A Delhi High Court Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh has reiterated that "amendment of any pleadings is to be done only with the prior permission of the Court under Order VI Rule 17 of CPC, which is the general due process and is an important rule of pleadings prescribed in the CPC, any variation from that is a violation of the rules and statutory provisions".

Subsequently, the Court observed that "The statements in paragraph No. 5 are the omitted, edit and altered statements are carried from the new written statement filed by the defendants. Comparing the same with amended plaint and old written statement, it seems that some of the alterations done by the defendant are done by way of concealing and hiding it in plain sight. New and fresh facts and defences have been included which are not just corresponding to the amended paragraphs of the plaint."

Holding that the defendants acted in a malafide manner and caused injury to the opponent, the Court imposed costs of Rs. 25,000 on the defendants.

Counsel Noor Alam appeared for the plaintiff, and Counsel Himanshu Bajaj appeared for the defendants.

In this case, it was prayed that the Court strikes off the pleadings in the written statement while contending that the defendants had illegally incorporated new facts and made unwarranted additions and alterations in the written statement to amend the plaint.

On hearing the parties, the Court framed two issues and answered them accordingly.

(i) Whether the amendments and alterations made by the defendants in their written statement are violative of the rules of pleadings and are subject matter of object of this Court under Order VI Rule 16 of CPC?

The Court found that the defendants did amend the written statement beyond the scope of permissible limits. Subsequently, the Court observed that "The amendment of pleading can be allowed, but only on an application under Order VI Rule 17 of CPC. The same is considered to be within the four corners of law. But, as it has been seen in the present matter, the defendants have amended its written statement beyond the scope of law defined in Order VI Rule 16 of CPC. The amendments done which are beyond the corresponding amendments of the plaint causes prejudice and embarrassment. It disturbs the fair trial of the suit as it gives the defendants an undue advantage over the plaintiff since the defendants have included new defences and information which were not present in their original written statement before. The defendants have, very cleverly and frivolously, omitted its written statement without obtaining the due permission of law."

(ii) Whether all the amendments made by the defendants are unnecessary?

Noting that Order VI Rule 16 of CPC permits the Court, at any stage of the proceedings, to strike out any contents/submissions/contentions in the pleading which may be unnecessary, scandalous, frivolous, vexatious or prejudicial or otherwise appears to be an abuse of the process of the Court, the Court observed that "the defendants in the present case, have acted in malafide and that their blunder has caused injury to his opponent which can be compensated for by an order of cost. It is clearly a negligence, inadvertence or even infraction of rules of procedure on their part. The Court might have taken a sympathetic stand in case the defendants had followed the due process of law for amendment of pleadings.'

However, the Court also noted that although the amendments made by the defendants were in violation of the statutory provisions and compliance that ought to be met by any party praying the relief under the CPC, the due process of law had been undoubtedly followed by the defendants. In light of the same, the Court took the considered view that "the defendants have followed the due process to amend their pleadings and the amendments sought are necessary for adjudication of the suit. There is no impediment at this stage to allow the amended written statement to be taken on record. In view of the prayer made by the plaintiff, the Court is not inclined to strike out the pleadings as prayed because this Court finds them necessary as stated above."

In light of the fact that the defendants violated the rules of pleadings, the Court imposed costs of Rs. 25,000 as a deterrent on the defendants while taking the amended written statement on record.

Cause Title: Yogesh Kumar v. Davender Kumar Relan & Ors. [Neutral Citation No. 2023:DHC:4160]

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