You make a plea but then later you realise you made a mistake—such as, wrongly recording a ‘date of default’ (which is very critical in insolvency law). Are you allowed to rectify the mistake (like, change the ‘date of default’?)

This question was examined by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), Chennai bench, in the case of Raj Television Network Ltd vs Thaicom Public Company Ltd, a Thailand-based provider of transponder services that had once served Raj TV and is now owed a million dollars by Raj TV.

Yes, you can make an amendment to a plea, ruled Justice M Venugopal, Member (Judicial).

He observed: “All amendments ought to be allowed, if the twin conditions are satisfied (i) of not working injustice to the other side; (ii) of being necessary, for the purpose of determining the real questions in controversy between the parties. There is no rule limiting ‘amendment’ to ‘accidental’ errors. An ‘amendment’, which is necessary for the just decision of a case, can be allowed. Also that, an ‘amendment’, in ‘general’, is not to be refused, in a mechanical and casual manner. In fact, the ‘pleadings’ can be amended, to substantiate, to elucidate and expand the ‘pre-existing facts’, ‘already existing’. A person will not be refused permission, to ‘amend the pleadings’, merely because of some mistakes, negligence, inadvertence or even infraction of rules of procedure, as the case may be. No person should suffer, in lieu of technicalities of law and to minimise the litigation between the parties.”

In insolvency law, the ‘date of default’ is a moving reference point. For instance if, two years after defaulting on a payment, the corporate debtor writes a letter acknowledging the debt, the date of the letter becomes the ‘data of default’, allowing the creditor three years from that date to file for insolvency.

In this case, Thaicom wanted to take the date of a Supreme Court order (August 3, 2018), but had mentioned an earlier date—and wanted to correct it. NCLAT overruled Raj TV’s objections.