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Question: 'A' Claiming to be a landlord sues the tenant 'B' for recovery of rent. 'B' takes the plea that ‘A' is not the landlord. 'A' fail to prove his title and the suit is dismissed. ‘A' then sues 'B' and one 'C' for a declaration of his title to the property. Decide. Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. ['A' Claiming to be a landlord sues the tenant 'B' for recovery of rent. 'B' takes the plea that ‘A' is not the landlord. 'A' fail to prove his title and...

Question:  'A' Claiming to be a landlord sues the tenant 'B' for recovery of rent. 'B' takes the plea that ‘A' is not the landlord. 'A' fail to prove his title and the suit is dismissed. ‘A' then sues 'B' and one 'C' for a declaration of his title to the property. Decide.

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. ['A' Claiming to be a landlord sues the tenant 'B' for recovery of rent. 'B' takes the plea that ‘A' is not the landlord. 'A' fail to prove his title and the suit is dismissed. ‘A' then sues 'B' and one 'C' for a declaration of his title to the property. Decide.]

Answer

Section 11 of the code of Civil Procedure, 1908[1], embodies the rule of res judicata or the rule of conclusiveness of the judgment, as to the points decided either of facts, or of law, or of facts and law, in every subsequent suit between the same parties. It enacts that once a matter is finally decided by a competent Court, no party can be permitted to reopen it in a subsequent litigation.

The principle of res judicata is based on the need to give a finality to judicial decisions. What it says is that once a res is judicata, it shall not be adjudged again.

In Daryao v. State of U.P.,  AIR 1961 SC 1457, the Court observed that the binding character of judgments pronounced by Courts of competent jurisdiction is itself an essential part of the rule of law, and the rule of law obviously is the basis of the administration of justice on which the Constitution lays so much emphasis. The Court thus held that the rule of res judicata applies also to a petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution and if a petition filed by a petitioner in the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution is dismissed on merits, such decision would operate as res judicata so as to bar a similar petition in the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution.

To constitute a matter as res judicata under Section 11, certain conditions need to be fulfilled, which were laid down in Sheodan Singh v. Daryao Kunwar, AIR 1966 SC 1332 at p. 1334:

1. The matter directly and substantially in issue in the subsequent suit or issue must be the same matter which was directly and substantially in issue either actually (Explanation III) or constructively (Explanation IV) in the former suit (Explanation I).

2. The former suit must have been a suit between the same parties or between parties under whom they or any of them claim.

3. Such parties must have been litigating under the same title in the former suit.

4. The Court which decided the former suit must be a Court competent to try the subsequent suit or the suit in which such issue is subsequently raised.

5. The matter directly and substantially in issue in the subsequent suit must have been heard and finally decided by the Court in the former suit.

The second condition of res judicata is that the former suit must have been a suit between the same parties or between the parties under whom they or any of them claim. This condition recognises the general principle of law that judgments and decrees bind the parties and privies. Therefore, when the parties in the subsequent suit are different from the former suit, there is no res judicata.

For example, A sues B for rent. B contends that C and not A is the landlord. A fails to prove his title and the suit is dismissed. A then sues B and C for a declaration of his title to the property. The suit is not barred as the parties in both suits are not the same.

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Mayank Shekhar

Mayank Shekhar

Mayank is an alumnus of the prestigious Faculty of Law, Delhi University. Under his leadership, Legal Bites has been researching and developing resources through blogging, educational resources, competitions, and seminars.

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