Can Plaint be Amended at Later Stage?
Table of Content:-
- Background of the case
- Issues Raised
- Statutory Provisions Involved
- Submissions of the parties
- Judgment Analysis
- Case Laws:-
- Revajeetu Builders & Developers Vs. Narayanaswamy & Sons [(2009) 10 SCC 84
Valo Automotive Pvt. Ltd. vs Sprint Cars Pvt. Ltd. & ors. [CM (M) 324/ 2021]
Background of the case
The petitioner had filed a civil suit against the respondent company, that is, Sprint Cars Pvt. Ltd. to recover the amount of Rs. 31, 65, 271 accompanied with the interest. Summons was issued and in the perusal of the summons, the respondents firstly appeared before the court on 18th October 2018. On 27th November 2018, the court referred the matter to the mediation centre for an amicable settlement but the proceedings were not successful. On 11th March 2019 petitioner filed the compilation of the rejoinder affidavit to the written statement accompanied with an application under Order 12 Rule 6 read with Order 8 Rules 3, 4, and 5 of the code of civil procedure, 1908 for judgment on admission.
Further, the plaintiff filed the applications under Order 6 Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 for amending their plaint and under Order 7 Rule 14 of the code of Civil Procedure, 1908 to bring the documents on record to enhance the claim to Rs. 39, 03, 396.
The trial court rejected the application for amendment by reasoning that the amendment amount to raise in the claim which was relinquished by the plaintiff at the time of filing and the same cannot be allowed.
- Whether the application of the plaintiff under Order 6 Rule 17 CPC and Order 7 Rule 14 CPC is maintainable?
- Does filing the lesser claim in initial pleadings amounts to relinquishment of the remaining claim?
Statutory Provisions Involved
- Order 6 Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908
“Amendment of pleadings
The Court may at any stage of the proceedings allow either party to alter or amend his pleadings in such manner and on such terms as may be just, and all such amendments shall be made as may be necessary for the purpose of determining the real questions in controversy between the parties : Provided that no application for amendment shall be allowed after the trial has commenced, unless the Court comes to the conclusion that in spite of due diligence, the party could not have raised the matter before the commencement of trial.”
- Order 7 Rule 14 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908
“Production of document on which plaintiff sues or relies
(1) Where a plaintiff sues upon a document or relies upon document in his possession or power in support of his claim, he shall enter such documents in a list, and shall produce it in Court when the plaint is presented by him and shall, at the same time deliver the document and a copy thereof, to be filed with the plaint.
(2) Where any such document is not in the possession or power of the plaintiff, he shall, wherever possible, state in whose possession or power it is. [(3) A document which ought to be produced in Court by the plaintiff when the plaint is presented, or to be entered in the list to be added or annexed to the plaint but is not produced or entered accordingly, shall not, without the leave of the Court, be received in evidence on his behalf at the hearing of the suit.] (4) Nothing in this rule shall apply to document produced for the cross-examination of the plaintiff’s witnesses, or handed over to a witness merely to refresh his memory.]”
- Order 2 Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908
“Suit to include the whole claim
(1) Every suit shall include the whole of the claim which the plaintiff is entitled to make in respect of the cause of action; but a plaintiff may relinquish any portion of his claim in order to bring the suit within the jurisdiction of any Court.
(2) Relinquishment of part of claim.—where a plaintiff omits to sue in respect of, or intentionally relinquishes, any portion of his claim, he shall not afterwards sue in respect of the portion so omitted or relinquished.
(3) Omission to sue for one of several reliefs.—A person entitled to more than one relief in respect of the same cause of action may sue for all or any of such reliefs; but if he omits, except with the leave of the Court, to sue for all such reliefs, he shall not afterwards sue for any relief so omitted.
Explanation.—for the purposes of this rule an obligation and a collateral security for its performance and successive claims arising under the same obligation shall be deemed respectively to constitute but one cause of action.”
Submissions of the Parties
The contention of the petitioner
Learned Counsel Mr. Zahid submitted the following on behalf of the petitioner/ plaintiff:-
- It was submitted that the Trial Court is erroneous in rejecting the application for amendment by stating it belated.
- It was further submitted that the said amendment would not amount to bring a change in the nature of the suit.
- Further, it was contended that the delay in filing for the amendment was not because of the fault of the plaintiff but due to the proceedings of the mediation centre.
The contention of the Respondents
Learned Counsel Mr. Ritik Malik submitted the following on behalf of the respondents:-
- It was submitted that the said order of the Trial Court is in accordance with the law and therefore, there is no ground to allow the said amendment.
- Further, it was submitted that the original claim was of Rs. 31, 65, 271 and the bill and invoices petitioner now sought to be put on record is also available with the petitioner at the time of the filing of the suit.
- It was added that after having all the documents with him petitioner chooses to file a claim for lesser amount5 and it implied that he had given up his claim for the rest of the amount.
- It was further submitted that if an amendment sought is of the nature in respect of which fresh suit is barred then in such case amendment cannot be allowed and it was contended by relying upon the decision of the Revajeetu Builders & Developers Vs. Narayanaswamy & Sons [(2009) 10 SCC 84].
The court observed that the original plaint was filed to recover the amount of Rs. 31, 65, 271 with the interest of 18% p.a. against the four defendants. The directors of the respondent company Mr. Anuj Kapoor and Mr. Atul Kapoor had denied that they don’t owe any due towards the plaintiff/ petitioner as the parties had already settled their account.
The court stated that after the trial begins if the party filed an application to amend their pleadings as per the provisions of Order 6 Rule 17 CPC the court may allow the application if the court has satisfied itself that such averments not included in the initial stage after exercising due diligence. The court stated that the present case is at a preliminary stage and the court opined that the learned commercial court granted an opportunity to the petitioner/ plaintiff to file the replication. Also here the petitioner/ plaintiff doesn’t relinquish any claim but they want to correct the amount of the claim.
The court while deciding the application of amendment must consider the effective adjudication of the controversy involved and avoidance of multiplicity of the judicial proceedings. The court also opined that Order 2 Rule 2 CPC has no application at the stage of deciding an application filed under Order 7 Rule 17 CPC to amend the plaint unless it is to incorporate claims that could have been raised an earlier suit.
Further, the court stated that the reliance of the respondent upon the Revajeetu Builders Case but that case doesn’t support his contention but that case shows that the learned commercial court didn’t consider the needs for the amendments for the disposal of the case.
The court further observed that the Trial Court had relied upon the Order 9 Rule 5 CPC which is applicable on the commercial disputes but the court has overlooked the provisions of Order 9 Rule 1 (1) (c) (ii) CPC which allows the plaintiff to file the documents in order to answer the questions raised by the defendant after filing of the plaint.
The court held that the impugned order is liable to be set aside as the same is erroneous.
The court grants an opportunity to the petitioner/ plaintiff to file the amended plaint along with the relevant documents and statement of truth before the commercial court within two weeks from the date of judgment and an advance copy must be submitted to the respondents/ defendants.
However the petitioner needs to pay Rs. 10, 000 as the cost of granting this permission, and the cost has to be paid to the respondents.