Jammu and Kashmir HC emphasized a Liberal Approach to Amendments Under O.6 R.17 CPC Before Trial

LI Network

Published on: January 12, 2024 at 00:25 IST

The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has emphasized the importance of adopting a liberal approach in allowing amendments under Order 6 Rule 17 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) unless it causes irreparable prejudice to the opposing party or fundamentally alters the nature of the lawsuit.

Justice M A Chowdhary’s bench underlined that, especially when an amendment is sought before the trial commencement, a lenient perspective should be considered, ensuring that the opposing party has an opportunity to respond to the amended case.

The observations came in response to a plea challenging an order from the Court of Sub Judge, Chadoora, rejecting an application seeking leave to amend a civil suit.

The case involved a property dispute in Budgam district, with the plaintiff, Haja Alias Hajira Bano, filing a partition suit against her brother and other family members. After initial pleadings, she sought to amend the plaint to incorporate a newly discovered sale deed related to part of the property.

The trial Court rejected the amendment application, citing Order 2 Rule 2 of the CPC, which prohibits subsequent suits for claims omitted from the initial suit. Overturning this decision, Justice Chowdhary clarified that Order 2 Rule 2 only applies to separate suits and not to amendments within an existing one.

Highlighting that the trial Court had erred in rejecting the amendment application without considering the required liberal approach before trial commencement, the bench emphasized:

“Where the amendment is sought before the commencement of the trial, which is the position in the present case as well, the Court is required to be liberal in its approach. The Court is required to bear in mind the fact that the opposite party would have a chance to meet the case set up by amendment, as such, where the amendment does not result in any irreparable prejudice to the opposite party or divests the opposite party of an advantage which it had secured as a result of admission by the party seeking amendment, the amendment is required to be allowed.”

Emphasizing the necessity of amendments to determine the actual controversy between parties, the Court noted that the petitioner/plaintiff had sought an amendment regarding the inclusion of a sale deed concerning a portion of the suit property.

Thus, it was deemed essential for the trial court to allow the requested amendment for effective adjudication of the dispute between the parties. Consequently, the court directed the trial court to accept the amended plaint for further proceedings in accordance with the law.

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