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Doctrine Of Res-Sub Judice And Res-Judicata


Section: 10 deals with the doctrine of res sub-judice and section-11 deals with the doctrine of res:judicata. Section -10 provides the rule with regard to stay of suits where things are under consideration or pending adjudication by a court. On the other hand section-11 provides the rule relates to a matter already adjudicated. It bars the trial of a suit or an issue in which the matter directly and substantially in issue has been adjudicated upon in a former suit. Sections 10 and 11 are mandatory.

Res sub-judice

Subjudice in latin means 'under judgment'. It denotes that a matter or case is being considered by court or judge. When two or more cases are filed between the same parties on the same subject matter, the competent court has power to stay proceeding. However, the doctrine of res-subjudice means stay of suit. This Code provides rules for the civil court in respect of the doctrine of res subjudice.This rule applies to trial of a suit not the institution thereof.

Conditions of Res sub-judice

This section can only be applied if the following condition are satisfied. These are:
  • Two suits: Previously Instituted and Subsequently Instituted.
  • Matter in issue in subsequent suit: directly and substantially in issue in previous suit.
  • Both suits between same parties or their representatives.
  • Previous suit must be pending in same or in any other court.
  • The court dealing with previously instituted suit competent to grant relief claimed in subsequent suit
  • Parties litigating under the same titles in both the suit.

Example
Wife A filed a suit for separation of conjugal life and custody of minor child against husband B. Subsequently husband B claimed custody of minor child by filling another suit against wife B. The second suit liable to stay under section 10 of CPC,1908.

When not apply
Court cannot apply this section where point at issues are distinct and different, or even where there are some issues in common and others are different issues. This section is also not applicable between the suits where although the parties are same, but the issues are not the same.

Purposes of Res sub-judice

The section -10 intends to protect a person from multiplicity of proceedings and to avoid a conflict of decisions. It also protect the litigant people from unnecessary harassment. It also aims to avert (avoid) inconvenience to the parties and gives effect to the rule of res judicata.

Purpose in short
  • Avoid wasting Court Resources.
  • Avoid Conflicting decisions.
  • Avoid multiplicity of suit.

What is res-judicata?

Under section 11 of the Code of Civil procedure 1908 , provision has been made regarding res-judicata. According to this, no court will try any suit or any issue in the suit in which that issue has been decided between that parties to the suit or any other parties under them for whose rights the suit has already been filed in any court of competent jurisdiction, heard and decided by that court or any point has been raised in the subsequent suit which has already been heard and decided by any court of competent jurisdiction.

It means that when any suit on certain issues has been heard by the court for this parties, then the same parties cannot bring the suit on the same points which have been already heard and decided by the same or any other court prior to the court.

Thus the doctrine attaches importance to one decision for one case and prohibits another. (Narayanam Chettiyar Vs Annamlle Chettiyar, A.I.R. 1959, SC 275).

The main objective of this doctrine is to avoid multiplicity of suits. Had thus doctrine not been there, there would been no end to litigation and no decision would have been final. One individual could have filed suit on the same point many times.

Broadly, there are three objectives of this doctrine:
  1. end of litigation;
  2. security against double suits;
  3. to give finality to the decision (Gulam Abbas Vs State of Uttar Pradesh, A.I.R. 1981 SC 2198).

In Satya Charan Vs Dev Rajan (A.I.R. 1962, SC 941) the Supreme Court has decided that the doctrine of res-judicata is based on the need of giving final shape to judicial decisions. According to this, any case decided once cannot be reopened for decision.

This doctrine can be clarified by an example. A brings a suit against B in the capacity of owner on the basis of contract which is rejected. Then A again brings suit against B on the basis of same contract in the capacity of agent. This was prohibits on the principle of owner on the basis of contract which is rejected. Then A again brings suit against B on the basis of same contract in the capacity of agent. This was prohibited on the principle of res-judicata.

The essential elements of Res judicata

There are five elements of res-judicata or we can say that for the applicability of this doctrine, five conditions are to be fulfilled:
  1. in the subsequent suit the same issue must be involved directly and substantially which was involved directly and actually and constructively in the earlier suit. In other words, for applicability of resjudicata, the issue involved in the subsequent suit must have been involved actually and constructively in the earlier suit.

    In R.P. Gupta Vs Shri Krishna Poddar (A.I.R. 1965, SC 316), the supreme court has said that in the subsequent suit the issue involved was not that which was involved in the earlier suit. Then, there the doctrine of res judicata will not be applicable.

    This can be classified by an example. A brought a suit against B for ousting on the basis of patta which was decreed. But the decree could not have been executed in time. Then A brought a suit against B for ousting on the basis of title. The Supreme Court did not consider it prohibitory on the basis of res-judicata (Ajit Chopra Vs Sadhu Ram, A.I.R. 2000, SC 212).

    In Sardar Bai Vs Mathari Bai (A.I.R. 2005, NOC 251, Madhya Pradesh) is a quotable case on this point. In this case, there was a issue of completeness of title due to adverse possession which was involved directly and substantially……..the parties, in the earlier case. Again, the suit relating to title was brought. It was considered prohibitory on the basis of doctrine of res judicata.
     
  2. The second condition of the applicability of the doctrine of res judicata ia that the same parties must be involved in the later suit which were involved in the earlier suit or the later suit some of the parties of earlier suits are involved. If the parties in the later suit are different from those who were parties in the earlier suit, the doctrine of res judicata will not apply.

    Example: A filed a suit against B for rent. B argues that the owner of campus is not a but C, then A fails to establish his title. Then A files a suit against B and C for establishing his title. It was not considered as prohibited because the parties were different in the second suit. (Dwarka Nath Vs Ram Chandra, 29, Calcutta 428)
     
  3. The third condition of the applicability of the doctrine of res judicata is that the parties have claimed having the same title in the earlier and the later suit. If in the later suit, in the title changes, the doctrine of res judicata will not apply.

    Example: A brings a suit against B in the capacity of a heir of a Mahant (deceased) for acquiring the property of a math. The suit is rejected because A could not prove himself as heir of B. again, A brings a suit against B for acquiring the property of math in the capacity of the manager of math. It was not considered as prohibitory by the doctrine of res judicata because the capacity of A has been different in both the cases.
     
  4. The fourth condition of the applicability of the doctrine fo res judicata is that the court which has decided the earlier case must be competent to decide the later case also.

    Example: A suit wsa filed in the court of munsiff for the vocation of premises and recovery of rent due. Later on, a second suit was filed in another court for declaration of title for which the court of munsiff did not have jurisdiction. It was not considered as prohibitory by the doctrine of res judicata.
     
  5. The fifth condition of the applicability of the doctrine of res judicata is the finality of the decision of the case. If all other conditions are fulfilled, the doctrine of res judicata will not apply.
     
In Badami Lal Vs Harsha Vardhan (A.I.R. 1994, Rajasthan 9), the High Court has decide that the earlier case must have been decide on the basis of giving the opportunity of hearing to both the parties, for the applicability of the doctrine of res judicata. In other words, it can be said that the earlier case should have been decided on the baiss of merits of the case.

If any case is rejected under order 9 Rule 8 on the basis of error then the doctrine of res judicata will not apply to that case because it is not disposal of the case on the basis of its merits (Gujarat Electricity Board, Baroda Vs Saurashta Chemicals, Porbandar, A.I.R. 2004, Gujarat 83).

In State of Maharashtra Vs M/S National Construction Company (A.I.R. 1996, Sc 2364), the Supreme Court has decided that the doctrine of res judicata will apply in a particular case only when;
  1. the issues in the earlier case were also involved in the later case actually and substantially;
  2. such issues have been decide finally;
  3. such finalization was done by a competent court; and
  4. the parties have been given the opportunity of hearing before deciding the case.
Thus for applicability of the doctrine of res judicata, all the above conditions must be fulfilled.

Applicability to Compromise Decree:

The doctrine res judicata does not apply to compromise decree because in such case there is no adjudication of the rights of parties (Messers AA Associates Vs Prem Goya, A.I.R. 2002 Delhi 142).

Similarly, in Upaharas Lethasam Vs Asibel Lingdol, (A.I.R. 1986, Guwahati 55), the Guwahati High Court has decided that the doctrine of res judicata does not apply to compromise decree and orders because the compromise is simply an agreement made between the parties and the court does not make any decision.

Applicability to Arbitration Proceedings:

The doctrine of res judicata applies to the decrees based on award provided the proceedings have been competed by:
  1. giving the opportunity of hearing to the parties;
  2. on the basis of merits of the case; and
  3. the case has been finally decided.

Applicability of Execution Proceedings:

According to seventh explanation of section 11of Civil Procedure Code 1908, the doctrine of res judicata applies to execution proceedings:

In Mohan Goyanka Vs Vinay Kumar Mukharjee (A.I.R. 1954, SC 65), the same view expressed by the Supreme court.

Difference between Res- judicata and res-subjudice

  1. Res subjudice relates to matter pending judicial enquiry or trial sub judice. Res-judicata relates to a matter already adjudicated or matter in which decision is already there.
  2. Res subjudice bars to the trial of a suit. Res-judicata, bars to file a suit.
  3. Section 10 deals with res-subjudice Section 11 deals with res- judicata

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