Iftikar Ahmed v. Syed Meharban Ali, AIR 1977 SC 749

Section 11 – Res judicata between Co-defendants.

Facts:

There was conflict of interest among co- plaintiffs. In the previous suit, Ishtaq Ahmed, K. Fatima, M. Ali (Co-plaintiffs) instituted a suit against the mortgagee, relating to shares of the latter two in mortgaged properties.in that suit it was decided that only Ishtaq Ahmed had title to the properties and other two had no title. The question of title which was in dispute was conclusively determined by a competent court. In the later suit the dispute was in between Ishtaq Ahmed on the one hand and K. Fatima and M. Ali on the other hand regarding the same property. The matter was referred to the arbitrator.

Issue:

Whether earlier decision of the court regarding the title of the property in question would operate as res- judicata in between the parties.

Observations: 

The SC held that if following 4 principles were satisfied then it would operate as res- judicata

1)-There must be a conflict of interest between the parties.

2)-It is necessary to decide that conflict in order to give relief and determine the issue in the case.

3)-That such a conflict has been conclusively determined.

4)-The Co-defendants were necessary or proper parties in the former suit.

Decision:

The SC held that since the four conditions were satisfied in the case and thus the principle of res judicata has to operate.

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