3. Res Judicata Pro Veritate Occipitur – A judicial decision must be accepted as correct.
The doctrine of Res Judicata has been explained in the simplest possible manner by Das Gupta, J., in the case of Satyadhyan vs. Smt. Deorajin Debi in the following words:
The principle of Res Judicata is based on the need of giving finality to judicial decisions. What it says is that once a res is judicata, it shall not be adjudged again.
Primarily it applies as between past litigation and future litigation. When a matter whether on a question of fact or a question of law has been decided between two parties in one suit or proceeding and the decision is final, (neither because no appeal was taken to a higher Court or because the appeal was dismissed, or no appeal lies), either party will not be allowed in a future suit or proceeding between the same parties to canvass the matter again.
Section 11 reads thus:
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 expression “former suit” shall denote a suit which has been decided prior to the suit in question whether or not it was instituted prior thereto.
For the purposes of this section, the competence of Court shall be determined irrespective of any provisions as to a right of appeal from the decision of such Court.
The matter above referred to must in the former suit have been alleged by one party and either denied or admitted expressly or impliedly, by the other.
Any matter which might and any ought to have been made ground of defence or attack in such former suit shall be deemed to have been a matter directly and substantially in issue in such suit.
Any relief claimed in the plaint, which is not expressly granted by the decree, shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to have been refused.
Where persons litigate bonafide in respect of a public right or of a private right claimed in common for themselves and others, all persons interested in such right shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to claim under the persons so litigating.
The provisions of this section shall apply to a proceeding for the execution of a decree and references in this section to any suit, issue or former suit shall be constructed as references, respectively, to a proceeding for the execution of the decree, question arising in such proceeding and a former proceeding for the execution of that decree.
An issue heard and finally decided by a Court of limited jurisdiction, competent to decide such issue, shall operate as Res Judicata in a subsequent suit, notwithstanding that such Court of limited jurisdiction was not competent to try such subsequent suit in which such issue has been subsequently raised.
Res-Sub Judice and Res-Judicata:
Section 10 of C.P.C. deals with stay of suit. The other name of this section is Res-Sub Judice. It provides:
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 having Jurisdiction to grant the relief claimed, or in any Court beyond the limits of India established or constituted by the Central Government and having like Jurisdiction or before the Supreme Court.
The essence of this section is that it does not bar the institution of a suit, but only bars the trial, if certain conditions are not fulfilled. The subsequent suit, therefore, cannot be dismissed by the Court, but is required to be stayed.
A person, who seeks to get a suit stayed under the doctrine of Res-Sub Judice, shall satisfy the following conditions:
1. There must be two suits – one previously instituted and the other subsequently instituted.
2. The matter in issue in the subsequent suit must be directly and substantially in issue in the previous suit.
3. Both suits must be between the same parties or their representatives.
4. The previously instituted suit must be pending in the same Court in which the subsequent suit is brought or in any consequent Court to try the said suit.
5. The Court in which previous suit is pending, must be a competent Court to grant relief.
6. Parties to previous suit and subsequent suit must be litigating under the same title in both suits.
Section 10 is mandatory and no discretion is left with the Court, but to stay the suit based on the doctrine of Res-Subjudice.
Section 10 is an exemption to a suit pending in a foreign Court.
A Civil Court can stay a suit by virtue of inherent powers vested in it under Section 151, C.P.C., even without application of Sec. 10 of C.P.C.