24 June 2019


Judgments

Supreme Court

Raj Kumar Bhatia Vs. Subhash Chander Bhatia

MANU/SC/1617/2017

15.12.2017

Civil

Supervisory jurisdiction conferred on High Court is confined only to see whether an inferior Court or tribunal has proceeded within parameters of its jurisdiction

The present appeal arises from a judgment of the High Court by which an order of the trial Court allowing an application filed by the Appellant for amendment of the written statement was set aside. The High Court has held that, the amendment sought in the written statement was not bona fide and was not necessary for determining the real question in controversy between the parties. The suit was instituted in 2001 and the written statement was filed in 2003. The High Court held that, based on facts which were known to the Appellant in 2003, a belated attempt was made thirteen years later in 2016 to amend the written statement to introduce an averment on the existence of coparcenary/Hindu undivided property. On merits, the High Court held that, it is a settled principle that after the enactment of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, property which devolves on an individual from a paternal ancestor does not become HUF property but the inheritance is in the nature of self-acquired property unless an HUF exists at the time of the devolution.

The case which was sought to be set up in the proposed amendment was an elaboration of what was stated in the written statement. The High Court has in the exercise of its jurisdiction Under Article 227 of the Constitution entered upon the merits of the case which was sought to be set up by the Appellant in the amendment. This is impermissible. Whether an amendment should be allowed is not dependent on whether the case which is proposed to be set up will eventually succeed at the trial. In enquiring into merits, the High Court transgressed the limitations on its jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution.

In Sadhna Lodh v. National Insurance Co., this Court has held that, the supervisory jurisdiction conferred on the High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution is confined only to see whether an inferior court or tribunal has proceeded within the parameters of its jurisdiction. In the exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution, the High Court does not act as an appellate court or tribunal and it is not open to it to review or reassess the evidence upon which the inferior Court or tribunal has passed an order. The Trial Court had in the considered exercise of its jurisdiction allowed the amendment of the written statement under Order 6 Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure. There was no reason for the High Court to interfere under Article 227 of the Constitution. Allowing the amendment would not amount to the withdrawal of an admission contained in the written statement (as submitted by the Respondent) since, the amendment sought to elaborate upon an existing defence. It would also be necessary to note that, it was on 21 st September, 2013 that an amendment of the plaint was allowed by the Trial Court, following which the Appellant had filed a written statement to the amended plaint incorporating its defence. The amendment would cause no prejudice to the Plaintiff. The impugned judgment and order is unsustainable. Appeal allowed. The order passed by the Trial Court allowing the amendment of the written statement is accordingly affirmed.

Relevant

Sadhna Lodh v. National Insurance Co.MANU/SC/0080/2003

Tags : Written Statement Amendment Validity

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