Order 6 Rule 17, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908

A common question which is often asked by our clients is whether they can have their pleadings amended.We understand that by nature this article is fairly technical so if you would like us to advise you on your legal matter, please feel free to get in touch.


Order 6 Rule 17

Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Amendment of Pleadings)

Amendment of pleadings. The Court may at any stage of the proceedings allow either party to alter or amend his pleadings in such manner and on such terms as may be just, and all such amendments shall be made as may be necessary for the purpose of determining the real questions in controversy between the parties.Order 6 Rule 17

  1. Amendment in pleadings at revisional stage:- Reasonable amendment in pleadings can be allowed where the same were necessary for purpose of determining real questions in controversy irrespective of delay in asking for such relief in order to achieve ends of complete justice provided proposed amendment would not altogether change character of suit and does not introduce entirely new cause of action. Proposed amendment in specific para substituting figure of “41 acres” for “51 acres” can be safely allowed without any hesitation as sufficient evidence had already been placed on record and no prejudice was likely to he caused to any of the parties Even counsel for contesting respondent has conceded to such extent- Proposed paragraph intended to be added in plaint has elaborated case precisely pleaded in plaint narrating background of grant of land in favour of ancestor of petitioner and its legality and validity, therefore, in view of the fact that oral and documentary evidence having already been adduced by parties, such elaboration of earlier pleading would advance cause of justice and suppress mischief and same as not likely to prejudice defence of respondent, therefore, contents, of proposed paragraph except its grounds which were argumentative in nature, were allowed to be incorporated in plaint. Such point could be decided without further oral evidence. Order of remand passed by Board of Rev. having been specifically and expressly assailed and impugned in plaint it would not be just and proper to assail such order of remand at such belated stage of proceedings. Delay in asking for proposed amendment was neither fatal nor of much consequence. Nature of suit in spite of proposed amendments would remain un-changed and un-altered and there would be no change in the character of suit. Application for amendment was allowed to the extent mentioned in the order of Court. PLJ 1999 Kar. 852 / 1999 MLD 2968.
  2. Amendment in prayer clause of plaint:- Trial Court and Appellate Court did not allow petitioner (plaintiff) to make amendment in prayer clause of plaint. Validity. Main dispute between parties was regarding excavation of well in his land while he had been restrained by respondents only on basis of earlier agreement about which petitioner through his evidence had brought on record that the same had become un-enforceable and invalid against petitioner, in as much as, such agreement had not been implemented in letter and spirit by other share-holders. Appellate Court had allowed petitioner to challenge validity of said agreement by a separate suit, therefore, in order to curtail unnecessary litigation between parties, it would be appropriate to allow petitioner to make amendment as prayed for in his application for amendment of plaint. Petitioner was thus, allowed to amend prayer clause seeking nullification of agreement while respondent would be allowed to file amended written statement, if they so desire. Trial Court was directed to frame relevant issue regarding amended version and to record evidence thereon and then decide the case in accordance with law.   PLJ 2000 Qta. 103 = 2000 MLD 1919.
  3. Application in forma pauperis:- Amendment sought in schedule of application. Trial Court disallowing amendment in such application. Effect. Amendment in schedule of application pertaining to property was being sought by petitioner without there being any objection from the other side. Trial Court ought to have allowed such amendment before f9ing case for decision whether application in forma pauperis was to be allowed or rejected in terms of O.2017I C.P.C. Trial Court was directed to allow amendment as refusal would be illogical and incorrect. Case was remanded to trial Court to proceed further with application in forma pauperis in accordance with law. PLJ 2000 Lah. 887 = 2000 CLC 1442.
  4. Already Refused Amendment:- District Judge was not competent to pass impugned judgment and remand case for amendment in plaint when such matter was already resolved by Additional District Judge and High Court by not allowing respondent to led evidence on additional issue- PLJ 2002 Sh.C. (AJK) 17
  5. Amendment allowed by trial court but set aside by Additional District Judge:- Amendment of plaint did not fall within meaning of “case decided”, therefore, very revision before Additional District Judge was not proper. In this case, very title of plaintiff being in dispute, he would be debarred from bringing a suit in future, for such declaration under principle of constructive res-judicata as well as under Order II Rule 2 of C.P.C. Trial court had rightly allowed amendment. Petition accepted and order of trial court restored. PLJ 1995 Pesh. 1 = 1994 MLD 2332.
  6. Amendment of execution petition:- Appellants/ judgment debtor’s contention is that petition could have been amended uptil time it was registered but thereafter it could neither be amended nor additional amount be claimed. The provisions of rules 11 to 14 and 17 of Order 20I, C.P.C. being – not applicable, mere appearance of words amended and amendment in clauses 2 and 3 of rule 17 does not make it applicable to case and Execution Court has exercised jurisdiction vested in it. in accordance with law and facts. Argument that execution petition cannot be amended subsequently, is misconceived. PLJ 1995 Lah. 240 = PLD 1995 Lah. 95.
  7. Amendment of plaint to add “Zaroorat:- Effect of omission of sub-sections (2), (3) and (4) of Section 115 CPC by Ordinance is that District Court stands denuded of powers of revision and as such it cannot proceed to decide revision petitions pending before it–Held: Order which legally can be passed in pending revision petitions is to return same to be presented before High Court. PLJ 1994 Lahore 200
  8. Amendment in the application under S.12(2) :- Contention of applicant was that since the facts were not elaborately stated in the original application under S.12(2), C.P.C., therefore, respondents might raise objection that no evidence could be led regarding these facts, which though were not new facts, but only amplification or details of the plea of fraud raised in the original application and if the amendment was allowed the respondents might also have opportunity of meeting the same and lead evidence in order to do complete justice—Record showed that pleas raised in the application seeking amendment were actually the amplification of the plea of fraud already made in the main petition, therefore, the argument of the respondents that applicant wanted to set up a case different from the case already made out was not correct and thus, was repelled—Amendment sought, in fact, was such which should have been allowed in order to do complete Justice and decide the controversy arising between the parties conclusively and effectively, 2001 SCMR 1984
  9. Amendment in written statement:- Defendants in their written statement admitted Para. 1 of the plaint as correct—After framing of issues and after recording evidence of plaintiff case was set for recording evidence of defendants—Defendants after about five ears of framing of issues and recording evidence of plaintiff filed application seeking amendment in their written statement—Such application was dismissed by Trial Court but was allowed in appeal—Validity—Amendment was sought to the effect that statement in Para. I of written statement as ‘correct’ was result of some oversight and that it should be allowed to be written as ‘incorrect’ or ‘denied’—Such an amendment which had militated against earlier stance of defendants was opposed by the plaintiff as the amendment had the character of converting admission into a denial which had effect of changing the cope and complexion of controversy—Effect of such amendment would be not only the total reopening of the matter, but would also require a de novo trial—Amendment in question was rightly refused by Trial Court and Appellate Court was not justified to allow the same—Court no doubt could exercise power of amendment in pleadings liberally, but facts and circumstances of the case and effect of sought for amendment could not be ignored while exercising said power—Constitutional petition was accepted and order of the appellate Court was declared as of no legal effect. PLD 2003 Lah. 192 Amendment sought by defendant (petitioner) in written’ statement if allowed would change complexion of plea taken by him in written statement. Plaintiff who had successfully established his case before trial Court by producing evidence in support of his claim would have to once again establish his title over property in question, in as much as if amendment was allowed then case has to be remanded to trial Court- Amendment cannot be permitted in pleadings if the same amounts to cause prejudice- Plaintiff having succeed from trial Court to High Court, amendment in written statement if allowed would deprive him from affirmative findings recorded in his favour. PLJ 2000 SC 1837. District Judge heard arguments on application only and he was to announce orders on application only. Appeal was to be decided afterwards. He was not supposed to dispose of appeal first which was to result in dismissal of application having been rendered infructuous. Appeal has apparently been dismissed without hearing arguments and order does not stand to any valid reason. Case remanded for decision of appeal. PLJ 1994 Pesh. 8 = PLD 1994 Pesh. 17.VI. R. 17 extends to pleadings only and not to written reply. Held: District Judge wholly misconstrued law and totally ignored general power of amendment vesting in a Civil Court under Section 153, C.P.C. PLJ 1988 SC 116.
  10. Amendment of pleadings:- Suit was filed by proprietary concern in the year 1996— Defendant raised a plea that the suit was not maintainable under O.30, R.10. C.P.C. and the same was liable to be rejected—Plaintiff sought amendment in plaint—Validity—Any amendment at such belated stage being hit by the provisions of S.3 of the Limitation Act, 1908, could not be allowed—Where the suit was not maintainable at the time of institution, amendment could not be allowed to make the proceedings in the suit so as to make it maintainable resulting in change of the character of the suit by introducing new plaintiff for which no application was made by the party—High Court declined to allow amendment in the plaint—Plaint was rejected in circumstances. PLD 2002 Kar. 315 Court should allow amendments necessary for determining real matter in controversy-Mistakes In copies of sale deeds supplied to plaintiffs-Erroneous Jamabandi-Refusing amendments tantamount: placing premium on technicality-Impugned orders suffered material irregularity-Revision allowed-S. 115, Civil P.C. (1908). P L J 1981 Lahore 29 VI R. 17 permits the court to allow either party to alter or amend his pleadings in such a manner and on such terms as may be just and this permission can be granted at any stage of the proceedings. This provision vests a court with jurisdiction to allow amendment of the pleadings before it but does not vest a court with jurisdiction to disturb or take away finality given to a particular order by S. 1050). PLJ 1996 Lah. 1446 = 1996 MLD 553.
  11. Amendment of plaint:- Suit was deemed to be pending in trial Court where amended plaint shall be presented and thereafter amended written statement would be filed- Issue, would be framed and after recording of evidence if produced by parties, suit would be decided in the light of evidence produced by parties. PLJ 2002 Lahore 1188 Amendment in plaint for further relief flowing directly from declaration asked for-Court satisfied that simple declaration cannot be granted and amendment allowed-Held: Court rightly allowed amendment in the plaint. P L J 1981 A K (HC) 144 Amendment of plaint to sue defendant (minor) through guardian ad item allowed by trial Court not interfered with in revision. P L J 1980 Lahore 576 Application seeking amendment of plaint has rightly been dismissed in view of law laid down by S.C that in old pre-emption suits filed, under Punjab Pre-emption Act, 1913, a pre-emptor cannot be allowed to add plea of Talabs as grant of such permission would result in encouraging litigants to tell lies and hence, take false pleas before a court of law. PLJ 1995 Lah. 96 = 1995 CLC 1209.
  12. Amendment allowed in revision by District Judge:- Taking alternative plea of adverse possession was neither contradictory to nor destructive of plea of ownership already taken in plaint–If proposed amendment is essential for determining real question in controversy between parties, there was no bar for allowing it–All rules of procedure are intended to aid and assist main cause of justice–There is no much doubt that refusal to allow amendment was clearly a “case decided” and was revisable–Held: Impugned order cannot be described either as without jurisdiction or without lawful authority. PLJ 1992 Lahore 158 PLD 1965 (WP) Peshawar 223, 1977 SCMR 284, PLD 1985 SC 345 and PLD 1973 SC 507 rel.
  13. Weather Case Decided:- Order of A.D.J. allowing amendment in plaint, would not fall under category of “case decided”. Therefore, High Court is not competent to entertain revision application against such order. PLJ 2000 Pesh. 13.
  14. Changing complexion of defence:- Petitioner having already made certain important concessions in written statement and permission to amend plaint bound to nullify effect of those admissions-Plea regarding transaction not amounting to sale but to retransfer of land, held, would completely change complexion of defence-Concurrent decision of Courts below, disallowing amendment upheld. 1979CLC573
  15. Conversion of declaratory suit to suit for possession would not change-nature of suit in substance:- In as much. as basically plaintiffs intend to annul gift deed and by amendment they were seeking additional relief of possession. Amendment could not be disallowed merely because that was being sought after expiry of period of four years. Orders of Courts below disallowing amendment of plaint were set aside and plaintiffs were directed to amend their respective plaints on payment of specified costs. PLJ2000 SC (AJ&K) 237.
  16. Change of complexion of suit:- Plaintiff had filed declaratory suit with consequential relief of possession alleging that gift deed in question was got executed by defendant fraudulently. Plaintiff in his application for amendment was seeking cancellation of sale-deed in question, on the ground that respondent had got executed such document for consideration of specified amount out of which he had paid more than half of such specified price. Courts below had found that amendment sought to be introduced would change complexion of suit and would also change its cause of action. Perusal of contents of plaint originally framed and amendment application would show that facts which plaintiff was seeking to introduce by way of amendment were tantamount to introduce altogether a different case from the one which he had originally set up in his plaint. Documentary evidence is to be produced before first hearing of suit or the same must be included in list of documents which party to suit intends to produce in evidence to support his plea. Plaintiff by seeking amendment not only wants to introduce altogether a different case, but he seeks to bring on record sale deed which was of doubtful authenticity. Order passed by trial Court and confirmed by High Court refusing amendment to plaintiff does not suffer from any legal infirmity. PLJ2000 SC (AJ & K) 281.
  17. Change of Prayer from Declaration to Possession:- Petitioner seeks to substitute his prayer from declaration to possession which could not be denied on ground of delay and since the nature of suit would also be not changed, because relief of possession being ancillary to decree of cancellation of sale deed. Moreover, cause of action will remain same. Question as to whether possession was taken over from tenant of petitioner before filing of suit shall be determined at trial. Trial Court did proceed with ‘ material irregularity amounting to illegality in disallowing amendment.   PLJ 1999 Lah. 847.
  18. Scope:- If an ancillary or incidental relief can be granted on the basis of evidence on the record the formal amendment in the plaint for inclusion of such a relief can be allowed by the court at any stage—Dispute, in the present case, related to the character of the transaction and the witnesses produced by the plaintiff had state that the defendants in the suit were in possessing of the land as mortgagee whereas the evidence of the defendants was that they having purchased the land were in its possession as owner—Interpretation of a document being a mixed question of law and fact, the disputed document, in the present case, was a registered document which could conveniently be interpreted in the light fo evidence available on record for determination of the true character of transaction and therefore, in the given situation, it was not at all necessary to remand the case for framing of a specific issue—Controversial question relating to the character of the transaction also being question of law and fact could be decided on the present record without recording any further evidence and the omission of seeking consequential relief of possession, could be removed by granting permission for amendment in the plaint even in appeal- Omission of prayer of ancillary or consequential relief in the suit was a curable defect and would not materially affect the suit and the plaintiff in case of success in the suit could take necessary steps for redemption of the mortgage through a separate suit under West Pakistan Redemption and Restitution of Mortgaged Land Act, 1964 as the case may be. PLD 2003 SC 271 Only question involved in this case was as to whether High Court was legally competent to allow amendment of plaint when revision petition “was filed by appellants against decision on issue of partial pre-emption by trial court. There was no order passed by trial Court one way or other with regard to amendment of plaint- High Court had no jurisdiction to assume role of trial court and allow amendment of plaint. PLJ 1996 SC (AJK) 335 = 1996 MLD 1959. Amendment can be allowed in the pleadings at Any stage even by the First and Second Appellate Court, or in revision or even in appeal before the supreme Court—Where such amendment is allowed the other side must be afforded an opportunity to meet such amendment which can be provided by permitting to file an additional written statement to lead further evidence—Where in a suit for pre-emption an amendment was allowed after lapse of eleven years which had adversely affected the interest of the other party as the said amendment had changed the status of the plaintiffs from “co-sharers” to that of “co-owners” and no proper opportunity to lead evidence was afforded to controvert the claim of preferential right made on the basis of ownership in the estate, Supreme court converted the petition for leave to appeal into an appeal, accepted the same and judgment impugned was set aside with the direction that amended written statement be filed by the other party and necessary evidence be led to controvert the preferential rights claimed as owners in the estate. PLD 2003 SC 379
  19. Limitation:- No limitation is prescribed for making an amendment, but such amendment by itself is no proof of its truth or correctness—Amendment having been sought, in the present case, after more than seven years from the institution of first written statement, delay in making such plea though could not be a bar by any limitation but the factual aspect thereof could not be ignored and the inferences which were very strong in the case could not be avoided- Principles. The amendments are mostly allowed in the pleadings without considering the delay involved regardless of what legal or factual consequences may flow therefrom. One can say that practically no limitation is prescribed for making an amendment but such amendment by itself is no proof of its truth or correctness. Court cannot shut its eyes to a glaring fact that the amendment itself was sought more than seven years after the institution of first written statement. The delay in making such plea cannot, of course, be barred by any limitation but the factual aspect thereof cannot be ignored and the factual inferences which are very strong in the present case, cannot be avoided. PLD 2003 Supreme Court 688 No doubt amendment of pleadings can be allowed at any stage and delay in itself is no ground to refuse an application for amendment unless it is likely to cause injustice to any party. A party is not at liberty to sleep over and raise attack according to schedule suiting its own requirements. Before condoning a delay and especially inordinate delay, it must be ensured that same may not destroy rights of other party. In this case, petitioners categorically denied availability of cause of action and they claimed adverse possession in their written statement. Petitioners could lead evidence on these issues and having failed to do so, they cannot be allowed to supplement their evidence or to Hill any lacuna by amendment to written statement. PLJ 1994 Lah. 232 = 1994 CLC 955.
  20. New or inconsistent case:- Although amendment can be allowed at a late stage in proper cases but with condition that amendment should not introduce altogether a new or inconsistent case. PLJ 1981 AK (HC) 120
  21. Stage:- No universal principle that amendment sought at belated stage cannot be considered—Application seeking amendment in written statement so as to incorporate plea of limitation not allowed by trial Court on ground that objection being on point of fact known to applicant while filing written statement and could not be allowed at belated stage—Revision accepted against impugned orders of trial Court—Art. 10, Limitation Act (1908) and S. 30, Punjab Pre-emption Act (1913), PLJ 1980 Lahore 95 Rules of procedure are framed to advance cause of administration of justice. Held: It is wrong to suggest that an amendment relevant to issues in controversy cannot be allowed at stage of second appeal. PLJ 1990 AJK 11.

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