28 Jun 2023 11:00 AM GMT
The Himachal Pradesh High Court while highlighting the requirement of an identical subject matter for the application of Section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) on Tuesday emphasized that the words "directly and substantially in issue" should be interpreted in contrast to matters that are merely "incidental or collateral". Justice Sandeep Sharma made this exposition in response to...
The Himachal Pradesh High Court while highlighting the requirement of an identical subject matter for the application of Section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) on Tuesday emphasized that the words "directly and substantially in issue" should be interpreted in contrast to matters that are merely "incidental or collateral".
Justice Sandeep Sharma made this exposition in response to an application filed by the Petitioner seeking a stay on a civil suit filed by the Respondent pending before Civil Judge Chamba.
The case before the court involved a civil suit filed by the Respondent in the High Court of Delhi, seeking partition of properties, including those in Dalhousie district of Chamba. The Respondent also requested a declaration that she is a joint share holder of the estate left behind by late Col. Pindi Dass Chopra.
Meanwhile, the Respondent filed another suit in the court of the Civil Judge, Dalhousie, seeking a declaration that she is legal heir of Pindi Dass Chopra. The plaintiff also challenged the validity of a will and subsequent lease related to the properties.
In response to the latter suit, the Petitioner filed an application under Section 10 CPC, requesting a stay on the proceedings in Dalhousie. The Petitioner argued that the issues raised in the Delhi suit were directly and substantially in issue in the suit filed at Dalhousie, and thus, a stay should be granted. However, the Civil Judge, Dalhousie, dismissed the application, prompting the Petitioner to approach the Himachal Pradesh High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.
After consideration of the facts and arguments, Justice Sharma observed that while the suit property in Dalhousie was the same as that mentioned in the Delhi suit, the reliefs sought in the two suits differed.
"This court finds that suit property detailed in latter suit filed at Dalhousie is same as given in former suit by her in Delhi High court but in latter suit, reliefs as have been sought by plaintiff in former suit at Delhi have not been pressed rather, fresh prayer for declaring Will dated 25.7.1985 allegedly executed by Pindi Dass null and void has been also made", the bench noted.
Observing that the Respondent in the latter suit had specifically prayed for the nullification of a different will and subsequent lease, which were not raised in the former suit, the court said Section 10 CPC would apply only when there is an identity of the entire subject matter in both suits, with the matters in issue being directly and substantially the same.
Referring to National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Science v. C. Parameshwara (2005) 2 SCC 256, the court emphasized that Section 10 CPC is intended to prevent courts of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously trying two parallel suits involving the same matter in issue. The court reiterated that the words "directly and substantially in issue" are used in contrast to "incidentally or collaterally in issue." Therefore, Section 10 CPC applies only if there is an identity of the entire subject matter in both proceedings, the bench explained.
Based on this interpretation, the court concluded that the latter suit filed by the plaintiff at Dalhousie was not barred by Section 10 CPC. Since the Delhi High Court had not framed any issue regarding the legality of the will in question and subsequent lease, these matters were not directly and substantially in issue before that court, the bench underscored.
Consequently, the court upheld the order of the Civil Judge, Dalhousie, dismissing the defendant's application and directed the parties to appear before the lower court to proceed with the matter.
Case Title: Ashok Lal Chopra Vs Mrs. Kiran Kapoor and others
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (HP) 46
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