Date: 9th February, 2021
by Upamanyu Ganguly, ILS Law College, Pune
A pleading under the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908, is a written statement or a plaint that contains the material facts in regards to the case at hand for the claim or defence in the case, in a clear and concise manner.
The pleading is supposed to contain only the facts of the case and not evidence in relation to the claim or defence, and no law that works in his favour.
AMENDMENT OF PLEADINGS
Under Order VI, Rule 17 of the CPC deals with Amendment of Pleadings, where it essentially states that the Court can allow a party to amend the pleading at any stage of the trial in case the Court believes that such an amendment will help in determining the issue.
Amendments are generally made in order to bring about full closure regarding the case at hand to avoid multiplicity of trials. Amendments also become necessary in case of any new developments during the trial, such as any change of circumstance during the course of the trial.
Rule 18 deals with the failure of a party to amend the pleading. If a party is allowed to amend his pleading, then the amendment has to be done within the time stipulated by the Court, or if there is no time limit specified, then within fourteen days after being granted the order for leave, unless the Court extends this time period.
In case a party does not amend the pleading within the time, the party may not be permitted to do so after the expiration of the time limitation.
GUIDELINES REGARDING THE AMENDMENT OF A PLEADING
The cause of action of a suit cannot be substituted by an amendment as it is the basis for the suit to proceed in the first place, however, in cases where the cause of action has been has been aggravated due to further violations, then in such cases the Court has the discretion to allow the amendment of the cause of action in a suit.
If there is a prospective change of substantive law, then the Court does not need to allow any amendments for the cause of action as it does not affect it, however, in changes where there is a retrospective change, then in such cases the court may grant an order of leave for the amendment of the cause of action as it may affect the cause of action. In cases where there is a change in procedural law, the Court does not need to allow any amendments (Omprakash Gupta V. Ranbir B. Goyal (AIR 2002 SC 2511))
In the case of Salem Bar Association V. Union of India (AIR 2005 SC 3353), the Supreme Court decided that the burden of proof shifts to the applicant who applies to amend his pleading after the trial has commenced to prove that the issue could not have been raised before even with due diligence.
During the hearing to grant an application for amendment of pleadings, the Court does not go into the merits of the suit.