Pleadings can be defined as statements filed by each party to the case in
writing, stating his contentions and mentioning all necessary details which the
other party is required to know in order to prepare his side of the case. A
plaintiff’s pleading is his plaint, which incorporates all material facts along
with necessary particulars and sets out his cause of action, whereas a
defendant’s pleading is his written statement in which he deals with each and
every material fact alleged by the plaintiff in his statement and is also
allowed to mention new facts which can be used to support his side of the
This is mentioned in Order VI Rule 1 and Rule 2 of CPC. It is to be
noted that the pleadings should only state material facts in a concise form and
not the law or evidence. However, there are situations where the party might
need to amend his pleadings before or even once the trial has commenced due to
fresh information coming to his notice or new documents having been disclosed
which he was initially unaware of.
These changes in circumstances might lead to
him having a weaker case and thus makes it essential for him to reshape his
claim or defence. It is to be kept in mind that whenever such an application for
amendment is made by a party, an opportunity has to be provided to the other
party to file an objection against it, otherwise the order allowing the
amendment will be considered illegal and invalid until and unless the amendment
is purely formal or technical in nature. It is mandatory for the court to record
its reasons for allowing/disallowing any amendment.
Order VI Rule 17 of CPC provides for amendment of pleadings. It states:
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.”
It is clear
from the reading of Order VI Rule 17, CPC that it comprises of two parts- first
part being discretionary (may) and the other being imperative (shall). The first
part allows the court to apply its discretion while ordering amendment of
pleadings, whereas the second part enjoins the court to permit all necessary
amendments for the purpose of determining the real issue in controversy in the
suit provided it does not cause any prejudice or injustice to the other party.
This was discussed by the court in the case of Rajesh Kumar Agarwal & Ors v.
K.K. Modi & Ors
The primary aim of the section is to provide courts with a power to try the case
on merits and allow amendments that might be required to decide the real issue
in dispute between the parties. It should be kept in mind that no injustice is
caused if the other side can be compensated by costs.
It is the cardinal test
which ought to be satisfied for allowing any amendment. This is done by keeping
in mind the larger interest of the society and for providing complete justice to
the aggrieved. The court should be mindful to not allow amendments that are
unnecessary or filed with a mala fide intention. This approach was taken by the
court in the case of Kisandas v. Rachappa Vithoba
 and later on reiterated in
the case Pirgonda Hongonda Patil v. Kalgonda Shidgonda Patil.
The provisions pertaining to amendment of pleadings should be construed
liberally so as to promote the ends of justice and not to defeat them. Some of
the important principles that should be borne in mind while dealing with
applications concerning amendment of pleadings were discussed in the case of Dalip
Kaur v. Major Singh
They are as follows:
- All amendments which are imperative for determination of the real
controversy in the suit should be permitted
- The amendment sought should not change or modify the original cause of
action on the grounds of which the initial suit was filed.
- Conflicting and contradictory claims in violation to the previously
admitted facts should not be permitted.
- The amendment sought should not cause injustice to the other party.
- The amendment of a claim barred by time should not be permitted.
- No amendment which would result in defeating a legal right of the
opposite party on account of lapse of time should be permitted.
- No party should undergo distress on account of technicalities of law.
The amendment should be permitted to curtail the number of litigation
between the parties.
- The other party should be adequately compensated by costs when there is
a delay in filing an application for amendment.
The court in the case of A.K. Gupta & Sons v. Damodar Valley Corporation
that a party should not be allowed to set up a new case or a new cause of action
by way of an amendment; however if the amendment amounts to no more than a
different or additional approach to the same facts, it shall be permitted even
after the expiry of the limitation period in the interests of justice. The
objective here is to safeguard the rights of the party and not to punish them.
The court in the case of B.K.N. Narayana Pillai v. P. Pillai & Ors
that the principles pertaining to amendment are equally applicable to both
plaint and written statement. However, the courts seem to be more generous in
admitting the amendment of the written statement than one of the plaint, as
question of prejudice is less likely to occur in that case. The defendant in his
defence has the right to take an alternative plea, which is subject to an
exception that the amendment sought should not result in causing prejudice to
the other party and that any admission made in the favour of the plaintiff
cannot be taken back. All the other principles that were laid down in the case
of Dalip Kaur v. Major Singh
 were reiterated in this case.
The court even has a right to reject the leave to amend where it thinks that the
amendment sought is unnecessary for the purpose of determining the real issue in
dispute between the parties; introduces an entirely new and different case which
could lead to a change in the fundamental character of the primary suit; where
the result of the amendment sought is to revoke from the other party a legal
right arising in his favour; or where the application made for amendment is not
done in good faith.
- Takwani, C. and Thakker, M., 2017. Civil Procedure. 8th ed. Lucknow:
Eastern Book Co., p.188-196.
- Rajesh Kumar Agarwal & Ors v. K.K. Modi & Ors (2006) 4 SCC 385
- Kisandas v. Rachappa Vithoba (1909) 11 Bom LR 1042
- Pirgonda Hongonda Patil v. Kalgonda Shidgonda Patil 1957 SCR 559
- Dalip Kaur v. Major Singh AIR 1996 P&H 107
- A.K. Gupta & Sons v. Damodar Valley Corporation AIR 1967 SC 96
- B.K.N. Narayana Pillai v. P. Pillai & Ors (2000) 1 SCC 712
- Dalip Kaur v. Major Singh AIR 1996 P&H 107