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Report No. 163

Q.12. Order 6, rules 17-18 (Amendment of pleadings): Clause 16(iii) of the Bill

The Bill proposes deletion of Order 6, rules 17-18 of the Code, which empower the court to grant leave to amend the pleadings. The proposal appears to be based on the assumption (i) that this power is unnecessary and (ii) that recourse to it causes delay.

The above proposal may, however, require very careful consideration. Amendment of the pleadings is not always necessitated by carelessness. It may become necessary for a variety of causes. It may (for example) be necessitated by subsequent events or by reason of facts, which would not have been in the plaintiff's knowledge in spite of his due diligence. (In fact, in such cases, the law allows even a review of the judgment - see Order 47, rule 1 of the Code). [See "Illustrative cases" below].

Occasionally, a document which is material to the case was not originally known to the party now applying for amendment. The document may affect the nature of the pleading. In such cases, the considerations of justice obviously demand that the real issue should come before the court. A court of justice is expected to deal with the real controversy that troubles the parties and not with a debate which reflects the contest in a very imperfect manner.

Delay in the disposal of the litigation in such cases may be unavoidable. But the parties will have at least the satisfaction, that the real dispute between them has been "adjudicated" - which, indeed, is the heart of the judicial function. Otherwise, the judgment will leave undecided the dispute as the parties perceive it.

The Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 1997 Back

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