Can pleadings be amended after a trial has begun? Supreme Court answers

The in a recent order has stated that the of at the stage of evidence can be allowed only when the court is satisfied that in spite of , the party could not introduce amendment before the commencement of the trial.

The plaintiff in a partition suit filed an application seeking amendment of plaint at a stage when the evidence had already begun. The defendant had contended that, in view of Order VI Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the amendment could not have been admitted, unless the court returned a finding that, in spite of due diligence, the party could not have raised the matter before the commencement of the trial.

The proviso to order VI rule 17 explains that- ‘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 the trial.’

The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah observed –
‘In the present case, the Civil Judge has not returned any finding that the Court is satisfied that in spite of due diligence, the party could not have raised the matter before the commencement of trial.’

The Hon’ble Court further observed that-
‘There is no finding by the Court that the Court is satisfied in spite of due diligence, the party could not introduce amendment before the commencement of the trial, the order of the Trial Judge is unsustainable.

The High Court has not adverted to the above aspect of the matter.’ the court further held that-‘ There being no finding by the Court that the Court is satisfied in spite of due diligence, the party could not introduce amendment before commencement of the trial, the order of the Trial Judge is unsustainable.’

The Hon’ble court thereby allowed the appeal of the petitioner and set aside the order of the High court and that of the trial judge on the ground that there had been no finding by the court that in spite of due diligence, the party could not introduce an amendment to the trial.

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