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res subjudice

National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences vrs. C.Parameshwara, (2005) 2 SCC 256 in which it has been held as follows:


“ 8. The object underlying Section 10 is to prevent courts of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously trying two parallel suits in respect of the same matter in issue. The object underlying Section 10 is to avoid two parallel trials on the same issue by two courts and to avoid recording of conflicting findings on issues which are directly and substantially in issue in previously instituted suit. The language of Section 10 suggests that it is referable to a suit instituted in the civil court and it cannot apply to proceedings of other nature instituted under any other statute. The object of Section 10 is to prevent courts of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously trying two parallel suits between the same parties in respect of the same matter in issue. The fundamental test to attract Section 10 is, whether on final decision being reached in the previous suit, such decision would operate as res-judicata in the subsequent suit. Section 10 applies only in cases where the whole of the subject-matter in both the suits is identical. The key words in Section 10 are “the matter in issue is directly and substantially in issue” in the previous instituted suit. The words “directly and substantially in issue” are used in contradistinction to the words “incidentally or collaterally in issue”. Therefore, Section 10 would apply only if there is identity of the matter in issue in both the suits, meaning thereby, that the whole of the subject-

matter in both the proceedings is identical.”


Supreme Court of India

Aspi Jal And Anr vs Khushroo Rustom Dadyburjor on 5 April, 2013

From a plain reading of the aforesaid provision, it is evident that where a suit is instituted in a Court to which provisions of the Code apply, it shall not proceed with the trial of another suit in which the matter in issue is also directly and substantially in issue in a previously instituted suit between the same parties. For application of the provisions of Section 10 of the Code, it is further required that the Court in which the previous suit is pending is competent to grant the relief claimed. The use of negative expression in Section 10, i.e. “no court shall proceed with the trial of any suit” makes the provision mandatory and the Court in which the subsequent suit has been filed is prohibited from proceeding with the trial of that suit if the conditions laid down in Section 10 of the Code are satisfied. The basic purpose and the underlying object of Section 10 of the Code is to prevent the Courts of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously entertaining and adjudicating upon two parallel litigations in respect of same cause of action, same subject matter and the same relief. This is to pin down the plaintiff to one litigation so as to avoid the possibility of contradictory verdicts by two courts in respect of the same relief and is aimed to protect the defendant from multiplicity of proceeding.


In the present case, the parties in all the three suits are one and the same and the court in which the first two suits have been instituted is competent to grant the relief claimed in the third suit. The only question which invites our adjudication is as to whether “the matter in issue is also directly and substantially in issue in previously instituted suits”. The key words in Section 10 are “the matter in issue is directly and substantially in issue in the previously instituted suit”. The test for applicability of Section 10 of the Code is whether on a final decision being reached in the previously instituted suit, such decision would operate as res-judicata in the subsequent suit. To put it differently one may ask, can the plaintiff get the same relief in the subsequent suit, if the earlier suit has been dismissed? In our opinion, if the answer is in affirmative, the subsequent suit is not fit to be stayed. However, we hasten to add then when the matter in controversy is the same, it is immaterial what further relief is claimed in the subsequent suit.

As observed earlier, for application of Section 10 of the Code, the matter in issue in both the suits have to be directly and substantially in issue in the previous suit but the question is what “the matter in issue” exactly means? As in the present case, many of the matters in issue are common, including the issue as to whether the plaintiffs are entitled to recovery of possession of the suit premises, but for application of Section 10 of the Code, the entire subject-matter of the two suits must be the same. This provision will not apply where few of the matters in issue are common and will apply only when the entire subject matter in controversy is same. In other words, the matter in issue is not equivalent to any of the questions in issue.It has also been sought in the earlier two suits on the same ground of non-user but for a different period. Though the ground of eviction in the two suits was similar, the same were based on different causes. The plaintiffs may or may not be able to establish the ground of non-user in the earlier two suits, but if they establish the ground of non-user for a period of six months prior to the institution of the third suit that may entitle them the decree for eviction. Therefore, in our opinion, the provisions of Section 10 of the Code is not attracted in the facts and circumstances of the case.


Supreme Court of India

Indian Bank vs Maharasthra State Co-Operative ... on 5 May, 1998

Therefore, the word "trial" in section 10 will have to be interpreted and construed keeping in mind the object and nature of that provision and the prohibition to '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'. The object of the prohibition contained in section 10 is to prevent the courts of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously trying two parallel suits and also to avoid inconsistent findings on the matters in issue. The provision is in the nature of a rule of procedure and does not affect the jurisdiction of the court to entertain and deal with the later suit nor does it create any substantive right in the matters. It is not a bar to the institution of a suit. It has been construed by the courts as not a bar to the passing of interlocutory orders such as an order for consolidation of the later suit with earlier suit, or appointment of a Receiver or an injunction or attachment before judgment. The course of action which the court has to follow according to section 10 is not to proceed with the 'trial' of the suit but that does not mean that it cannot deal with the subsequent suit any more or for any other purpose. In view of the object and nature of the provision and the fairly settled legal position with respect to passing of interlocutory orders it has to be stated that the word 'trial' in Section 10 is not used in its widest sense.

The provision contained in section 10 is a general provision applicable to all categories of cases. The provisions contained in Order 37 apply to certain classes of suits. One provides a bar against proceedings with the trial of a suit, the other provides for granting of quick relief. Both these provisions have to be interpreted harmoniously so that the objects of both are not frustrated. This being the correct approach and as the question that has arisen for consideration in this appeal is whether the bar to proceed with the trial of subsequently instituted suit contained in section 10 of the Code is applicable to a summary suit filed under Order 37 of the Code, the words 'trial of any suit' will have to be construed in the context of the provisions of Order 37 of the Code. Rule 2 of order 37 enables the plaintiff to institute a summary suit in certain cases. On such a suit being filed the defendant is required to be served with a copy of the plaint and summons in the prescribed form. Within 10 days of service the defendant has to enter an appearance. Within the prescribed time the defendant has to apply for leave to defend the suit and leave to defend may be granted to him unconditionally or upon such terms as may appear to the Court or Judge to be just. if the defendant has not applied for leave to defend, or if such an application has been made and refused, the plaintiff becomes entitled to judgment forthwith. If the conditions on which leave was granted are not complied with by the defendant then also the plaintiff becomes entitled to judgment forthwith. Sub-rule (7) of Order 37 provides that save as provided by that order the procedure in summary suits shall be the same as the procedure in suits instituted in the ordinary manner. Thus in classes of suits where adopting summary procedure for deciding them is permissible the defendant has to file an appearance within 10 days of the service of summons and apply for leave to defend the suit. If the defendant does not enter his appearance as required or fails to obtain leave the allegations in the plaint are deemed to be admitted and straightaway a decree can be passed in favour of the plaintiff. The stage of determination of the matter in issue will arise in a summary suit only after the defendant obtains leave. The trial would really begin only after leave is granted to the defendant. This clearly appears to be the scheme of summary procedure as provided by Order 37 of the Code.

Considering the objects of both the provisions, i.e., Section 10 and Order 37 wider interpretation of the word 'trial' is not called for. We are of the opinion that the word 'trial' in section 10, in the context of a summary suit, cannot be interpreted to mean the entire proceedings starting with institution of the suit by lodging a plaint. In a summary suit the 'trial' really begins after the Court or the Judge grants leave to the defendant to contest the suit. Therefore, the Court or the Judge dealing with the summary suit can proceed up to the stage of hearing the summons for judgment and passing the judgment in favour of the plaintiff if (a) the defendant has not applied for leave to defend or if such application has been made and refused or if(b) the defendant who is permitted to defend fails to comply with the conditions on which leave to defend is granted.



Supreme Court of India

Manohar Lal Chopra vs Rai Bahadur Rao Raja Seth Hiralal on 16 November, 1961

A Court in which a subsequent suit has been filed is prohibited from proceeding with the trial of that suit in certain specified circumstances. When there is a special provision in the Code of Civil Procedure for dealing with the contingencies of two such suits being instituted, recourse to the inherent powers under s. 151 is not justified. The provisions of s. 10 do not become inapplicable on a Court holding that the previously instituted suit is a vexatious suit or has been instituted in violation of the terms of the contract. It does not appear correct to say, as has been said in Ram Bahadur v. Devidayal Ltd. (1) that the Legislature did not contemplate the provisions of s. 10 to apply when the previously instituted suit be held to be instituted in those circumstances. The provisions of s. 35A indicate that the Legislature was aware of false or vexatious claims or defences being made, in suits, and accordingly provided for compensatory cost. The Legislature could have therefore provided for the non-application of the provisions of s. 10 in those circumstances, but it did not. Further, s. 22 of the Code provides for the transfer of a suit to another Court when a suit which could be instituted in any one of two or more Courts is instituted in one of such Courts. In view of the provisions of this section, it was open to the respondent to apply for the transfer of the suit.


Supreme Court of India

Pukhraj D. Jain & Ors vs G. Gopalakrishna on 16 April, 2004

The proceedings in the trial of a suit have to be conducted in accordance with provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure. Section 10 CPC no doubt lays down that 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. However, mere filing of an application under section 10 CPC does not in any manner put an embargo on the power of the court to examine the merits of the matter. The object of the section 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 a decree passed in contravention thereof is not a nullity. It is not for a litigant to dictate to the court as to how the proceedings should be conducted, it is for the court to decide what will be the best course to be adopted for expeditious disposal of the case. In a given case the stay of proceedings of later suit may be necessary in order to avoid multiplicity of proceedings and harassment of parties. However, where subsequently instituted suit can be decided on purely legal points without taking evidence, it is always open to the court to decide the relevant issues and not to keep the suit pending which has been instituted with an oblique motive and to cause harassment to the other side.


08. Res subjudice
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