Res Judicata & Res Subjudice
This Blog is written by Piyush Gupta from CPJ College of Higher Studies & School of Law, Delhi. Edited by Saumya Tripathi.
According to section 11 of Civil Procedure Code, Res Judicata means that courts don’t have the power to try any new issue or suit which has previously been settled between the same parties. In other words, courts will not entertain any suit which has already been settled between same parties and under the same title. The court can set aside the case by granting a decree of Res Judicata, if the court catches with any suit which has previously been decided by the court and where there is no appeal pending before the court.
The doctrine of Res Judicata is devised from 3 Roman maxims:
- Nemo debet lis vaxari pro eadem causa– It says that no person should be provoked, annoyed, harassed or vexed two times for the same cause;
- Interest republicae ut sit finis litium– It says that it is in the interest of the state that there should be an end of litigation; and
- Re judicata pro veritate occipitur– It says that decision of the court should be declared as true.
According to section 10 of Civil Procedure Code, Res Subjudice says that competent court has the power to stay on proceedings, when there are two or more cases, which are filed between the identical parties on the similar subject matter. The main objective of this doctrine is to prevent from concurrent jurisdiction, to avoid wasting of court resources, and to avoid conflicting decisions. The doctrine of Res SubJudice works as a stay from the same subject matter in suit being parallel introduced in two different Courts.
- First and the foremost similarity between the two is that in each of the doctrines, both the suits must be between the same parties and the parties must be litigating under the same title.
- Second similarity between the two is that in each of the doctrines, the matter in issue in both the suits must be considerably the same.It means the issue in the following suit must have been directly and considerably in question in the previous suit either truly or constructively.
- In case of Res-Subjudice, there must be two suits, one formerly instituted whereas in case of Res- Judicata there must be an end to litigation.
- The doctrine of Res Subjudice is contained in section 10 of the Civil Procedure Code, and the doctrine of Res Judicata is contained in section 11 of the Civil Procedure Code.
- Res Sub Judice prohibits proceedings of two corresponding suits between the same parties. On the other hand, Res Judicata prohibits the second trial of the same dispute between the same parties.
- In the case of Res Sub Judice, the previously instituted suit must be pending in the same court and in the case of Res Judicata, the previously instituted suit must be decided by the competent court in which the issue has been raised subsequently.
- In the case of Res Sub Judice, it applies to only suit, including appeal and in the case of Res Judicata, it applies to suit and applications.
Provision in the legislature
Indian Legal system adopted the doctrine of Res Judicata from the common law. The principle of res judicata was incorporated in Section 11 of the Civil Procedure Code. After the Civil Procedure code, Administrative Law acknowledged the applicability of the res judicata. Later, it was accepted by other statutes and acts and the doctrine of res judicata started developing in the Indian Legal System.
Section 10 of Civil Procedure Code defines doctrine of Res Subjudice.
Res Judicata Case Laws:
- In Slochana Amma v. Narayana Nair 1994, the court held that, the doctrine of res judicata applies to quasi-judicial proceedings and before tribunals also.
- In the case of Govindaswamy v. Kasturi Ammal 1998, it was held by the court that, the doctrine of res judicata applies to the plaintiff as well as the defendant.
- The court held in the case of Umayal Achi v MPM Ramanathan Chettiar that the correctness or otherwise of a judicial decision has no bearing upon whether or not it operates as res judicata.
The scope of the principle of res-judicata is defined in the judgement of Satyadhan Ghosal & Ors. V. Smt. Deorajin Debi & Anr., AIR 1960 SC 941. The Supreme Court held that the Principle of Res judicata is based on the need of giving finality to judicial decisions. What it says is that once a res judicata, it shall not be adjudged again. Primarily it applies as between past litigation and future litigation.
Res Subjudice Case Laws:
Facts: The defendant had filed for stay of present suit, an application u/s 10 CPC, on ground that the matter in controversy is pending in Jamshedpur Court also. This was contrasted by plaintiff on ground that, the defendants had raised issue of jurisdiction of Jamshedpur Court to entertain same suit; and that application u/s 10 CPC can be filed in the present suit, only if objection with respect to lack of jurisdiction was withdrawn in Jamshedpur Court.
Judgement: Court held that the conditions requisite to invoke S.10 CPC are:
- Matter in issue in both the suits to be substantially the same.
- Suit to be between the same parties or parties litigating under them
- Previously instituted suit to be in the same Court or a different Court, which has jurisdiction to grant the relief asked.
- There is nothing to the effect that defendant should not question the competency of previously Court in the previously instituted suit, and there remains the fact that the plaintiff in their defense against S.10 CPC, had not stated the Jamshedpur Court is competent. Thus relief was granted to the defendant.
Dees Piston Ltd V State Bank of India 1991: In this case, it was held 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.
Indian Bank V Maharashtra State Co-Operative Marketing Federation 1998: The court in this case held that, the object of prohibition in S.10 CPC, is to, prevent courts of concurrent Jurisdiction from simultaneously trying two parallel cases avoid inconsistent findings on the matter in issue.
According to section 11 of Civil Procedure Code, Res Judicata means that courts don’t have the power to try any new issue or suit which has previously been settled between the same parties.
- There must be two suits one former (previously decided) suit and the other subsequent suit.
- Parties of the former and subsequent suit or the parties under whom they or any of them claim should be the same.
- The subject matter of the subsequent suit should be identical or related to the Former suit either actually or constructively
- The case must be finally decided between the parties
- The former suit should be decided by the court of competent jurisdictions
- Parties in the former as well as in Subsequent suit must have litigated under the same title
According to section 10 of Civil Procedure Code, Res Subjudice says that competent court has the power to stay on proceedings, when there are two or more cases, which are filed between the identical parties on the similar subject matter.
Conditions or Essentials:
- Suits to the parties are to be the same or between parties under whom they or any of them claim, litigating under the same title.
- Pendency of suit in Foreign Court doesn’t activate Section 10 CPC.
- If suit is pending before a Court and subsequently an application is filed before a Tehsildar, it doesn’t invoke Section 10 as Tehsildar is not a “Court”
- For purpose of institution, the date of presentation of plaint and not the date of admission is considered. The term suit includes appeal.
- Any decree passed in violation of Section 10 is null and void.
At last what I deduce from the above explanations is that, with the augmenting cases in the courts and the intensified burden on the courts because of several frivolous and preposterous suits, it is inexorable that to ensure smooth functioning of the judicial system as well as for providing justice to indigent parties that these two doctrines are severely executed. These doctrines must not be used for the purpose of avoidance of justice. Rather, the purpose is to make the judiciary more proficient and effective.
The doctrine of Res Judicata, aims to ensure that a matter once shut after exhaustion of all remedies is not re-opened. This is important as if it was not in place, the cases would go on in perpetuity and there would be no conclusion in any matter.
The doctrine of Res Sub Judice functions as a stay from the similar subject matter in issue being parallel introduced in two different Courts and the twin objectives of Section 10 CPC are, avoiding conflicting decisions and findings and avoiding wastage of Court resources and time.