What do you know about the principle of ‘res judicata’? Explain the necessary conditions to constitute ‘res judicata’. (2017)
Category : Civil Procedure Code And Limitation Act
Section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure embodies the doctrine of
or the rule of conclusiveness of a judgment, as to the points decided either of fact, or of law, or of fact and law, in every subsequent suit between the same parties. It enacts that once the matter finally decided by a competent court no party can be permitted to reopen it in a subsequent litigation. In the absence of such rule there will be no end to litigation and the parties would be put to constant trouble, harassment and expenses.
This doctrine has been accepted in all civilized legal systems. Under the Roman law, a defendant
could successfully contest a suit filed by a plaintiff on a plea of “ex caption res judicata”.
It was said.”One suit and one decision is enough for a single dispute”. In the words of
Spence bower ,res judicata means “a final judicial decision pronounced by judicial tribunal having competent jurisdiction over the cause or matter in litigation and over the parties thereto”
The doctrine of res judicata has been explained in the simplest manner by Das Gupta,J in the case Satyadhyan Ghoshal v Deorjin 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. Preliminary it applies as between past litigation and future litigation. when a matter whether on a question of fact or a question of a decision is final ,either because no appeal was taken on higher court or because the appeal was dismissed ,or no appeals lies, neither party will lies, neither part will be allowed in future suit bar proceeding between the same parties to canvass the matter again
” RES JUDICATA means “
a thing decided ” in Latin. It is a common law doctrine meant to bar re-litigation of cases between the same parties in Court. Once a final judgment has been handed down in a lawsuit subsequent judges who are confronted with a suit that is identical to or substantially the same as the earlier one will apply res judicata to preserve the effect of the first judgment. This is to prevent injustice to the parties of a case supposedly finished, but perhaps mostly to avoid unnecessary waste of resources in the court system. Res judicata does not merely prevent future judgments from contradicting earlier ones, but also prevents them from multiplying judgments, so a prevailing plaintiff could not recover damages from the defendant twice for the same injury.
KINDS OF RES JUDICATA AND ITS CONDITIONS:
The principle of Res Judicata is codified in Section 11 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908. There are two kinds of Res Judicata, i)- Actual Res Judicata and ii)- Constructive Res Judicata. The difference between the both is :a)- It is necessary in the former case that the matter must have been alleged by one party and either admitted or denied by the other. This is not required in the case of constructive res judicata where the test as laid down by Explanation IV of Section 11 C.P.C. is whether the matter might and ought to have been made a ground of attack or defence. b)- The case/suit must have been heard and finally decided in the former case. This condition cannot be satisfied with regard to constructive res judicata, as there can be no hearing and decision respecting a matter never raised before a Court. However, in order to found the plea of constructive res judicata there must be some decision either in express terms or by implication. In all other respects all the conditions requisite for the applicability of the doctrine of actual res judicata must also be fulfilled in respect of the doctrine of constructive res judicata.
CONDITIONS OF RES JUDICATA:
There are five conditions to attract the provisions of res judicata which are: 1)- The matter directly and substantially in issue in the subsequent suit or issue must be the same matter which was directly and substantially in issue either actually(Explanation III), or constructively (Explanation IV), in the former suit. 2)- The former suit must have been a suit between the same parties or between parties under whom they or anyone of them claim (Explanation IV). 3)- The parties as aforesaid must have litigated under the same title in the former suit.
4)- The Court which decided the former suit must be a Court competent to try the subsequent suit in which such issue is subsequently raised (Explanation II).
5)- The matter directly and substantially in issue in the subsequent suit must have been heard and finally decided by the Court in the first suit (Explanation V).