Res SubjudiceAccording to the Section 10 of Civil Procedure Code:
No Court shall proceed with the trial of any suit in which the matter in issue
is also directly and substantially in issue in a previously instituted suit
between the same parties, or between parties under whom they or any of them
claim litigating under the same title where such suit is pending in the same or
any other Court in India having jurisdiction to grant the relief claimed, or in
any Court beyond the limits of India established or continued by the Central
Government and having like jurisdiction, or before the Supreme Court.
The essential conditions of Res subjudice:
The objective of section 10
- For this rule of applicable there must be two suits.
- Both of the suit must be pending in to court.
- The matter in issue in to subsequent suit must be directly and
substantially in issue in the previously instituted suit.
- The parties of both the suit must be the same
- Previously instituted suit must be pending in the same or any other
court competent to grant; Relief claimed in the suit, Relief claimed in
subsequent the suit.
In the court
- Previous court must have the jurisdiction.
- Parties must litigating under the same title.
- To Protect the person from multiplicity of proceedings and to save time
- To avoid the conflict of decisions and to avoid confusion.
- To ease the process for the parties.
- To confine the plaintiff with one litigation.
- Avoid wasting court resources.
A, an agent of B at Delhi agreed to sell B's goods in Chennai. A,
the agent files suit for balance of accounts in Chennai. B sues the agent A for
accounts and his negligence in Delhi; while case is pending in Chennai. In this
case, Delhi Court is precluded from conducting trail and A can petition Chennai
Court to direct stay of proceedings against Delhi Court.
- Indian Bank V Maharashtra State Co-Operative Marketing Federation
In this case it was held that section10 CPC helps prevent courts of concurrent
Jurisdiction from simultaneously trying two parallel cases in order to avoid
inconsistent findings on the matter in issue.
- Dees Piston Ltd V State Bank of India 1991:
It was held by the court that, when a matter is before a competent Civil Court,
the National Commission will not entertain a petition in respect of identical
subject matter under Consumer Protection Act.
The rule of conclusiveness of the judgment is the part in the Indian law under
Section 11 of the code of Civil Procedure, 1908. It comes into action when the
matter is finally decided upon by the competent court and no party can be
permitted to open it in a subsequent legation.
Section 11 states that:
No Court shall try any suit or issue in which the matter directly and
substantially in issue has been directly and substantially in issue in a former
suit between the same parties, or between parties under whom they or any of them
claim, litigating under the same title, in a Court competent to try such
subsequent suit or the suit in which such issue has been subsequently raised,
and has been heard and finally decided by such Court.
In the case of Satyadhyan Ghosal v Deorjin Debi
the court explained that:
The principle of res judicata is based on the need of giving a finality to
judicial decisions. What it says is that once a res is judicata, it shall not be
adjudged again. Primarily it applies as between past litigation and future
litigation. When a matter, whether on a question of fact or a question of law,
has been decided between two parties in one suit or proceeding and the decision
is final, either because no appeal was taken to a higher Court or because the
appeal was dismissed, or no appeal lies, neither party will be allowed in a
future suit or proceeding between the same parties to canvass the matter again.
The essentials of the section 11:According to this section, no court shall try any suit or issue in which:
- The matter in issue (directly and substantially) has been directly and
substantially in issue in a former suit
- The matter must has the same parties claiming the former suit.
- The matter must be litigated under the same title in a court competent
to try such suit or a suit in which the matter has been subsequently raised
and has been heard and finally decided by such court
Further, it must be noted that Section 11 is a mandatory provision and it is not
directory in nature. According to Section 44 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 on
grounds of fraud or collusion is the only exception which a former suit can be
avoided is by taking recourse.
The same was discussed in the case of Beli Ram and Brothers v Chaudri Mohammad
where the court held that when it was established that the guardian of
the minor had acted in collusion with the defendant, it doesn't operate as res
judicata and can be set aside by invoking Section 44 of the Indian Evidence Act.
Further, in the case of Jallur Venkata Seshayya v. Tahdaviconda Koteswara Rao,
the court held that:
gross negligence in former suit doesn't amount to
fraud or collusion and thus acts as bar to subsequent suit.
The following are also to be taken into account:
- former suit denotes a suit which has been decided prior to the suit in
question, and not if it was prior to this suit. i.e. The cut-off is date of judgement and not the date of institution of the suit.
- competency of a court is to be decided, irrespective of the right to
appeal from a former suit.
- the matter referred to in this suit must have been alleged by one party
and either accepted or refused by the other party (expressly/impliedly).
- any matter which might or ought to have been made ground of attack/defence in such former suit shall be deemed to have been a matter
directly and substantially in issue in such suit (constructive res judicata).
- if any relief was claimed in plaint and was not granted expressly, it
would be deemed to have been refused in such former suit.
- when persons litigate bonafide in respect of a public/private right
claimed in common for themselves and others, all persons interested for the
purpose of section 11 , will be deemed as claiming under persons litigating,
- it is also to be remembered that, a court of limited jurisdiction where
the former suit was instituted and decided upon, shall operate as res
judicata, even if the court of limited jurisdiction is not competent to try the
- this section 11 applies to execution proceedings also.
Public Interest Litigations:
In case of res judicata, a Public Interest Litigation can be applicable only
when the former suit was bonafide in nature and that it will not act as a shield
in cases where public good is threatened or questioned.
In the case of Rural litigation and Entitlement Kendra v State of Uttar Pradesh
the Supreme Court observed that the writ petition before them was not an
inter-party dispute and the controversy in it was whether mining was to be
allowed or not. Thus it was a matter that decided the social safety and
providing hazardous free environment. It was further discussed by the court that
this matter was of grave public importance and therefore, res judicata could
not be used as a shield.
Further in the case of Ramdas Nayak v Union of India
, court observed that, by
invoking re judicata, it was high time for the court to end repetitive
litigations coming under the grab of public interest litigations.
With the ever-increasing cases in the courts and the heightened burden on the
courts because of several frivolous and repetitive suits, it is inevitable that
to ensure smooth functioning of the judicial system as well as for providing
justice to needy parties that these two doctrines are rigorously implemented.
These doctrines are not and must not be used for the purpose of avoidance of
justice. Rather, the purpose is to make the judiciary more efficient.
The doctrine of Res Sub Judice operates as a stay from the same subject matter
in issue being parallel instituted in two different Courts and the twin
objectives of Section 10 CPC are, Avoiding conflicting decisions and findings.
Avoiding wastage of Court resources and time.
The doctrine of Res Judicata, on the other hand, aims to ensure that a matter
once closed after exhaustion of all remedies is not re-opened. This is important
as if it were not in place, the cases would go on in perpetuity and there would
be no conclusion in any matter.