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Res judicata – (sHORT notes)

June 14, 2021


  1. Introduction – Res and res judicata
  2. Res judicata – How to operate?
  3. What is necessary to constitute Res judicata?
  4. Legal Maxims
  5. Constructive Res judicata – Sec. 11 CPC – Explanation – IV
  6. Case- Law

IntroductionRes and res judicata — The literal meaning of “res” is “everything that may form an object of rights and includes an object, subject-matter or status” and “res judicata” literally means “a matter adjudged; a thing judicially acted upon or decided; a thing or matter settled by judgments”, Subramanian Swamy v. State of T.N.(2014) 5 SCC 75. A point already decided by authority. A matter which is res judicata cannot be further gone into; but if the decision was obtained by fraud it can be set aside as was held in Cole v. Langford, (1898) 2 QB 36.

Res judicataHow to operate?:-

In order to operate as res judicata, the finding must be such that it disposes of a matter that is directly and substantially in issue in the former suit and that the said issue must have been heard and finally decided by the court trying such suit. A matter which is collaterally or incidentally in issue for the purpose of deciding a matter which is directly in issue in the case, cannot be made the basis for a plea of res judicata, Ramji Gupta v. Gopi Krishan Agrawal(2013) 9 SCC 438: (2013) 4 SCC (Civ) 391. 

What is necessary to constitute Res judicata?

 In order to constitute res judicata, it is enough if the issue has been heard and finally decided and it is not necessary that the decision of the issue should have been the basis of the decree provided that such decision is not wholly inconsistent with the decree or with any other finding which is the basis of the decree and which nullifies its effect and provided also that the Court intended to give a final decision on the issue. The principle that the doctrine of res jud cata should be strictly and guardedly applied means only that when a former decision is relied on as res judicata it and its contents should be strictly proved and mere ambiguous passages in the judgment should not be pressed in favour of the party claiming res judicata in his favour, T.R. Ramakrishna Naidu v. S.V. Krishnasami Naidu, (1919) 9 LW 180 (Mad) (DB).  

Legal Maxims:

Nemo debet lis vexari pro una et eadem casua‘ which means that ‘No man should be vexed twice for the same cause’.

Interest republicae ut sit finis litium‘ :- it is in the interest of the State, that ‘There should be an end to litigation’.

Res judicata pro veritate accipitur :- A matter adjudicated is taken for truth (Co. Lit. 103), Kunjan Nair Sivaraman Nair v. Narayanan Nair(2004) 3 SCC 277: AIR 2004 SC 1761: (2004) 1 KLT 1082: (2004) 2 CHN 107. 2. Res judicata is accepted for truthSubramanian Swamy v. State of T.N.(2014) 5 SCC 75.

Res judicata facit ex albo nigrum, ex nigro album, ex curvo rectum, ex recto curvum :- A thing adjudged makes white, black; black, white; the crooked, straight; the straight, crooked. See. 1 Bouv. Inst. note 840.

Constructive Res judicata – Sec. 11 CPC – Explanation – IV

This legal concept is explained by the the Judicial Committee in Government of the Province of Bombay v. Rustomji Adheshir Wadia62 LW 444 P.C. There are other important old cases to understand this principle of constructive res judicata such as Cases like  (AIR 1942 Oudh 354 : AIR 1941 Cal 574), 24 Cal 711, 9 Bom. L.R. 1020 : 15 Cal 800, AIR 1917 Lah 19, AIR 1934 Mad 563, AIR 1941 Nag 346 .


  1. Romesh Thappar v. State of MadrasAIR 1950 SC 124
  2. Alka Gupta v. Narender Kumar Gupta, (2010) 10 SCC 141
  3. Maharashtra Vikrikar Karamchari Sangatha …, (2000) 2 SCC 552
  4. State of Rajasthan v. Shankar Lal Parmar, (2011) 14 SCC 235
  5. Basappa v. Nagappa, AIR 1954 SC 440
  6. Election Commission of India v. Saka Venkata RaoAIR 1953 SC 210 at 212
  7. H.V. Kamath v. Ahmad IshaqueAIR 1955 SC 233
  8. State of U.P.v. Dr. Vijey AnandAIR 1963 SC 946
  9. Ujjam Bai v. State of U.P.AIR 1962 SC 1621
  10. Niranjan Singh v. State of M.P.(1972) 2 SCC 542
  11. Ghulam Sarwar v. Union of IndiaAIR 1967 SC 1335
  12. Gulabchand Chhotalal Parikh v. State of …, (1965) 2 SCR 547
  13. State of T.N. v. State of Kerala, (2014) 12 SCC 696
  14. State of Rajasthan v. Nemi Chand Mahela, (2019) 14 SCC 179
  15. U.P. SRTC v. State of U.P., (2005) 1 SCC 444

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