Res Judicata and Res Sub Judice

By. R.Pon Aishwarya, Alliance University

Res Judicata is derived from a Latin word that means a thing adjudged.  It generally means that a case cannot continue to appear for an appeal if the judgment is made on positive grounds. Through literal interpretation, it means that an appeal cannot be made in the same or different court. It is used in different ways in both common law and civil law countries. The principle of Res Judicata is applied by the judges or defendant in common law country. It is of a wider concept in common law countries than the civil law countries. The judges confront the plaintiff if he initiates a new case for the same issue, if the proper judgment is made and if the claim would arise from the same action. The common law system follows collateral estoppel but it is not found in the civilian jurisdiction. In Civil law country, the trial must be identical to the first one.

Res sub judice is derived from a Latin word that means a matter or case is considered by the court or judgment. The court would apply a stay of suits if two similar suits are filed for the same issues. This doctrine of Res Sub Judice is to prevent the court from concurrently handling a similar issue.

The Indian Law:

The doctrine of Res Judicata in India has based o three other maxims:

1. Nemo Debit Lix Vexari Pro edem Causa:

This Latin maxim means no man can be vexed twice for the same cause. It means a person cannot be punished twice for the same crime.

2. Interest Republicae It Sit Finas Litituim:

This second Latin maxim means a person who has an interest in the state should end the litigation. The meaning of it is that a person should not initiate the same case twice if a proper judgment is given.

3. Re Judicata Pro Veritate Occipitur:

This third Latin maxim means a judicial decision should be accepted as correct. It means that the court’s decision should be considered as final by the citizens of the country.

Section.11 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 is Res Judicata. For applying Res Judicata, there should be the following conditions:

1. The claim should be the same.

2.  There should be exactly two parties in the suit.

The court would not hear two cases under the following conditions:

The Titles are the same.  
The parties are the same.  
The matter or the issue is the same.  
The case was heard by a competent court.  
The judgment is made by a competent court.  

It should be noted that an appeal should also not be made if the above conditions are met. It means a matter adjudged, a thing which is judicially acted upon or decided upon a matter or a thing settled by the judgment.

In [1]Ashok Kumar V. National Insurance Company, it was stated that no man can be convicted for the same offences two times.  In the [2]Satyadhyan Ghoshal V. Deorojin Debi case, the plaintiff has applied for an appeal after a proper judgment. The court has stated that there should be no past and future litigation when the question of fact or law is the same. The appeal was dismissed. It was stated also that if a time gets barred according to the Indian limitation act then also appeal should not be made. In [3]Daryo Singh V. State of Uttar Pradesh, it was stated that if an appeal is made for a writ petition of Habeas Corpus under Article.32 and 226 of the Indian constitution is filed. Habeas Corpus in a literal sense means submitting the body. A person should appear before the court if Habeas Corpus is filed.

The doctrine of Res Sub Judice is under Section.10 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908. It bars the institution of the trial in the second trial. The doctrine of Res sub judice prevents the courts from hearing the same trial twice. In Indian Bank V. Maharashtra state corporation and federation Limited, it states that a court cannot hear the issue twice which is a waste of time. In [4]Sunil Kumar Mondal and others V. Jitendra Kumar Das, it was stated that it is frustrating to hear the same case twice. In Krishna Bihar Mishra V. Additional district and Session case, it was that the civil case should be pending in the same court or any other civil court in the country. Section.10 of the Civil procedure code would not apply to cases in a different forum. The same principle was applied in many cases such as [5]Vee Cee Yes Grantees V. Central Bank of India, Chennai and [6]Bherural Bhatt V. Kamal Singh.

Res Judicata and Res Sub Judice have many similarities but the following are the differences:

DifferencesRes JudicataRes Sub Judice
SectionsSection.11 of the Civil Procedure Code.Section.10 of the Civil Procedure Code.
StagesThis doctrine is applied for the cases already decided.This doctrine is applied for the pending cases.
ForumAppeals are not allowed.The forum should be the same.


Res Judicata and Res Sub Judice are similar concepts but not the same. Both the doctrines are applied to prevent the court from hearing the same case twice. The basic difference between the two is that Res Judictata is applied for the already decided cases whereas the other doctrine is for the pending case. The question is whether the opportunity to hear is taken away from them. The answer is no as the opportunity is already given. The judiciary is already loaded with cases and these types of the remedy are needed to prevent further burden.


Major Source:

Law and statutes:

1. Civil procedure code, 1908;

2. The Constitution of India;

[1] DL 1PB 8942;

[2]  AIR (1955) CAL 98;

[3] SC (1962) 1621;

[4]  W.p. no. 21608 (W) of 2013;

[5] (2001) 2 MLJ 392;

[6]  (2001( 1 Ren CJ488;