Essentials of Res Judicata Application under CPC

Section 11 of CPC contains the doctrine of res judicata. “According to this doctrine, if the court has already decided a matter in a previous suit, a subsequent suit dealing with the same matter will be barred by res judicata.”[1] “One of the essential factors for application of res judicata is that the circumstances must remain static.”[2] For example, if the first suit was filed due to misuse of property and a decree was passed. Then, a subsequent suit cannot be filed about the same issue. However, if the circumstances change and the tenant fails to pay rent, then, the owner can file a second suit.

Apart from the above stated essential factor, there are five conditions that needs to be wholly met for res judicata to apply. These conditions are also mentioned in Section 11 of CPC. “The first condition is that the matter directly and substantially in issue in the second suit must have been the same matter directly and substantially in issue in the former suit.”[3] “‘Directly and substantially’ means that the matter should have been ‘actually in issue’ and not ‘collaterally or incidentally’.”[4] “In addition to this, first condition also constitutes that the matter must not be constructively in issue in the second suit.”[5] “The meaning of ‘constructively in issue’ has been laid down in several cases.”[6] “In the case, ‘State of U.P. v Nawab Hussain’[7], the court said that if the respondent had the knowledge of a matter which might and ought to have been made a ground of defence or attack in the first suit but, it was not made a ground, then, such a plea cannot be raised in any of the subsequent suits filed by the parties.”[8]

“The second and third conditions are that the parties involved in both the suits must be the same and that they must file the subsequent suit under the same title.”[9] “The fourth condition is that the court which adjudicated the previous suit must be competent to adjudicate the subsequent suit which is also given under ‘Explanation II of Section 11 of CPC’[10]. “The final condition is that the matter directly and substantially in issue must have been heard and finally decided in the former suit.”[11] “The important element for the application of this condition is that the court must have applied its judicial mind.”[12] All the five conditions have to be met in totality for section 11 to apply. Even if one condition is not satisfied, section 11 will not be attracted.

[1] Civil Procedure Code 1908, s. 11.

[2] Pramod Purshottam v. Vasundhara Pramod, AlR 1989 Bom 75; Ram Shanker Rastogi v. Vinay Rastogi, AIR 1991 All 255: (1991) 13 All LR 67.

[3] C.K. Takwani, Civil Procedure with Limitation Act, 1963 (first published in 1983, 8th edition, 2017) 264.

[4] Ibid, 265.

[5] Ibid.

[6] State of U.P. v. Nawab Hussain (1977) 2 SCC 806, Workmen v. Board of Trustees, Cochin Port Trust 1978 AIR 1283, 1978 SCR (3) 971.

[7] (1977) 2 SCC 806.

[8] Ibid.

[9] C.K. Takwani, Civil Procedure with Limitation Act, 1963 (first published in 1983, 8th edition, 2017) 264.

[10] Civil Procedure Code 1908, Explanation II of s. 11.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Pandurang Ramchandra Mandlik and another vs. Shantibai Ramchandra Ghatge and others.

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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