Amendments that are consequential and do not change the nature of suit, can be allowed at any stage of the suit before the delivery of judgment

Patna High Court

Patna High Court: A Single judge bench comprising of Prabhat Kumar Jha, J. while hearing a civil miscellaneous petition held that when an amendment sought in a plaint is merely consequential and does not change the nature of the suit, then such an amendment can be allowed at any stage of the suit before the delivery of judgment.

The respondent in the instant case was the plaintiff in a title suit pending before trial court whereas petitioner was the defendant therein. The said title suit was at the stage of arguments when the respondent/ plaintiff filed a petition for two amendments, one with respect to change of areas of suit property and another with for addition of new relief that “if the court finds in any way the plaintiff out of possession, the delivery of possession may be ordered and within certain days the defendant be directed to hand over the possession”. These amendments were allowed by the trial court. Aggrieved by the said order, the petitioner/ defendant preferred the present petition.

The primary contention raised on behalf of the petitioner was that according to Section 34 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 the respondent/ plaintiff was required to make prayer for alternative or consequential relief. Failure to do the same was a ground to dismiss the suit. Also, in view of the proviso to Order VI Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 the elements of due diligence were lacking and unless the respondent/ plaintiff was able to show due diligence, the proviso barred any amendment made to the plaint after the commencement of arguments in the suit.

The High Court noted that the respondent/plaintiff had sought a declaration of title and confirmation of possession over suit land but after the conclusion of evidence, he found that consequential relief should have also been inserted in the plaint, and realized that the plaint also required correction in the area of the suit land. It was observed that the amendment sought for did not change the nature of suit and was merely consequential. As such, the consequential relief could be added at any time before the delivery of judgment in order to pass effective order/judgment for resolving the dispute between parties. On that observation, the present civil miscellaneous petition was dismissed holding that there was no infirmity in trial court’s order.[Suman Kumar v. Chhathi Lal Rai,2018 SCC OnLine Pat 1834, decided on 04-10-2018]

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