In India, the principle of “Res Judicata” is codified under Section 11 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (CPC). This section outlines the doctrine of Res Judicata and its application in civil proceedings. Here’s what Section 11 of the CPC says:
Section 11 of the CPC:
“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.”
Key points to understand about Section 11 of the CPC and Res Judicata in India:
- Same Parties: Res Judicata applies when the parties in the subsequent suit are the same as or claim under the parties in the previous suit. This includes not only the original parties but also those claiming through them.
- Same Matter in Issue: The matter in the subsequent suit must be directly and substantially the same as the matter in issue in the former suit. In other words, it pertains to the same cause of action or controversy.
- Competent Court: The former suit and the subsequent suit must have been filed in a court competent to hear and decide the matter.
- Heard and Finally Decided: The matter in question must have been heard and conclusively decided by the court in the previous suit. A mere incidental mention of an issue in a judgment may not be sufficient; it must have been directly and substantially in issue and determined.
The purpose of Section 11 of the CPC is to promote finality in legal proceedings, prevent parties from re-litigating the same issues repeatedly, and ensure that once a court has decided a matter, it cannot be challenged in subsequent suits. It encourages litigants to bring all their claims and defenses in a single lawsuit to avoid unnecessary duplication and delay in the legal process.
It’s important to note that Res Judicata under the CPC applies to civil cases in India and is a vital legal principle to maintain judicial efficiency and fairness in the resolution of disputes.
What are the essentials of res judicata under CPC?