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Res Judicata Is Not A Ground To Reject A Plaint Under Order VII Rule 11(d) CPC: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
9 Aug 2021 1:49 PM GMT
Res Judicata Is Not A Ground To Reject A Plaint Under Order VII Rule 11(d) CPC: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that the Res Judicata cannot be a ground for rejection of the plaint under Order VII Rule 11(d) of the Code of Civil Procedure."Since an adjudication of the plea of res judicata requires consideration of the pleadings, issues and decision in the 'previous suit', such a plea will be beyond the scope of Order 7 Rule 11 (d), where only the statements in the plaint...

The Supreme Court observed that the Res Judicata cannot be a ground for rejection of the plaint under Order VII Rule 11(d) of the Code of Civil Procedure.

"Since an adjudication of the plea of res judicata requires consideration of the pleadings, issues and decision in the 'previous suit', such a plea will be beyond the scope of Order 7 Rule 11 (d), where only the statements in the plaint will have to be perused.", the bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah observed.

In the suit filed by the plaintiff, the defendant filed an application for rejection of plaint under Order 7 Rule 11 of the CPC on the ground that the suit was barred by res judicata as the grounds relating to the validity of the sale deed and the issue of title were raised in the previous suit. The Trial Court, while rejecting this application held that the issue as to whether the suit is barred by res judicata cannot be decided in an Order 7 Rule 11 application but has to be decided in the suit. The High Court dismissed the Revision Petition filed against the order of the Trial Court.

In appeal, the bench noted that the Order 7 Rule 11(d) of CPC provides that the plaint shall be rejected "where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law".

Hence, in order to decide whether the suit is barred by any law, it is the statement in the plaint which will have to be construed. The Court while deciding such an application must have due regard only to the statements in the plaint. Whether the suit is barred by any law must be determined from the statements in the plaint and it is not open to decide the issue on the basis of any other material including the written statement in the case.

The court also referred to various decisions on the aspect of res judicata including Soumitra Kumar Sen v. Shyamal Kumar Sen,  Kamala & others v. KT Eshwara Shakti Bhog Food Industries Ltd. v. Central Bank of India and observed as follows:

(i) To reject a plaint on the ground that the suit is barred by any law, only the averments in the plaint will have to be referred to;

(ii) The defense made by the defendant in the suit must not be considered while deciding the merits of the application;

(iii) To determine whether a suit is barred by res judicata, it is necessary that (i) the 'previous suit' is decided, (ii) the issues in the subsequent suit were directly and substantially in issue in the former suit; (iii) the former suit was between the same parties or parties through whom they claim, litigating under the same title; and (iv) that these issues were adjudicated and finally decided by a court competent to try the subsequent suit; and

(iv) Since an adjudication of the plea of res judicata requires consideration of the pleadings, issues and decision in the 'previous suit', such a plea will be beyond the scope of Order 7 Rule 11 (d), where only the statements in the plaint will have to be perused.

Perusing the plaint, the bench observed that it does not disclose any fact to conclude that it deserves to be rejected on the ground that it is barred by principles of res judicata. While affirming the Trial Court order, the bench clarified that it has not expressed any opinion on whether the subsequent suit is barred by the principles of res judicata.

Case: Srihari Hanumandas Totala vs Hemant Vithal Kamat ; CA 4665 of 2021
Citation: LL 2021 SC 364
Coram: Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah

Click here to Read/Download Judgment


 









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