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Res Judicata u/s 11 of CPC, 1908 by Mayurakshi Sarkar at Lexcliq

 Res Judicata u/s 11 of CPC, 1908 by Mayurakshi Sarkar at Lexcliq


Section 11 of the Civil Procedure Code defines the Latin maxim "Res Judicata," which means "the thing has been judged," and means that if a case is brought before the court and a previous court has already decided on the same issue, between the same parties, and involving the same cause of action, the court will dismiss the case as useless. Res Judicata is a critical term in both civil and criminal law. In accordance with Section 11 of the, no party may reopen any matter that has already been decided by a competent court. In Satyadhan Ghosal vs. Deorajin Deb, the Supreme Court correctly spelled out and followed Section 11's basic goals and operations. When a res judicata has been adjudicated, it can't be adjudicated again, according to the Principle of Res-Judicata. If a case or proceeding between two parties has been decided and the decision is final, either because no appeal was taken to a higher court or because the appeal was dismissed or no appeal lies, neither party will be allowed to canvass in a future suit or proceeding between the same parties on the basis of past litigation.


This doctrine is based on three maxims which are as follows:

  • Nemo debt bis vexari pro una et eadem causa which means no man should be vexed twice for the same cause

  • Interest reipublicae ut sit finis litium which means it is in the interest of the State there should be an end to a litigation; and

  • Res judicata pro veritate occipitur which means judicial accepted as correct.


The principle of res judicata is rooted in both public policy and individual self-interest. This doctrine is relevant to civil litigation, execution proceedings, arbitration proceedings, taxation concerns, industrial adjudication, writ petitions, administrative orders, interim orders, criminal proceedings, and so on and so forth. As a result, this philosophy does not purport to be exhaustive.

Res Judicata & Estoppel

The part of the theory of estoppel known as estoppel by record corresponds to res judicata. Section 115 of the Indian Evidence Act defines estoppel as "by behaviour or agreement or estoppel in parties," as defined by the Indian Evidence Act. This means that although if the doctrine of estoppel, in its broadest sense, includes the concept of res judicata, it must be distinguished from the Indian law of evidence's specific definition of estoppel.

The doctrine of res Judicata can be distinguished from estoppel, as generally understood, on the following grounds:

  • The rule of res judicata is based on public policy, i.e., it is to the interest of the State that there should be an end to litigation and belongs to the province of the procedure. Estoppel, on the other hand, is part of the law of evidence and proceeds on the equitable principle of altered the situation, viz., that he who, by his conduct, has induced another to alter his position to his disadvantage, cannot turn round and take advantage of such alteration of others position.

  • Res judicata precludes a man from averring the same thing in successive litigations, while estoppel prevents a party from saying two contradictory things at different times.

  • Res judicata is reciprocal and binds both the parties, while estoppel binds the party who made the previous statement or showed the previous conduct.

  • Res judicata prohibits the court from entering into an enquiry as well as to a matter already adjudicated upon; estoppel prohibits a party after the inquiry has already been entered upon, from proving anything which would contradict his own previous declaration or acts to the prejudice of another party who, relying upon these declarations or acts, has altered his position.

  • Res judicata prohibits an inquiry in timeline and bars the trial of a suit while estoppel is only a piece of evidence and emphasises that a man should not be allowed to retrace the steps already walked over.

  • Res judicata ousts the jurisdiction of the court, while estoppel shuts the mouth of a party.


The first and most important duty of all courts is to ensure that the Court's actions do not harm the parties involved. It has been said that the Court's actions will inflict no harm (actus curiae neminem gravabit). Consequently, all courts must ensure that their actions do not hurt or injure potential suitors. The Supreme Court-ordered the withdrawal of the appellant's case against him pending in a Special Judge's Court and moved it to Bombay's High Court. The appellant objected to the Bombay High Court's jurisdiction in the first place. The Court, on the other hand, rejected it.

The Supreme Court was then contacted by the appellant. Controversy erupted about whether the order may have been issued. Respondent's argument was based on res judicata. The Apex Court ruled that the appellant's fundamental rights were violated by the prior order, therefore no rule of res judicata would apply in this case.


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