Judgment of court when relevant

JUDGEMENT OF COURT OF JUSTICE WHEN RELEVANT

Author: Santoshi karasi

INTRODUCTION

Generally, the term “Judgement” is referred to as an opinion or decision. Simply, in other words, a judgement is the adjudication of the matter in dispute by the court. In a legal sense, Judgement is defined under Section 2(9) of the Civil Procedural Code as the statement given by the judge on the grounds of a decree or order. The judgement given by the court resolves the legal battle by reaching out the finality of case. Further, the relevancy of judgement has evolved from the Indian Evidence Act, 1875. The Act particularly deals with the subject of evidence and its admissibility and also includes the provisions regarding the judgment of the court of justice when relevant from Section 40 to Section 44. Now let’s understand these provisions in detail as the mentioned sections will clarify that which of judgement is relevant and how it becomes relevant to any other case?

SECTION- 40: PREVIOUS JUDGMENTS RELEVANT TO BAR A SECOND SUIT OR TRIAL

Section 40 permits evidence of the previous judgement, order or decree which by law prevents any Court from taking cognizance Of a Suit or holding a trial. It means that the previous judgement becomes relevant to bar the subsequent judgement. Ahead Section 11 of the Civil Procedure Code embodies the rule of Res Judicata which bars or restrain the repetition of suit or litigation of the same issue. This rule underlines the general principle that no one shall be twice vexed for the same cause[1]. Similarly, Article 20(2) of Constitution of India and Section 300 of CRPC provides for the principle of “auterfois convict” or Double jeopardy which means that person must not be punished twice for the offence.

The object of Section 40 is to save the time of the court and avoid the trial of similar suits as well; in simple words, it provides that the existence of previous judgment, order, or decree is a relevant fact.  For instance, ‘x’ and ‘y’ are two parties, ‘x’ sues ‘y’ for fraud and the court has decided the case in favour of ‘y’ but later ‘x’ again filed a suit against ‘y’ for the same case. So it was said that once the judgment was given by a court over a particular subject matter then that court has a right to bar the trial of the case and here Section 40 applies.

SECTION 41: RELEVANCIES OF CERTAIN JUDGMENTS IN PROBATE etc.  JURISDICTION.

Section 41 provides that final judgments of courts exercising probate, matrimonial, admiralty or insolvency jurisdictions are relevant since such judgment:

  • confers upon or take away from any person any legal character or
  •  may declare any person to be entitled to any such legal character, and
  •  is the conclusive proof of matters.

This section provides two kinds of jurisdiction first one is “Judgements in Rem” and the second “Judgments in Personam”.

Judgment in Rem is defined as a judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction determining the status of a person or thing, or the disposition of a thing (as distinct from a particular interest in it) of a party of the litigation[2]. Whereas, Judgments in Personam are all the ordinary judgments which do not affect the status of any subject matter, any person or anything and which binds the only party to the suit.

Judgment-in-Rem under Section 41 deals with the legal character of a person can be pronounced by the courts exercising probate, matrimonial, admiralty, and insolvency jurisdiction.

  • Probate jurisdiction: it provides for the establishments of will and when the probate is granted it establishes the legal character of the person. 
  • Matrimonial jurisdiction: the judgement of the matrimonial court is generally regarding the marriage cases for saying divorce or nullity of marriage and the same is considered as a judgement in Rem.
  • Admiralty jurisdiction: the matters related to shipping, or cargo of a ship or other matter related maritime goes to the High court and any judgement related to admiralty jurisdiction shall be the conclusive proof.
  • Insolvency jurisdiction:  the power of the Member State within the territory of which the centre of the debtor’s main interests is situated shall have jurisdiction to open insolvency proceedings.

SECTION 42: RELEVANCY AND EFFECT OG JUDGEMENTS ORDERS, DECREE, OTHER THAN THOSE MENTIONED IN SECTION

According to Section 42, any Judgments, orders, or decrees other than those mentioned in Section 41 are relevant judgment.

  • If they are related to matters of public nature  relevant to the inquiry;
  •  Such judgment, order, or proclamation does not have conclusive proof of that which they state.

For instance: where the trustee of temple obtained a decree against certain landowners, for recovering certain amounts are due to the temple on the alleged right and it was held that in other suits against other landowners in which trustee claimed under the same right, the previous decree is relevant as they were a matter of public nature[3].

SECTION 43: JUDGEMENT, ORDER ETC OTHER THAN THOSE MENTIONED IN SECTION 40 TO 42, WHEN RELEVANT.

Section 43 provides that if the judgment, order, or decree is not relevant under sections 40, 41, or 42 it will not be relevant unless the judgment itself is a fact-in-issue or is relevant under some other provisions of the Act.

 For instance

  • ‘X’ is charged with theft and with having been previously convicted of theft. The previous conviction is relevant as a fact in issue.
  • A settlement in a civil proceeding for the recovery of a loan was held to be not of matter relevance in a subsequent criminal proceeding involving the same matter[4].

SECTION 44: FRAUD OR COLLUSION IN OBTAINING JUDGEMENT, OR INCOMPETENCE OF COURT MAY BE PROVED

There is a general rule of Res Judicata that no parties shall raise the similar issue before the court which the court has already decided, however, there is an exception to this rule provided under section 44 of the Indian evidence act which states that the judgment, order or decree made:

  1. By the incompetent court 
  2. Was obtained by way of fraud
  3. Was obtained by collusion

Then the party may file suit for the annulment of the case only when the same is proved by the adverse party. The object of Section 44 is to enable a party otherwise bound by a previous adjudication to show that it was not final or binding because it is vitiated by fraud or collusion.

CONCLUSION

Every judgement is based on the facts of the case and not completely by the relevance to other cases so far as in some cases the judgement, order, or decree passed by the court is the conclusive proof however in some the judgement isn’t so. The court while rendering the judgement requires considering the principle of law and also put forth the required reasoning of the judgment, order or decree for the purpose of reference. 


[1] S.B Temple v. V.V B. Charyulu,(1971)1 SCJ 215

[2]  B. Meenakshi Sundaram v. Kuttimalu (I.L.R. 1958 Ker. 9)

[3] Umaswamy v. Appalu ILR 12 MAD 9

[4] Rumi Dhar v. State of W.B.,(AIR 2009 S.C. 2195)

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