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The Doctrine Of Res Judicata And Res Subjudice In The CPC


While delivering a judgment, the court must depend on certain principles, doctrines, and precedents. The CPC (Code of Civil Procedure) of 1908 has two such doctrines under Section 10 (Res Judicata) and Section 11 (Res Subjudice), which ensure efficiency and rapid procedure during the hearing.

Res Sub Judice

Sub judice is a Latin term that means “under judgment” and comes under Section 10 of the CPC. When two or more lawsuits are filed on the same matter by the same parties, the competent court has the power to stay the trial. Res Sub Judice applies only to the trial and not the institution.

For example, A and B are husband and wife. Husband A sued his wife B for the dissolution of their marriage and custody of their minor child. Later, Mrs. B filed a lawsuit against her husband for custody of their child. Both cases have the same parties and have been filed for the same matter. That's why the second case is subject to Section 10 of the CPC of 1908.


To apply this section, some conditions must be satisfied:

  1. There are at least two lawsuits: previously instituted and subsequently instituted.
  2. In the next lawsuit, the matter at issue is the same as in the previous lawsuit.
  3. In both lawsuits, the parties must be the same or their representatives.
  4. There must be an ongoing lawsuit in the same or any other court.
  5. The court must be competent to give relief in both lawsuits.
  6. Parties involved in both lawsuits are pursuing litigation under the same titles.

     The court cannot apply this section when both parties are the same but the issue is different, even though some issues are the same and some are distinct, still the court cannot apply this section.

Res Judicata-

There are three Latin maxims in which Res Judicata is based on-

  1. Nemo debet bis vexari pro uno et eadem causa-

That means- no man should be punished for the same cause. Similarly, in a criminal lawsuit, this doctrine is double jeopardy.

  1. Intent reipublicat ut sit finis litium-

That means-To put an end to litigation for the best interest of the state.

  1. Res Judicata pro veritate occipitur-

That means- Decisions made by judges should be recognized as correct.

Res Judicata is also a later term that means “adjudicated” or “could not be re-adjudicated" and comes under the 11th section of the CPC.

This doctrine applies when the issue has already been held by a qualified court and a fresh trial should not be allowed between the same parties over the same issue.  

For example- A sued B for breach of contract and to claim damages for the same. The suit was dismissed by the court, and now A has filed a subsequent suit for the same breach of contract and to claim damages that come under the doctrine of Res Judicata, and the court can dismiss the lawsuit.


To apply this doctrine, there are some conditions that must be satisfied.

  1. The same issue that was directly, mainly, and substantially discussed in the earlier litigation must be involved in the second complaint. In other words, the question must be involved in the prior lawsuit for res judicata to apply.

For example- in R.P. Gupta v. Shri Krishna Poddar (A.I.R. 1965, SC 316), the Supreme Court said that the issue raised in the second lawsuit was different from the prior lawsuit, which is why the doctrine of Res Judicata won’t be applied.

  1. To apply this doctrine, the parties must be the same for both prior and later lawsuits; this doctrine won't apply to any of the parties if the lawsuit is changed or added on.

For example- X filed a case establishing his title to a house against Y (who is currently living in the house), he later failed to establish it in court because the owner of the house is not Y but Z, so he filed the same case against Y and Z.

  1. The party’s title must be the same for both the  later and prior lawsuits.
  2. To decide both the cases, the court must be competent.

     One of the objects of this doctrine is to abstain from having multiple suits on the same decided matter.

Differences between RES JUDICATA and RES SUBJUDICE



Section 10 of the CPC

Section 11 of the CPC

It refers to a case that is now under investigation or trial.

It refers to a case that has already been decided or that has already been adjudicated.

The trial of a lawsuit is barred.

Prevent the filing of lawsuits.


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