Q. What is doctrine of “Res sub judice” as provided in Section 10 of Civil Procedure Code ? When can this doctrine be applied. Elucidate? [MPCJ 2014]

Ans. The object of section 10 of the CPC is to prevent the courts of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously trying two parallel suits. Such prohibition is essential to prevent contradictory judgment, multiplicity of suit and harassment of parties. The Hon’ble Apex court has held in Indian Bank V Maharashtra State Co- operative Marketing Federation Ltd.(1998) 5 SCC 69 that under section 10 a suit is only required to be stayed and not dismissed when following conditions are satisfied:

  1. There are two suits.
  2. The matter in issue in both suits must be directly and substantially same: The identity of the matter in issue has to be considered in the light of cause of action, subject matter, relief etc. The hon’ble apex court has held in National Institute Of Mental vs C. Parameshwara , AIR 2005 SC 242 that section 10 of CPC would apply only if there is identity of the matter in issue in both the suit. The test is, if the decision in a previously instituted suit would operate as a res-judicata in the subsequent suit then the later one has to be stayed.
  3. Both suit must be between the same parties or their successors.
  4. Parties are litigating under the same title in both suits
  5. The court in which the previously instituted suit is pending must be a court of jurisdiction competent to grant the relief claimed in the subsequent suit.

When the aforesaid condition are satisfied then as held in Manohar Lal Chopra Vs Seth Hiralal 1962 AIR 527 then the provision of section 10 of the CPC becomes mandatory and do not become inapplicable on a court holding that the previously instituted suit is a vexatious or has been instituted in violation of the terms of the contract.

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