The Supreme Court of India takes reference or aid from sundry common law or judicial precedents and their principles to keep a balance and refine the judicial system. The purpose behind this is to appraise judicial efficiency and ensure a constructive pace of delivering justice in the Court of Law is accomplished. Res Judicata and Res Sub-Judice are two of those doctrines that lend a helping hand to the courts and are further explained in this article.
Res Judicata which is a Latin term means, “A dispute or matter that has been decided”. The doctrine of Res Judicata exists from ongoing lawsuit on the same dispute among the same parties when the dispute has already been adjudged and a verdict has already been given by the Court so that the matter is no more susceptible to go for an appeal. Section 11 of CPC discusses about Res Judicata in detail.
Res Sub-Judice also comes from a Latin maxim which means “under judgment or trial”. Res Sub Judice is based on a public policy that prevents a plaintiff from lodging two allegations on the same matter, restraining the possibility of two courts passing opposing verdicts. This doctrine prevents duplication of procedures and contradicting rulings. Section 10 of the CPC discusses about the doctrine in detail.

The doctrine of Res Judicata simply refers to an issue that has been taken up and decided by any competent court cannot be brought before court, no matter whether it is the same court or any different court under the scope of Res Judicata. This occurs because the principle of Res Judicata averts any additional otherwise claims after the verdict has already been given. It is also called as “claim preclusion”. It is a common-law practice that ignores matters from being re-litigated in the Court between the same parties.
The objectives of Res Judicata are to prevent:

  • Injustice to the parties in legal matter that was to be resolved by a judgment that give decisiveness and hampered any future alleges.
  • Resources of courts being used redundantly.
  • Multiplying verdicts in more than one allege as multiple verdicts will lead to ambiguity.
  • Inflicting damages on the respondent more than once for the same harm caused.

Nevertheless, it should be brought to the attention that the abovementioned does not encompass the appeals process, which is believed to be the actual way to find a conclusion. The principle of res judicata shall only employ to a precedent once the whole appeal and followed legal proceedings have been worn out. In Y.B Patil v. Y.L. Patil, the Hon’ble Supreme Court said that once an order or decision has been made in the continuing proceeding, it becomes pinnacle and thus it becomes compelling or imperative on the parties in the same proceeding down the road.

The Doctrine of Res Sub-Judice prevents or restricts the court to move onwards with the trial of any lawsuit in any legal actions where the issue in matter is directly or indirectly the same as a before initiated between the parties to the lawsuit, and the court where the matter has already been initiated before, has the authority to grant the relief asked for. The principle of Res Sub-Judice is only applicable to the lawsuits and not to the institutions. It never bears the Hon’ble Court’s ability to proceed with interim orders like injunctions or stays. Nonetheless, it applies to revisions and appeals.
The only aim of this doctrine is to keep the courts away from cases and suits which have already been determined before. It is also a matter that the plaintiff shall not get two different verdicts whether in his favor or not, nor two contradicting verdicts, which ensures that the plaintiff would not be subject to undue influence. The objective prevents the plaintiff from getting two different statutes for the same facts of the case.
The aim of Section 10 of the CPC is to avert two different courts from passing contradictory judgments for the same facts of the case. It was held in the case of Anurag and Co. and Anr. v. Additional District Judge that consolidation of actions under section 151 CPC owing to serve the purpose of justice since it safeguards the party against various lawsuits, delays in delivering justice, and hefty costs for the suit.

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