Res Judicata in Code of Civil Procedure.

Section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure deals with the concept of Res Judicata, it 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. The concept aims to reduce litigation in cases where the matter has already been decided in order to save the already tense judicial resources in our country. It also aims to protect a decision that is made by a competent court, i.e. once a decision is made by a court, the said decision should be held true and be respected. Further, no person should be harassed or tried twice for the same crime. All of these reasons aim to protect the public interest and interests of individuals. 

Res Judicata is based on the conclusiveness of judgement whereas the concept of res sub-juice is based on the matter under consideration. Although the concept of res sub-juice is not expressly mentioned in the Code of Civil Procedure, Section 10 of the CPC reads out that 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. It makes sure that the suit in which the matter in issue is already being adjudicated upon in a previous suit, the court should stay out of such a subsequent suit. This concept too revolves around the idea of promoting public interests and state interests by making sure that the courts are not wasting their resources by entertaining two cases in which the matter is either directly or substantially the same. From Section 10 we can clearly understand that in order for a matter to be considered under the concept of res sub-judice the suit previously instituted and the suit which is instated at a later stage should directly or substantially have the same matter in issue. It is given in the case of Neeta vs Shiv Dayal Kapoor that the courts in which two suits are pending must be of concurrent jurisdiction. This also follows from Section 10 which It is noted that the subsequent suit must be pending before a competent court, in absence of which the matter won’t be considered under the given section. In this case, it was elucidated that in case of non-compliance with the conditions given in the section, the subsequent suit cannot be stayed and the court can proceed with the trial of that suit. This was also spoken about in the case of S.P.A. Annamalay Chetty v B. A. Thornhill. The concept aims to determine the questions of the same right. If the question of law is not the same then naturally it won’t be stayed and it also avoids contradictory judgements or two similar judgements. The subject matter is not considered the same or different on basis of facts or circumstances, it is the cause that is of utmost importance in this section. 

Further, in the case of Indian Bank v Maharashtra State Coop. Marketing Federation Ltd the issue raised was whether Section 10 of the CPC is applicable to Summary suits in order 37, which if allowed would defeat the purpose of having special suits. It was held that while interpreting the meaning of trial under section 10 and order 37, the two should be construed harmoniously in a way that the object of neither section is frustrated. The provision in section 10 does not affect jurisdiction or create any substantive rights, further, it does not bar the institution of suits, it only bars the trial of such suits. In a summary suit, the court can proceed with stages up to hearing summons and passing judgement in favour of the plaintiff if the defendant has not applied for leave to defend or if such application has been made and refused and the defendant who is permitted to defend fails to comply with the conditions on which leave is granted. Therefore, it was held that Section 10 does not apply to summary suits. From this case, we can hold that the section does not stop the court from passing interim orders and does not apply to the foundation of the suit itself. If the decision given in the former suit would lead to the operation of functioning as the concept of res judicata in the subsequent suit then the later suit must be stayed and it should be held that section 10 is applicable to the said suit. Further, to maintain the objective that is envisaged in section 10, i.e. to not provide the same or contradictory judgements on the same matter by staying suits with the same matter in issue in a subsequent suit, a civil court is also given powers to utilise section 151 of the Civil Procedure Code. Section 151 states that nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or otherwise affect the inherent power of the Court to make such orders as may be necessary for the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of the process of the Court. In case of a situation where the parties themselves have decided to go forward with the subsequent suit, they cannot later claim that the decree passed is null as it is contradictory to section 10. It should also be noted that the title should be the same in both the suits under litigation.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.


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