Civil Procedure Code & Limitation Act LSF – 4

Answer to Question: Res Judicata and Res Subjudice

I. Introduction

The concepts of Res Judicata and Res Subjudice are fundamental in the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) to prevent the courts from being burdened with multiple suits on the same matter. They uphold the principle of judicial finality and consistency.

II. Res Judicata (Section 11, CPC)

A. Definition: Res Judicata, as defined in Section 11 of the CPC, refers to the principle that a matter once judicially decided by a competent court cannot be re-agitated in a subsequent lawsuit involving the same parties, subject matter, and cause of action.

B. Key Elements:

  1. Final Judgment: A final judgment by a competent court.
  2. Same Parties: The subsequent suit involves the same parties or their representatives.
  3. Same Subject Matter: The subject matter in the subsequent suit must be the same as in the previous one.
  4. Same Cause of Action: The cause of action must be identical in both suits.

III. Res Subjudice (Section 12, CPC)

A. Definition: Res Subjudice, governed by Section 10 of the CPC, refers to the principle that when a matter is already under consideration (sub judice) by a court, no parallel suit with the same parties and subject matter can be filed in another court.

B. Key Elements:

  1. Pendency: The suit must be pending in a court.
  2. Jurisdictional Competence: The court where the first suit is pending must be competent to grant the relief sought.
  3. Same Matter: The matter in dispute in both suits must be substantially the same.

IV. Distinction between Res Judicata and Res Subjudice

  1. Stage of Litigation:
    • Res Judicata applies to cases already decided by a competent court.
    • Res Subjudice applies to cases that are currently pending before a court.
  2. Purpose:
    • Res Judicata prevents the re-litigation of the same issue that has been conclusively settled.
    • Res Subjudice aims to prevent courts from simultaneously hearing parallel suits on the same matter.
  3. Legal Provisions:
    • Res Judicata is defined in Section 11 of the CPC.
    • Res Subjudice is governed by Section 12 of the CPC.
  4. Impact on Subsequent Suits:
    • Res Judicata bars the filing of a new suit based on the same cause of action after a final judgment.
    • Res Subjudice prohibits the continuation of a suit in another court while the first suit is still pending.

In conclusion, while both Res Judicata and Res Subjudice prevent unnecessary litigation, they operate at different stages of legal proceedings and serve distinct purposes in ensuring judicial efficiency and finality​​.