11. Res judicata.
No Court shall try any suit or issue in which the matter directly and substantially in issue has been directly and substantially in issue in a former suit between the same parties, or between parties under whom they or any of them claim, litigating under the same title, in a Court competent to try such subsequent suit or the suit in which such issue has been subsequently raised, and has been heard and finally decided by such Court.
Explanation I- The expression “former suit” shall denote a suit which has been decided prior to the suit in question whether or not it was instituted prior thereto.
Explanation II.- For the purposes of this section, the competence of a Court shall be determined irrespective of any provisions as to a right of appeal from the decision of such Court.
Explanation III.- The matter above referred to must in the former suit have been alleged by one party and either denied or admitted, expressly or impliedly, by the other.
Explanation IV.- Any matter which might and ought to have been made ground of defence or attack in such former suit shall be deemed to have been a matter directly and substantially in issue in such suit.
Explanation V.- Any relief claimed in the plaint, which is not expressly granted by the decree, shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to have been refused.
Explanation VI- Where persons litigate bona fide in respect of public right or of a private right claimed in common for themselves and others, all persons interested in such right shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to claim under the persons so litigating.
[Explanation VII.- The provisions of this section shall apply to a proceeding for the execution of a decree and reference in this section to any suit, issue or former suit shall be construed as references, respectively, to proceedings for the execution of the decree, question arising in such proceeding and a former proceeding for the execution of that decree.
Explanation VIII.-An issue heard and finally decided by a Court of limited jurisdiction, competent to decide such issue, shall operate as res judicata in as subsequent suit, notwithstanding that such Court of limited jurisdiction was not competent to try such subsequent suit or the suit in which such issue has been subsequently raised.]
(i) The principle of res judicata is a procedural provision. A jurisdictional question if wrongly decided would not attract the principles of res judicata. When an order is passed without jurisdiction, the same becomes a nullity. When an order is a nullity, it cannot be supported by invoking procedural principle; Management of Sonepat Co-op. Sugar Mills Ltd. v. Ajit Singh, AIR 2005 SC 1050.
(ii) There is a distinction between issue estoppel and res judicata. Res judicata debars a court from exercising its jurisdiction to determine the lis if it has attained finality whereas the doctrine of issue estoppel is invoked against the party. If such issue is decided against him, he would be estopped from raising the same in the latter proceedings. The doctrine of res judicata creats a different kind of estoppel viz. estoppel by Accord; Bhanu Kumar Jain v. Archana Kumar, AIR 2005 SC 626.
(iii) First writ petition filed on the ground of apprehended bias and subsequent second petition was filed on allegations of actual bias, is not barred by res judicata; G.N. Nayak v. Goa University, AIR 2002 SC 790.
(iv) Section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure has no doubt some technical aspects for instance the rule of constructive res judicata may be said to be technical but the basis of which the said rule rests is founded on the consideration of public policy; Sumer Mal v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 2000 Raj 1.
(v) The technical principle of res judicata would not be operative more so, if substantial change in circumstances is averred and found prima facie justified; Smt. Rehana Parveen v. Naimuddin, AIR 2000 MP 1.
(vi) Assuming, the cause of action in both the suits was based upon title in the suit land and was akin in all the cases, yet, as referred to above, in as much the earlier two suits were dismissed as withdrawn with permission to file fresh on the same cause of action, third suit will not be barred by any principle of law; Harbhagwan v. Smt. Punni Devi, AIR 1999 P&H 223.
(vii) Where the Sangh has been duly represented in the previous court proceedings and were litigating bona fidely which resulted in failure cannot be allowed to lay any objection in execution or to plead nullity of decree hence doctrine of res judicata applies. The decree of ejectment will bind every member of Sangh; Singhai Lal Chand Jain v. Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh, Panna, JT 1996(3) SC 64.
1. Ins. by Act No. 104 of 1976, sec. 6 (w.e.f. 1-2-1977).