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Res implies the subject matter that has been enumerated in each of the particular cases instituted before any of the Hon’ble Court situated within the territories of India. The Latin translation for “Judice” is Judge or something which is already in consideration. The meaning of Res Sub Judice is a matter which is already pending at a trial stage before the courts situated in the territory of India. The primary aim of such a principle is to prevent the multiplicity of proceedings and limit the litigating parties to one cause of action instituted in one specific court of law. The doctrine of Res Judicata is one of the oldest followed and determined principles in the entire world. The Latin maxim for Res Judicata is Res Judicata pro veritate accipitur which translates into a matter which has already been decided by a competent court stands to be legally binding and is taken to be righteous.

Res Judicata and Res Sub Judice are one of the oldest followed doctrines and principles in the entire world. These doctrines were formulated when law origins started outsourcing and developing customs, and respect was sought to the legally codified statutes. Earlier in England, the courts were disserted and as well as disheartened because of the fact that the concept of Res Judicata and Res Sub Judice was not farther developed and was only in its origins. But after these doctrines of staying the suit have developed, a large part of courts have relied upon existing judgments as precedents and as well as where a suit has been already filed for the same matter, then treating it as Res Sub Judice and Res Judicata.

Indian Legal System, deriving its authority from both common law and as well as civil law, has efficiently established and developed the concept of Res Sub Judice and as well as Res Judicata creating an obligation for the court and also reducing the burden of the existing pendency of cases in the Indian Hierarchy of Courts.


Meaning of Suit

“Suit” has not been particularly and specifically defined anywhere in the Civil Procedure Code, but it has been in numerous precedents such as that of Hansraj Gupta & Ors. v. Official Liquidators of the Dehradun-Mussoorie Electric Tramway Co. Ltd.,[i] and also in the case of Pandurang Ramchandra v. Shantabai Ramchandra,[ii] the Hon’ble Apex Court of the country observed that the word suit, when construed literally means that any such trial of a case in which an individual possesses a cause of action and claims a remedy for the violation of such legal rights.

Section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908

Section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides for the doctrine of Res Sub Judice and specifies various conditions in which the principle of Res Sub Judice can be well highlighted by the Hon’ble Court where the proceeding has been filed. 

Section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, provides for the following procedures and conditions in which the suit can be directly dismissed by the courts having the competent jurisdiction, they are:

  • The Matter in Issue is Similar as to the Previously Instituted Suit: This is an element of the particular provision wherein the court is explicitly satisfied that the parties claiming under the title are similar and the matter in issue, which is a reason for dispute between the parties, is directly or indirectly similar to any previously instituted suit. Therefore, if the elements of the civil suit are similar to any previously instituted suit, the parties shall be restricted to file a subsequent suit.
  • Matter Directly and Substantially in Issue: This is also an element that needs to be satisfied in a suit in order for it to be hit by Res Sub Judice. In this particular element, the suit which has been previously and subsequently instituted, is similar with respect to the matter in issue and there is no subsequent intervention between both of the suits.
  • The parties are similar to a previously instituted suit.
  • The parties are claiming in the same title.
  • A subsequent suit has been filed where the previous suit is pending before a court.
  • Both of the suits have been filed in a competent jurisdiction.

In the case of Neeta v. Shiv Dayal Kapoor & Ors,[iii] it was herein observed that wherein the fundamental elements of above-stated provision are not fulfilled, the parties cannot be restricted to follow the doctrine of Res Sub Judice.

In the case of Manohar Lal v. Seth Hiralal, [iv] it was herein observed by the Hon’ble Court that Section 10 leaves no discretion on the part of the Court, and therefore is a mandatory provision required to be performed.


Following are the reasons for enumerating the principle of Res Sub Judice into the purest form of codified civil statutes:

  • To prevent the multiplicity of proceedings.
  • To avoid the issuance of two clashing decrees on the same matter in issue.
  • To strike the petitioner or plaintiff to a single course of litigation and a single judgment.


Res Judicata is a concept that is well elaborated and discussed under Section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. Res implies for a thing and Judicata implies that it has already been adjudicated upon. Therefore, the meaning of Res Judicata is a matter in issue which is already adjudicated by a former court in a former proceeding filed before it. This concept is also known as “Bar to Re-litigation”.’

Following are some of the essentials which are needed to be fulfilled in order for a subsequent suit to be barred because of Res Judicata:

  • A subsequent existing suit.
  • Same matter in issue as to the previous suit.
  • Same parties as to the previous suit.
  • Parties claim under the same title as to the previous suit,
  • The judgment in the former suit had already been adjudicated upon and is not against any principles of natural justice.

Therefore, for a subsequent suit to be barred by the filing of a former suit, these criterion needs to be fulfilled. There are three maxims which govern the Doctrine of Res Judicata, they are:

  • Nemo Debet Lis Vaxari Pro Eadem Causa: This Latin maxim implies that no individual shall be detrimental to his wrongdoings for more than once. This principle is also vested under Article 20 clause 2 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Interest Republicae Ut Sit Finis Litium: This maxim implies that it is in the best interest of the state and the individuals that the parties claiming under a litigating matter are stricken to one course of litigation suit.
  • Res Judicata Pro Veritate Occipitur: This maxim means that when a matter has been adjudicated upon, it shall be duly complied with by the parties to prevent a clash of opinions by other courts.


Cause of action is sought to be the fruit of the suit. However, in certain circumstances the parties claiming a specific remedy may be barred from doing so because of mostly opinionated and legal factors. There has always been a pendency of cases in India, and such doctrines of Res Judicata and Res Sub Judice do justice to any pending court which has been repeated. A repeated or continuous suit sought on the same matter may also attract a number of opinions, which in fact is directly proportional to the amount of clash between the judges of different courts adjudicating upon the matter.

Res Judicata and Res Sub Judice are evolving day by day as concepts and doctrines, to ensure that the respected courts do not misuse or decay their precious times, the parties should be stricken to one adjudicated matter. However, appeal and revisions can be treated differently from the matter which is already adjudicated and one party is allowed to file the same in any case subjective of their choices. Res Judicata and Res Sub Judice were created for the betterment of Indian Courts and to ensure that parties also don’t improvidence their cherished time.

Author(s) Name: Anshit Minocha (UPES, Dehradun)


[i] AIR 1935 All 995.

[ii] AIR 1989 SC 2240.

[iii] (2012) Revision (Civil) No. 998/2012.

[iv] AIR 1962 SC 527.