B.K-Narayana Pillai Vs. Pararneswaran Pillai & ANR  INSC 419 (13 December 1999)
R.P.Sethi Leave granted. Heard-.
The respondent-plaintiff filed a suit against' the appellant-defendant praymg. for
the grant of mandatory and prohibitory injunction seeking eviction allegedly on
the ground of his being' a licences, in the written statement filed the
appellant herein pleaded that he was not a licencee but a lessee. During the
trial of the suit the appellant filed an application for amendment of the
written statement to incorporate an alternative plea that in case the court
found that the defendant was a licencee, he was not liable to be evicted as
according to him the licence was irrevocable. He further wanted to add a plea
that first and 'second prayers in the plaint were barred.by.limitation and that
as acting upon the licence he has executed works of permanent nature and
incurred expenses in execution of the same,his iteence cannot be revoked by the
grantor under Section 60(b) of the Indian Eastements Act. 1882. The prayer was
rejected by the Trial Court as also by the High Court on the ground that the
proposed amendment, was mutusHy destructive which, if allowed, would amount to
permitting the defendant to withdraw the admission allegedly made by him in the
main written statement.
andob}ectof Order 6 Rule 17 CPC is to allow either party to alter or amend his
pleadings in such manner and on such terms as may be just. The power to allow
the amendment is wide and can be exercised at any stage of the proceedings in
the interests of justice on the basis of guideline laid down by various High
Courts and this Court.
true that the amendment cannot be clawed as a matter of right and under all
circumstances, But it is equally true that the courts while deciding such
prayers should not adopt hypertechnicai approach. Liberal approach should be
the general rule particularly in cases where the other side can be compensated
with the costs. Technicalities of law should not be permitted to hamper the
courts in the administration of justice between the parties. Amendments are
allowed in the pleadings to avoid uncalled for multiplicity of litigation.
Court in A.K. Gupta & Sons vs. Damodar Valley Corporation [1966 (l )SCR
general rule, no doubt, is that s party is not allowed by amendment to set up a
new case or a new cause of action particularly when a suit or new case or cause
of action is barred: Weldon v Neale (1887) 19 QBD 394. But it is also well recognised
that where the amendment does not constitute the addition of a new cause of
action or raise a different case, but amounts to no more than a different or
additional approach to the same facts, the amendment will be allowed even after
the expiry of the statutory period of limitation: See Charan Das v. Amir Khan
AIR 1921 PC 50 and LJ. Leach and Company limited and another v. Jardine Skinner
and Company 1957 SCR433.
principal reasons that have led to the rule last mentioned are, first, that the
object of courts and rules of procedure is to decide the rights of the parties
and not to punish them for their mistakes (Cropper v. Smith (1884) 26 Ch.D.
700) and secondly, that a party is strictly not entitled to rely on the statute
of limitation when what is sought to be brought in by the amendment can be said
in substance to be already in the pleading sought to be amended in Kishandas Rupchand
v. Rachappa Vithoba (1909) ILR 33 Born. 644 approved in Pirgonda Hongonda PatH
v. KalgondaShidgonda Patil 1957 SCR595.
expression 'cause of action' in the present context does not mean 'every fact
which it is material to oe proved to entitle the plaintiff to succeed' ss was
said in Cooke v. Gift (1873) 8 CH 107. in a different context, for if it were
so. no material fact could ever be amended or added and, of course, no one
would want to change or add an immaterial allegation by amendment. That
expression for the present purpose only means, a new claim made on a new basis
constituted by new facts. Such a view was taken in Robinson v. Unicos Proper
Corporation limited 1962-2 All ER 24, and it seems to us to be the only
possible view to take.
other view would make the rule futil. The words 'new case' have been understood
to mean 'new set of ideas': Doman v. J.W. Ellis and company Limited 1962-1 All
also seems to us to be a reasonable view to take. No amendment will be allowed
to introduce a new set of ideas to the prejudice of any right acquired by any
party by lapse of time." Again in Smt.Ganga Bai v. Vijay Kumar & Ors.
[1974 (2) SCC 3931 this Court held:
power to allow an amendment is undoubtedly wide and may at any stage be
appropriately exercised in the interest of justice, the law of limitation
the exercise of such far reaching discretionary powers ie governed by judicial
considerations and wider the discretion, greater ought to be the care and
circumspection on the part of the Court." In M/s.Ganesh Trading Company v.Moji
Ram [1978 (2) SCC 913 it was held;
is clear from the foregoing summary of the main rules of pleadings and
provisions for the amendment of pleadings, subject to such terms as to costs
and giving of all parties concerned necessary opportunities to meet exact
situations resulting from amendments, are intended for promoting the ends of
justice and not for defeating them.
if a party or its Counsel is inefficient in setting out its case initially the
short coming can certainly be removed generally by appropriate steps taken by a
party which must no dubt pay costs for the inconvenience or expense caused to
the other side from its omissions. The error is not incapable of being
rectified so long as remedial steps do not unjustifiably injure rights accrued.
principles applicable to the amendments of the plaint are equally appilcable to
the amendments of the written statements. The courts are more generous in
allowing the amendment of the written statement as question of prejudice is
less likely to operate in that event. The defendant has a right to take
alternative plea in defence which, however, is subject to an exception that by
the proposed amendment other side should not be subjected to injustice and that
any admission made in favour of the plaintiff is not withdrawn. All amendments
of the pleadings should be allowed which are necessary for determination of the
real controversies in the suit provided the proposed amendment does not alter
or substitute a new cause of action on the basis of which the original l's was
raised or defence taken. Inconsistent and contradictory allegations in negation
to the admitted position of facts or mutually destructive allegations of facts
should not be avowed to be incorporated by means of amendment to the pleadings.
amendment should not cause such prejudice to the other side which can not be
compensated by costs. No amendment should be allowed which amounts to or
relates in defeating s legal right accruing to the opposite part on account of
lapse of time. The delay in Filing the petation for amendment of the pleadings
should be properly compensated by costs and error or mistake which, if not
fraudulent, should not be made a ground for rejecting the application for
amendment of plaint or written statement.
appeals the appellant-defendant wanted to amend the written statement by taking
a plea that in case he is not held a lessee, he was entitled to ^e benefit of
Section 60(b) of the Indian Eastements Act, 1682. Learned counsel for the
appellant is not interested in incorporation of the other pleas raised in the appiication
seeking amendment, i he plea sought to be raised is neither inconsistent nor
repugnant to the pleas already raised in defence. The alternative plea sought
to be incorporated in the written statement is in fact the extension of the
plea of the respondent- plaintiff and rebuttal to the issue framed regarding
liability of the appellant of being dispossessed on proof of the fact that he
was a iicencee liable to be evicted in accordance with the provisions of law.
The mere fact that the appellant had filed the application after a prolonged
delay could not be made a ground for rejecting his prayer particularly when the
respondent- plaintiff could be compensated by costs. We do not agree with the
finding of the High Court that the proposed amendment virtually amounted to
withdrawal of any admission made by the appellant and that such withdrawal was
likely to cause Irretrievable prejudice to the respondent.
state on penai of the respondent at the Bar that the appeiiant having not come
to the court with clean hands is not entitled to any discretionary relief. It
is contended that the appellant has not paid any licence fee as per the terms
of the additional licence granted in his favour. It has been stated that in
case the appeals allowed the appellant defendant be directed to pay all the
arrears of the licence fee. We find substance in the submission made on behalf
of the respondents.
Under the circumstances, the appeal are allowed by setting aside the orders
impugned. The appellant-defendant is permitted to amend the written statement
to the extent of incorporating the plea of his entitlement to the benefit of
Section 60(b) of the Indian Easements Act, 1882 only subject to his paying all
the arrears on account of licence fee and costs assessed at Rs.3,000/- within a
period of one month from the date the parties j^ov in the Trial Court. The
payment and receipt of the arrears of licence fee shall be without prejudice to
the rights of the parties which may be adjudicated by the trial court. Costs
of' the appeal are made easy.