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Appeal against dismissal of application for amendment of plaint - Supreme Court decision

December 12, 2017

Application for amendment of Plaint

A Bench of Justice A. K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan passed judgment in an appeal filed against dismissing application for amendment to plaint by the Additional District Judge.


The appellant and respondent No.5 are sons of respondent No.1. Respondent Nos. 2, 3 and 4 are wife, son and daughter of another brother of appellant. The appellant's father Late Shri O.P. Mehra alongwith his wife and three minor sons came to Delhi from Lahore after Partition. Shri O.P. Mehra died in 1951. The respondent No.1 and her sons were held entitled to compensation under Order of Settlement Commissioner, New Delhi dated 14.08.1956. The respondent No. 1 was declared as highest bidder in a public auction for a House No. D-4, Lajpat Nagar, area measuring 300 sq. yds. which amount was adjusted from the claim to which the respondent No.1 and her sons were held entitled.

Another property was also allotted in the name of respondent No.1 of area measuring 200 sq. yds. At G-11, Nizamuddin, New Delhi. The property G-11, Nizamuddin was sold by respondent No.1 in the year 2000. On 04.11.2009, the appellant filed a Suit No. 2082 of 2009 against the respondents seeking partition of the suit property described in Appendix A. In Appendix A, only property mentioned was Plot No.D-4, Lajpat Nagar, Part-II, New Delhi.

Written statement was filed by the respondent and on 17.05.2010, issues were framed by the Court. 10.08.2010 was fixed for recording the evidence of the plaintiff. The plaintiff prayed for time for producing evidence. On 17.01.2011, plaintiff filed an application under Order VI Rule 17 praying for amendment of the plaint. By the application plaintiff sought to add certain pleadings and a prayer claiming share in the sale proceeds received by defendant No.1 from sale of the property of Nizamuddin. Application filed by the plaintiff was objected by the defendants by filing a reply. It was pleaded that several opportunities were given to the plaintiff to lead evidence and last opportunity was given on 08.12.2010 to file his evidence by 28.01.2011. It was further pleaded that in the sale document of Nizamuddin property, plaintiff himself was a witness. The relief which is sought to be amended is barred by time and is altogether a separate cause of action. Plaintiff filed a rejoinder in which it was stated that plaintiff came to know that plaintiff had undivided share in the property at Nizamuddin only in November, 2010.


He further stated that he informed all the facts to his earlier counsel but in the plaint the mention of Nizamuddin property was not made by earlier counsel and while preparing for evidence in the suit, the fact was noticed by the plaintiff only in November, 2010 and hence application for amendment has been filed. The Court passed on order on 26.07.2011 granting the plaintiff four week's time as a last opportunity to file the examination-in-chief of his witnesses subject to payment of Rs.5,000/-, with regard to I.A. No.1001 of 2011, it was stated "Needless to say in Case I.A. No.1001/2011 is allowed, appropriate orders for evidence of the plaintiff would be made." Parties led evidence and suit was fixed for final disposal. On 14.02.2014, an order was passed directing that amendment application shall be considered at the time of final hearing of the suit. Plaintiff filed an application for amendment of issues, which was rejected by the High Court on 09.02.2015. The plaintiff filed a FAO (OS) No.196 of 2015, in which Division Bench of the High Court by order dated 28.04.2015 directed the learned Single Judge to decide the amendment application I.A. No. 1001 of 2011. In the meantime on account of pecuniary jurisdiction of the case, the suit was transferred to the Court of Additional District Judge, Saket. The Additional District Judge took up the amendment application and vide order dated 24.10.2016 rejected the amendment application. The trial court took the view that the suit for recovery of money of his share could have been filed by plaintiff within three years from the date of sale. The trial court held that the amendment sought is barred by time, hence the application was rejected.


The court said that:
"Taking into overall consideration of the facts of the present case and specially the fact that evidence by the parties was led after the filing of the amendment application, we are of the view that justice could have been served in allowing the amendment application. We thus allow the appeal and set aside the order of the High Court as well as the order of the Additional District Judge. The amendment application I.A. No. 1001 of 2011 stand allowed. Both the parties have led their evidences and case has already been fixed for hearing, however, to avoid any prejudice to the parties, justice will be served in giving a limited opportunity to the parties to lead additional evidence, if they so desire. "

"We thus direct that the parties may file this order before the trial court within two weeks from today, on receipt of the order, the trial court shall consider on framing of additional issue, if necessary and shall thereafter grant opportunity to the parties to lead additional evidence, if any. The entire exercise shall be completed within three months and thereafter suit be decided finally. The parties shall bear their own costs. We make it clear that we have not expressed any opinion on merits of the case including on the question of applicability of Article 110 of the Limitation Act and all the issues shall be decided on the basis of materials on record without being influenced by any observation made by us."




Read the Judgment of Supreme Court dated 11.12.2017



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