In light of non-compliance of Order VI Rule 17 CPC, application for amendment of written statement rightly rejected: Bom HC

Bombay High Court: A Bench of M.S. Sonak, J. dismissed a petition and stated that there is no jurisdictional error in the impugned order of the family court which rejected the application for amendment of petitioner’s written statement.

In the present case, the crux of the issue was the challenge to family court’s rejection of the petitioner’s application for amendment of his written statement.

In regard to the contentions of the petitioner, Mr A.S. Tamhane submitted that the amendment is related to the permanent custody of the child and by incorporating some additional facts and grounds in the written statement, the fundamental character and nature of the written statement would not be changed. Further, he stated that, the amendment ought to have been allowed since the petitioner obtained custody of the minor son in May, 2018 and thereafter secured knowledge to back the amended pleadings. Family Court failed to exercise jurisdiction vested in it by refusing the amendment.

Petitioner seeks to amend written statement after the evidence of the parties stands concluded. Proviso to Order VI Rule 17 CPC: “Provides that no application for amendment shall be allowed after the trial has commenced, unless the Court comes to the conclusion that inspite of due diligence, party could not have raised the matter before the commencement of trial.” There is no explanation as to why leave is applied for almost one year after the conclusion of the evidence in the matter as well.

Thus, the Court stated that “there is no compliance whatsoever with the proviso Order VI Rule 17 CPC or the principles set out therein. Family Court had correctly held that the proposed amendment was not necessary for determining the real question of controversy between the parties and the purpose of seeking leave at the belated stage was only to protract the final decision in the case.

Therefore, there is no jurisdictional error in the impugned order and the petition was dismissed accordingly. [Vinod George v. Nita Vinod George, 2018 SCC OnLine Bom 7462, decided on 22-12-2018]

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