23 March 2023 5:45 AM GMT
A bench comprising Justice Sunil Dutta Mishra of the Patna High Court, while allowing a civil miscellaneous petition held that a party cannot be refused just relief merely because of some mistake, negligence, inadvertence or even infraction of the rules of procedure.In this case, the Civil Miscellaneous application was preferred for setting aside the order passed by Sub-Judge, Gaya in a...
A bench comprising Justice Sunil Dutta Mishra of the Patna High Court, while allowing a civil miscellaneous petition held that a party cannot be refused just relief merely because of some mistake, negligence, inadvertence or even infraction of the rules of procedure.
In this case, the Civil Miscellaneous application was preferred for setting aside the order passed by Sub-Judge, Gaya in a Suit wherein the Sub-Judge rejected the amendment petition filed by the petitioners under Order 6 Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
Briefly, the petitioners who are the original defendants filed a suit seeking a declaration that a sale deed in favour of the the respondents who are the original plaintiffs was void and unenforceable in law because of fraudulent conduct.
The petitioners alleged that the first respondent was an illiterate pardanashin lady who signed on blank paper and the registered sale deed was executed fraudulently, so she challenged the legality of the said registered sale deed.
The Petitioners had appeared and filed a joint written statement denying the respondents’ claim and requested for the suit to be dismissed with costs. The petitioners claimed that the respondents executed the sale deed in favour of the defendants after receiving the entire consideration amount, a witness being her son.
When the defendants discovered that the step son had been inadvertently incorporated into their written statement, which needed to be corrected, they filed an amendment petition for amendment of their written statement in relevant paras, to which the plaintiffs objected.
The petitioners' amendment petition was denied by the Trial Court. As a result of which the petitioners filed a miscellaneous application in the High Court of Patna.
Counsel for the petitioners, Mr. Radha Mohan Pandey, made the following submissions:
Justice Mishra after hearing the counsel, opined that the Trial Court rejected the amendment petition because the petition is not maintainable, however did not assign any reason for the same whatsoever.
He said, "The principles of law with respect to amendment of pleading under Order 6 Rule 17 CPC is well settled. A far more liberal approach is to be adopted while considering the amendment in the written statement as distinguished from the amendment in the plaint."
He relied on the Apex Court's judgement in the case of Sushil Kumar Jain vs. Manoj Kumar (AIR 2009 SC 2544) wherein it was observed that in the case of an amendment of a written statement, the Courts would be more liberal in allowing than that of a plaint as the question of prejudice would be far less in the former than in the latter and addition of a new ground of defence or substituting or altering a defence or taking inconsistent pleas in the written statement can also be allowed.
"The Law is well settled that," Justice Mishra noted, "Rules of procedure are intended to be a handmaid to the administration of justice. A party cannot be refused just relief merely because of some mistake, negligence, inadvertence or even infraction of the rules of procedure.”
“The court always gives leave to amend the pleading of a party, unless it is satisfied that the party applying was acting mala fide, or that by his blunder, he had caused injury to his opponent which may not be compensated for by an order of costs.”
In the context of an application for amendment under Order 6 Rule 17 C.P.C. he relied on the Apex Court's judgement in Prem Bakshi v. Dharam Dev, (2002) 2 SCC 2 wherein it was observed that:
“It is almost inconceivable as to how mere amendment of pleadings could possibly cause failure of justice or irreparable injury to any party. Perhaps the converse is possible i.e. refusal to permit the amendment sought for could in certain situations result in miscarriage of justice. After all amendments of the pleadings would not amount to decisions on the issue involved. They would only serve advance notice to the other side as to the plea, which a party may take up. Hence, we cannot be envisaged where amendment of pleadings, whatever be the nature of such an amendment, would even remotely cause failure of justice or irreparable loss to any party.”
While allowing the application, Justice Mishra held, “In the present case, the amendment sought for in written statement was before the commencement of trial and to bring the true facts before the court and would not cause irreparable loss to the plaintiffs and the trial court ought to have allowed the amendment petition.”
Case Title: Hari Shankar Yadav Vs. Dakhiya Devi Civil Miscellaneous Jurisdiction No. 518 of 2018
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Pat) 14
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