Friday, October 9, 2009

Surender Kumar Sharma Appellant V/s Makhan Singh Respondent

Code   of   Civil   Procedure, Order   6   Rule   17:   Suit for eviction — on the grounds of arrears of rent — application for amendment of plaint — mere delay and latches in making the application for amendment cannot be a ground to refuse amendment — belated amendment could be allowed on payment of cost — even after the amendment of the plaint, the suit would remain a suit for eviction — set aside the orders of High Court as well as of the trial court — application for amendment of the plaint allowed with payment of costs of Rs. 10,000/- to the opposite parties — appeal allowed with no costs.

Judgement:
Civil Appeal No. 6400 of 2009
Date of Decision: 9/18/2009.
Judge(s): Hon'ble Mr. Justice Tarun Chatterjee, Mr. Justice Aftab Alam and Hon'ble Mr. Justice R.M. Lodha.
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

1. Leave granted.

2. In our view, this is a case in which the High Court, in its revisional jurisdiction, and the trial court had fallen in grave error in refusing amendment of the plaint filed in a suit for eviction on the ground of arrears of rent.

3. The appellant, as a plaintiff, has filed the aforesaid suit in respect of Property No. 28, Varsha Sarvodaya Housing Cooperative Society, Hirapur post, Tatiband, Raipur, Chattisgarh against the tenant/respondent.

4. The trial Court rejected the application for amendment of the plaint mainly on the ground that the prayer for amendment was a belated one. In revision, the High Court affirmed the order of the trial Court rejecting the application for amendment of the plaint inter alia holding that not only the prayer for amendment of the plaint made by the plaintiff/appellant was a belated one, but also that the prayer, if allowed, shall change the nature and character of the suit.

5. Feeling aggrieved by the impugned order of the High Court, this Special Leave Petition was filed   by   the   plaintiff/appellant,   which   on   grant  of   leave,   was   heard   in   presence   of   the   learned counsel for the parties.

6. We keep it on record that in spite of notice on the defendant/respondent, no one had contested this appeal before us.

7.   As   noted   hereinearlier,   the   prayer   for   amendment   was   refused   by   the   High   Court   on   two grounds. So far as the first ground is concerned i.e. the prayer for amendment was a belated one, we are of the view that even if it was belated, then also, the question that needs to be decided is to see   whether    by  allowing    the  amendment,     the  real  controversy    between    the  parties  may   be resolved.   It   is   well   settled   that   under   Order   6   Rule   17   of   the   Code   of   Civil   Procedure,   wide powers and unfettered discretion have been conferred on the Court to allow amendment of the pleadings to a party in such a manner and on such terms as it appears to the Court just and proper. Even   if,   such   an   application   for   amendment   of   the   plaint   was   filed   belatedly, such   belated amendment   cannot   be   refused   if   it   is   found   that   for   deciding   the   real   controversy   between   the parties, it can be allowed on payment of costs. Therefore, in our view, mere delay and latches in making the application for amendment cannot be a ground to refuse amendment. It is also well settled    that   even    if  the  amendment       prayed     for is   belated,    while    considering     such    belated amendment, the Court must bear in favour of doing full and complete justice in the case where the    party   against   whom      the  amendment        is  to  be  allowed,     can   be  compensated        by  cost   or otherwise.   [See   B.K.   N.   Pillai   Vs.   P.   Pillai   and   another   [AIR   2000   SC   614   at   Page   616].

Accordingly, we do not find any reason to hold that only because there was some delay in filing the application for amendment of the plaint, such prayer for amendment cannot be allowed.

8. So far as the second ground is concerned i.e. the prayer for amendment of plaint, if allowed, shall change the nature and character of the suit, we are unable to accept this view of the High Court.  We   have   carefully        examined   the   amendment   prayed   for   and   after   going   through   the application   for   amendment   of   the   plaint,   we   are  of   the   view   that   the   question   of   changing   the nature and character of the suit, if amendment is allowed, cannot arise at all. The suit has been filed for eviction inter alia on the ground of arrears of rent. It cannot be disputed that even after the amendment, the suit would remain a suit for eviction. Therefore, we are unable to agree that if the   amendment   of   the   plaint   is   allowed,   the   nature   and   character   of   the   suit   shall   be   changed.

Accordingly, the High Court was not justified in holding that the nature and character of the suit shall be changed, if such prayer for amendment is allowed.

9.   For   the   reasons   aforesaid,   the   orders   of   the   High   Court   as   well   as   of   the   trial   Court   are   set aside. The application for amendment of the plaint filed by the appellant stands allowed, subject to the payment of costs of Rs.10,000/- to the opposite party, which shall be deposited/paid within a   period    of   six   weeks     from    the  date    of  supply    of   a  copy     of  this   order.   In   default   of deposit/payment of such costs, the application for amendment of the plaint shall stand rejected.

10. For the reasons aforesaid, this appeal is allowed to the extent indicated above. There will be no order as to costs

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