Res Judicata


The doctrine of res judicata is very ancient and was accepted by Hindu and Muslim jurist. The term ‘Res’ means, a thing and Judicata means, already decided. Therefore Res Judicata means a thing already decided by a court . The doctrine of res judicata is based on the concept of public policy it promote fair administration of justice. When matter is already decided by a competent court of justice it cannot be again put before the same other authority in respect of the same matter of dispute.

What is Res Judicata?

Section 11 of Code of Civil Procedure ,1908 defines res judicata as” no court shall try any suit or issue in which the subject matter and parties are the same and had already been tried by the court of competent jurisdiction”. It simply means once a competent court under jurisdiction decide a case and the same case can not be tried by the another competent court . Same case means same issue in the subject matter , between same parties and same title. This is to prevent multiplicity of proceedings and certainty in judgement .

In order to constitute Res-judicata the following conditions must satisfy, they are as follows:

  • Subject matter in the present case must be same as that of the previously decided case.
  • The parties must be same .
  • The litigation must be on the same title
  • The previously decided Court must be competent to try the subsequent suit.

When same subject matter case is being tried by different competent court by a same parties. There is a possibility of two different decision on the same matter by two Courts . In order to avoid this situation the principle of res judicata was made. For example, there is a dispute between A and B ,A approach the competent Civil Court and court decided in the favor of B. A again filled another suit against B, in another competent court which has same jurisdiction and the issue where in both cases where same in such instances B can rise Res-judicata.

Unless the res judicata is raised by the concerned party the court has no jurisdiction to answer issue of res judicata . But in case of appellate court , the court can suo moto invoke the principle of Res-judicata. Since judicial proceedings is time consuming process it takes a long time to decide a case, when a dispute come before the competent court and decision is made on the merits of the case and it is not possible to start the same from the beginning , Res-judicata prevent this situation. In Daryao v. State of Uttar Pradesh, in this case the petitioner filed a writ petition under Art.226 which was dismissed by the High Court, later he filed substantive petition in Supreme Court under Art.36. On the respondents contention of res judicata the court dismissed the petition.

Res-judicata is based on maxims

  • Nemo debit lis vexari pro qua et eadem cause, which means no person must be vexed twice for the same course.
  • Interest republicae ut sit finis litium, which means the state has intrested that there should be an end to a ligation
  • Res judicata pro veritate occipitur, the judicial decisions must be accepted as correct and conclusive truth.
  • Res Judicata pro veritate habetur, means an adjudicated matter shall be deemed correct.

Difference between res subjudice and res-judicata .

Res sub-judice means pending litigation by a court. Res sub-judice is defined under section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. Res sub-judice relates to a matter pending in a competent court of jurisdiction where as in res judicata it relates to a matter which is already decided by a competent court. Res sub-judice bar the trial of the subsequent suit and empowers the court to order stay of all further proceedings where as Res-judicata bars the trial of the subsequent suit , since the matter had already been decided.


The main aim of Res-judicata is to prevent abuse of law and to promote administrative justice and it is based on the public policy and is founded on justice, equity and good conscience. It is not fair to vex a person twice and their must be an end for a litigation. The fundamental principle of administration of justice can be ensured by principle of Res-judicata.


Aishwarya Says:

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