IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
Civil Appeal Nos 4476-4477 of 2021
M/s Acme Cleantech Solutions Private Limited Vs M/s United India Insurance Company Limited
Author: Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, J
Dated: December 09, 2021
The party which moves the forum is dominus litis and is entitled to decide whether or not to amend the pleading or to pursue the complaint, as it stands.
11 To recapitulate, in the situation as it stands at present, the appellant could take recourse to either of three courses of action, namely:
(i) pursue the complaint as it stands; or
(ii) amend the complaint to challenge the letter of repudiation; or
(iii) withdraw the existing complaint with liberty to institute a fresh complaint to challenge the letter of repudiation.
12 The error in the order of the NCDRC was to compel the appellant to amend the complaint, as a consequence of which, it granted permission to the first respondent to file a written statement to the amended complaint. The effect of this would be to deprive the appellant of the benefit of urging that written statement cannot be filed at this stage in view of the judgment of the Constitution Bench in Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage Private Limited (supra). The deprivation of the right to set up such a plea is a matter of prejudice to the appellant which is a result of the impugned order of the NCDRC. We clarify that we have not expressed any opinion on whether the respondent can file a written statement since this does not form the subject matter of the present appeal. We hold that the appellant could not have been directed to amend the complaint to challenge the repudiation of the contract of insurance.
The appellant has stated that it does not wish to do so. This is a decision which has to be taken by the appellant and it cannot be compelled to amend the complaint.