The Doctrine of Res-subjudice: An Introduction
Doctrine of res-subjudice has not been found anywhere in the Civil Procedure Code, but the general principles of this doctrine are laid down in section 10 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (Stay of Suit).
In this blog post, we will explain the general principles of the doctrine of res-subjudice and important case laws which are helpful to understand the doctrine in a better way.
Meaning of Res-subjudice
The res-subjudice is a Latin maxim. Here, the term res means matter, cause, or litigation and the term subjudice means 'under judge', or 'under the judgment'.
In simple words, the doctrine of res-subjudice means a matter or litigation that is under judgment or pending before a court of law.
This doctrine applies where a matter is already pending before the competent court and the parties file more cases on the same subject matter in a different court. Then the doctrine of res-subjudice prohibits entertaining such cases.
The doctrine of res-subjudice is not directly provided in the CPC, but the concept and principles of the doctrine were laid down under section 10 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908. Section 10 of the Code, deals with the stay of the suit.
Objectives of Section 10
Here are some objectives of the doctrine of res-subjudice;
- To prevent parallel litigation in the same parties on the same subject matter.
- To limit the important time of the court.
- To avoid two inconsistent decisions on the same subject matter.
- To overcome the burden on the courts.
- To protect the rights of the other party.
- To avoid unnecessary delay.
Section 10 - Stay of Suit
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 to litigate under the same title where such suit is pending in the same or any other Court in India having jurisdiction to grant the relief claimed, or in any court beyond the limits of India established or continued by the Central Government and having like jurisdiction or before the Supreme Court.
Explanation - The pendency of a suit in a foreign Court does not preclude the Courts in India from trying a suit founded on the same cause of action.
Essential Elements of Stay of Suit
Section 10 of the Code empower the court to stay the proceedings and apply the doctrine of res-subjudice when the following conditions are fulfilled;
- Suit instituted previously
- Between the same parties
- Claiming the same title
- Matter in issue either directly and substantially
- The suit must be pending before the competent court
1. Suit instituted previously
The previously filed suit must be under proceeding before the competent court which means the proceeding is going on and the final judgment has not been pronounced by the court and the second suit is instituted in the other court on the same grounds.
And the previously filed suit must be pending before;
But, the previous suit is instituted in the foreign court and further the same suit is filed in any court in India by the same parties on the same subject matter, then the rule of res-subjudice will not apply here
2. Same Parties
The parties to the previously instituted suit and the other suit should be the one and same or their legal representatives. For imposing a stay on the second suit the identity of the parties is enough as the name of parties will appear in the court records.
3. Same Title
The parties shall institute the suit in the light of the same title. Here, the same title refers to the parties interests and capacity of the parties to the suit.
4. Matter in issue either directly and substantially
It means the rights disputed between the parties to the suit i.e. the right is challenged based on facts and where the law is made applicable to ascertain that issue.
As per the Evidence Act, 1872, the ‘Matter in issue’ is classified as;
Matter in issue either directly or substantially:- here the term ‘Directly’ means quickly, without any interference, and ‘Substantially’ means essentially or actually.
Matter collaterally and sub-ordinary in the issue.
5. Suit must be pending in the competent court
To apply the doctrine here, the previously suit must be instituted before the competent court then you have a chance to go for a stay.
But, if the previous suit was instituted before the incompetent court to decide the matter then there is no legal outcome from it. And, this section will not apply here.
Illustration: ‘X’ Associate in Nursing agent of ‘Y’ at Mumbai in agreement to sell Y’s product in the city. ‘X’ files suit the balance of accounts in the city. ‘Y’ sues the agent ‘X’ for accounts and with his negligence in Mumbai; whereas the case is unfinished in the city. During this case, Mumbai Court is precluded from conducting trial and the petition in City Court to direct keep of proceedings against Mumbai Court.
In the case of Neeta v/s Shiv Dayal Kapoor & Others, it was held the subsequent matter can not stay if the conditions are not fulfilled which are mentioned in Section 10 of CPC. In the apparent cause, the two courts which tried the same issues were not the courts having concurrent jurisdiction. Therefore, the proceedings in the subsequent court did not stay.
In the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences v/s C. Permeshwara AIR 2005 S.C., it was held that when the subject matter of two subsequent proceedings is not the same then the application to stay of the suit is not maintainable.
The main object and purpose of this doctrine of res-subjudice are to reduce the burden of courts to hear the issues. The people try to mislead the courts and files two or more suits on the same matter this will make more burden on the court. Already, there are millions of cases pending before the court if the people thinking to file the same case twice then imagine what will be situations of the court in dealing with the cases.
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