist for doing justice between the parties and not for punishing them.
"The Courts are empowered to grant amendments of the pleadings in the larger interest of doing full and complete justice to the parties. The provision of Order 6 Rule 17, in law, is intended for promoting the ends of justice and not for defeating them", the bench maintained.
Recognising the proposed amendment to the written statement as material in nature and relevant to the controversy in the suit, the court emphasized that the trial court must have all necessary and conclusive information to effectively determine the issues involved in the suit and render a decision on its merits.
Finding no grounds for interference, the bench dismissed the petition.
Case Title: Rajni Devi Vs State of J&K
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (JKL) 148
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment