Specific performance suit-amendment application – typographical error-due diligence explained 2012 SC

Justice P. Sathasivam, & Justice J. Chelameswar in the case of J.Samuel & Ors. vs Gattu Mahesh & Ors. Decided on 16 January, 2012 Held “It is clear that in a suit for specific performance of a contract, unless there is a specific averment that he has performed or has always been ready and willing to perform the essential terms of the contract, the suit filed by him is liable to be dismissed…… On proper interpretation of proviso to Rule 17 of Order VI, the party has to satisfy the Court that he could not have discovered that ground which was pleaded by amendment, in spite of due diligence. No doubt, Rule 17 confers power on the court to amend the pleadings at any stage of the proceedings. However, proviso restricts that power once the trial has commenced. Unless the Court satisfies that there is a reasonable cause for allowing the amendment normally the court has to reject such request……. The only reason stated so in the form of an affidavit is omission by "type mistake". Admittedly, it is not an omission to mention a word or an arithmetical number. The omission is with reference to specific plea which is mandated in terms of Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act……. Due diligence is the idea that reasonable investigation is necessary before certain kinds of relief are requested. Duly diligent efforts are a requirement for a party seeking to use the adjudicatory mechanism to attain an anticipated relief. An advocate representing someone must engage in due diligence to determine that the representations made are factually accurate and sufficient. The term `Due diligence' is specifically used in the Code so as to provide a test for determining whether to exercise the discretion in situations of requested amendment after the commencement of trial………..A party requesting a relief stemming out of a claim is required to exercise due diligence and is a requirement which cannot be dispensed with. The term “due diligence” determines the scope of a party's constructive knowledge, claim and is very critical to the outcome of the suit……..In the given facts, there is a clear lack of `due diligence' and the mistake committed certainly does not come within the preview of a typographical error. The term typographical error is defined as a mistake made in the printed/typed material during a printing/typing process. The term includes errors due to mechanical failure or slips of the hand or finger, but usually excludes errors of ignorance. Therefore the act of neglecting to perform an action which one has an obligation to do cannot be called as a typographical error. As a consequence the plea of typographical error cannot be entertained in this regard since the situation is of lack of due diligence wherein such amendment is impliedly barred under the Code.

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