What is ‘Res Sub Judice’ and ‘Res Judicata’? A Comprehensive FAQ Guide

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Why is Understanding ‘Res Sub Judice’ and ‘Res Judicata’ Important in Legal Practice?

Navigating through the complex maze of civil litigation requires an adept understanding of various legal principles, doctrines, and procedures. Among these, the doctrines of ‘Res Sub Judice’ and ‘Res Judicata’ hold a paramount position. These doctrines serve as linchpins to prevent abuse of legal processes and ensure the efficient administration of justice. This article seeks to demystify these legal concepts through an FAQ-based approach, thereby illuminating their significance, legal provisions, applicability, and impact on ongoing litigations.

What is Res Sub Judice?

What Exactly is the Concept of ‘Res Sub Judice’?

The term ‘Res Sub Judice’ is derived from Latin, where Res means matter and Sub Judice means under consideration by a Judge or Court. In essence, the doctrine aims to prevent Courts from adjudicating cases in which the issue or subject matter is already under examination by another Court. It serves to avert conflicting judgments on the same matter, thereby preserving the sanctity of judicial proceedings.

Legal Provisions

Under Which Legal Provision is ‘Res Sub Judice’ Discussed in the Indian Context?

In the Indian jurisdiction, the doctrine of ‘Res Sub Judice’ is embedded in Section 10 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) of 1908. The Section explicitly lays down the conditions and prerequisites for its applicability, primarily focusing on avoiding multiple litigations on identical matters.

Purpose and Objective

Why is the Doctrine of ‘Res Sub Judice’ Implemented in Legal Proceedings?

The doctrine aims to prevent the multiplicity of judicial proceedings. It conserves judicial resources and fosters the principle that no individual should be vexed twice for the same cause. The objective is to uphold the principle of judicial propriety and consistency.

What is Res Judicata?

What Does the Term ‘Res Judicata’ Mean in Legal Parlance?

Derived from Latin, where ‘Res’ means the matter, and ‘Judicata’ means adjudicated, the doctrine of ‘Res Judicata’ signifies that a matter that has been judicially determined by a competent court shall not be re-litigated. It establishes the finality and conclusiveness of a judicial decision relative to the parties or issues involved.

Legal Provisions

Which Section of the Civil Procedure Code Talks About ‘Res Judicata’?

In India, Section 11 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 enshrines the doctrine of ‘Res Judicata’. This legal provision outlines various scenarios and conditions under which a matter that has been previously adjudicated cannot be brought back before the Court.

Purpose and Objective

What Aims Does the Doctrine of ‘Res Judicata’ Seek to Achieve?

Res Judicata aims to uphold the finality of judgments and to ensure that parties do not misuse judicial resources by repeatedly litigating the same issues. This, in turn, fortifies the rule of law and strengthens the legal system.

How are Res Sub Judice and Res Judicata Related to Each Other?

What is the Relationship Between ‘Res Sub Judice’ and ‘Res Judicata’?

At a cursory glance, both doctrines may appear similar as they both deal with the adjudicatory powers of the court in matters that are before it or have already been decided. However, their application and consequences differ markedly. While ‘Res Sub Judice’ is forward-looking and deals with matters currently under adjudication, ‘Res Judicata’ is retrospective, dealing with issues that have already been conclusively decided.

What are the Key Differences Between Res Sub Judice and Res Judicata?

How Do ‘Res Sub Judice’ and ‘Res Judicata’ Differ in Their Application and Objective?

  1. Stage of Litigation: ‘Res Sub Judice’ applies when the matter is under consideration in ongoing litigation. In contrast, ‘Res Judicata’ applies after the final judgment has been rendered.
  2. Objective: ‘Res Sub Judice’ aims to prevent conflicting judgments on the same issue by multiple courts. ‘Res Judicata’ aims to prevent the same parties from re-litigating the same issue.
  3. Legal Provisions: As previously mentioned, ‘Res Sub Judice’ is codified under Section 10 of the CPC, whereas ‘Res Judicata’ is covered under Section 11 of the same Code.

Can Res Sub Judice and Res Judicata be Applied Together?

Is There a Scenario Where Both ‘Res Sub Judice’ and ‘Res Judicata’ are Applicable?

In practice, both doctrines are seldom applied simultaneously due to their divergent objectives and temporal scopes. However, in complex cases involving multiple parties, multiple issues, or multiple jurisdictions, both doctrines might be invoked to guide the court’s adjudicatory process.

Are There Exceptions to Res Sub Judice and Res Judicata?

What Are the Exceptions Where These Doctrines Don’t Apply?

There are, indeed, exceptions to both doctrines. For instance, ‘Res Sub Judice’ will not apply if the subsequent suit is brought by a different party or if it pertains to a different matter. Similarly, ‘Res Judicata’ won’t apply in cases of lack of jurisdiction or if the earlier judgment was obtained by fraud or collusion.

How Do These Doctrines Impact Ongoing Cases?

Can ‘Res Sub Judice’ and ‘Res Judicata’ Influence the Outcome of Pending Cases?

Yes, these doctrines can significantly impact pending cases. For example, if a matter is ‘Sub Judice,’ any parallel proceedings on the same issue would be liable for dismissal. On the other hand, if a case involves matters already settled through a final judgment (‘Res Judicata’), a new lawsuit on the same issue could be dismissed at the outset.

What are the Landmark Judgments Concerning Res Sub Judice and Res Judicata?

Which Case Laws Have Significantly Shaped the Understanding of ‘Res Sub Judice’ and ‘Res Judicata’?

  1. For Res Sub Judice: In the Indian context, the case of Deva Ram v. Ishwar Chand (AIR 1995 SC 1355) serves as a seminal judgment where the principles underlying the doctrine of Res Sub Judice were expounded in detail.
  2. For Res Judicata: The case of Satyadhyan Ghosal and Ors. v. Smt. Deorajin Debi and Anr. (AIR 1960 SC 941) stands as a watershed moment in interpreting and understanding the ambit of Res Judicata under Indian law. The Supreme Court underscored that the doctrine is not merely a procedural statute but embodies a fundamental concept of adjudication.
  3. For Both Doctrines: In the landmark case Sulochana Amma v. Narayanan Nair (AIR 1994 SC 152), the interplay between Res Judicata and Res Sub Judice was discussed, illustrating the doctrines’ nuanced application.


Why is a Deep Understanding of These Concepts Important for Legal Practitioners?

The doctrines of ‘Res Sub Judice’ and ‘Res Judicata’ serve as cornerstones of procedural law. They aim to strike a balance between the individual’s right to seek justice and society’s need for finality in legal matters. For legal practitioners, particularly those specializing in civil litigation, understanding the nuances of these doctrines is crucial. It not only enhances litigation strategy but also enables lawyers to better serve their clients by avoiding procedural pitfalls and ensuring effective use of judicial resources.

In closing, ‘Res Sub Judice’ and ‘Res Judicata’ are not merely legalese or archaic doctrines but vital principles that fortify the legal system, affirm the rule of law, and ensure the efficient administration of justice. Familiarity with these principles is essential for any law professional aiming to excel in the domain of litigation.

By comprehensively addressing these key aspects, this FAQ guide aims to serve as a handy resource for law students, legal practitioners, and anyone interested in understanding the complexities surrounding ‘Res Sub Judice’ and ‘Res Judicata.’

One thought on “What is ‘Res Sub Judice’ and ‘Res Judicata’? A Comprehensive FAQ Guide”

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