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Res Sub-Judice- The Doctrine of Pending Suit

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Introduction

The doctrine of Pending Suit – Res- Sub- Judice is playing a pivotal role in stopping the multiplicity of suit or proceeding in the civil cases in the court. this doctrine bars the courts to take cognizance of the matter already pending before the court in which matter in issue is directly or substantially the same.

Section 10 of the code of civil procedure

NO COURT SHALL PROCEED WITH THE TRIAL OF ANY SUIT IN WHICH THE MATTER IN ISSUE IS ALSO DIRECTLY AND SUBSTANTIALLY IN ISSUE IN A PREVIOUSLY INSTITUTED SUIT BETWEEN THE SAME PARTIES, OR BETWEEN PARTIES UNDER WHOM THEY OR ANY OF THEM CLAIM LITIGATING UNDER THE SAME TITLE WHERE SUCH SUIT IS PENDING IN THE SAME OR ANY OTHER COURT IN 1[INDIA] HAVING JURISDICTION TO GRANT THE RELIEF CLAIMED, OR IN ANY COURT BEYOND THE LIMITS OF 1[INDIA] ESTABLISHED OR CONTINUED BY 2[THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT] 3[***] AND HAVING LIKE JURISDICTION, OR BEFORE 4[THE SUPREME COURT].

As we know this doctrine prevents the court from proceeding with the trial of any suit in which the matter in issue is however the same either directly or substantially with respect to the previous suit which is still pending in the court of law. The Scope of the doctrine is wide as the provisions of Section 10 are clear, definite, and mandatory. A court in which a subsequent suit is filed is prohibited from proceeding with the trial of that suit. Thus under section 10, the court is prohibited from the concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously, trying two parallel cases in respect of the same matter in issue, these twofold objects first one is to avoid “Wasting Court Resources” and the second one is to “Avoid Conflicting Decisions”. The main purpose behind this doctrine is to prevent the plaintiff from getting two separate decisions from different courts in his favor or two contradictory judgments.

Illustration

Consider a situation in which X filed suit against S, following which S filed a subsequent suit against X on an issue similar to the one in the previous suit. X argued that since a similar suit is pending, the subsequent suit should not be allowed till the disposal. On the other hand, S filed an application arguing that both the suits should be tried together. X uses the doctrine stated under section 10 of the code and if all the conditions of the section are satisfied, then that subsequent suit has to be stopped.

So, as per the illustration, it can be argued that the said section is used to prevent Courts from simultaneously adjudicating upon two parallel litigations in respect of the same issues. So, this doctrine avoids the frivolous litigation and wastage of resources, and unnecessary delay.

The object of Section 10

 Pukhraj D. Jain v. G. Gopal Krishna

the Supreme Court and it was observed that” The object of section 10 is to prevent courts of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously trying two parallel suits in respect of the same matter in issue. The section enacts merely a rule of procedure and decree passed in contravention thereof is not a nullity.”

 R. Srinivasan v. Southern Petrochemical

the court explained the object of Section 10 by stating” Under Section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure, no Court shall proceed with the trial of any suit in which the matter in issue is also directly and substantially in issue in a previously instituted suit between the same parties, or between parties under whom they or any of them claim litigating under the same title where such suit is pending in the same or any other Court in India having jurisdiction to grant the relief claimed. This section does not contemplate an identity of issues between the two suits, nor does it require that the matter in issue in the two suits should be entirely the same or identical. What the section requires is that the matter in issue in the two suits should be directly and substantially the same, and proper effect must be given to the language used by the legislature in Section 10 that the identity required is a substantial identity. There must be an identity of the subject-matter, the field of controversy between the parties in the two suits must also be the same, but the identity contemplated and the field of controversy contemplated should not be identical and the same in every particular, but the identity and the field of controversy must be substantially the same. Where there are different and independent transactions between the parties, a suit qua one transaction cannot stay when a suit qua the second transaction is filed.”

Conditions for the application of this doctrine:-

For the application of this doctrine there are certain conditions which have been stated under Section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure as follows:

  • There must be two suits, one previously instituted and the other subsequently instituted.
  • The matter in issue in the subsequent suit must be directly and substantially in issue in the previous suit.
  • Both the suits must be between the same parties or their representatives.
  • The previously instituted suit must be pending:
  • In the same court in which subsequent suit is brought, or
  • In any other court in India, or
  • In any court beyond the limits of India established or continued by the central government, or
  • Before the Supreme Court.
  • The court in which the previous suit is instituted must have jurisdiction to grant the relief claimed in the subsequent suit.
  • The parties must be litigating under the same title in both the suits.

Conclusion-

Res Sub-Judice which is incorporated under section 10 of the Civil Procedure Code, is a matter of public policy that, there must not be the multiplicity of suits or proceedings between the same parties so that the adjudicating body i.e. court be free from unnecessary burden.

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Written by lawcrab

Lawcrab is the First Magazine focusing on making the law easier to understand for everyone.

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