Doctrine of Res Sub-judice Under Civil Procedure Code

Doctrine of Res Sub-judice Under Civil Procedure Code

This article on ‘Doctrine of Res Sub-judice Under Civil Procedure Code‘ was written by an intern at Legal Upanishad.


This article discusses the res sub-judice doctrine enshrined in the Civil Procedure Code, which is designed to prevent multiple lawsuits against the same parties. This article sets forth the various circumstances that must be met for a particular scenario to fall within the scope of this idea. Related landmark decisions, basic principles, and the ideal will also be discussed. In addition, topics such as ‘Will this Principle apply in foreign courts? Under what circumstances does this doctrine does not apply?’ and also, the part of Section 151 that relates to the consolidation of actions will also be addressed.

Doctrine of Res Sub-Judice

Hindu law involves the notion of res sub-judice. It was often referred to as Purva Nyaya, which translates to “previous judgement “[1] “Res” refers to something that is “under the contemplation of a judge or court,”[2] which is what “Sub judice” signifies. If the same parties file multiple cases with the same purpose in different courts, the trial in one court may be stayed under the res sub-judice principle. This concept was conceived to prevent the accumulation of court cases. The Civil Procedure Code of 1908 does not precisely define Res sub-judice. 

The Objective of this Doctrine[3]

  • The Doctrine reduces the number and overlap of cases in same-level courts, lowering their workload.
  • From the parties’ perspective, it prevents unnecessary harassment due to filing the same case in various courts. They wouldn’t have to appear in two parallel cases in concurrent courts.
  • This Doctrine protects the courts’ proper functioning. Unlike other codes or statutes, it clearly states whether proceedings shall be held in court. 

Conditions/Components necessary for the doctrine to apply.[4]

  • Same Parties: In both instances, the Parties or their Representatives must be identical. To utilize Section 10, the same parties need to have previously filed a lawsuit with the same title.
  • The contested issue must be the same: It is sufficient to demonstrate that the primary issues in two lawsuits are identical for section 10 to apply. This provision does not require that the reliefs be identical for it to apply.
  • The lawsuit must have already been filed: Only if a lawsuit is already in progress is Section 10 applicable: The defendant is required to inform the court regarding the other case. However, the Section does not apply if the case is still pending before a foreign court.
  • Both titles must be the same: For section 10 to apply, the titles of both cases must be identical.
  • The court should be authorized to hear the case: Section 10 of the Civil Procedure Code is only relevant if the earlier matter is currently being considered by the competent court.

The Doctrine is Irrelevant when

  • In Alimmllah v. Sheikh, “the court ruled that sub judice does not apply where the facts and issues in both lawsuits are distinct.”[5]
  • In Abdul v. Asrafun, “the court found that the principle is inapplicable where there are both separate concerns”.[6]
  • In Neeta v. Shiv Daya Kapoor and Others, “if conditions are not met, the subsequent suit must be dismissed.”
  • In Aspi Jal and Anr v. Khushroo Rustoo Dadyburjor, the “common basis between two cases is insufficient to invoke Section 10 of the Civil Procedure Code of 1908.”[7]
  • In the matter of Life Pharmaceuticals Private limited vs. Bengal Medical Hall, “a stay order might be issued with the Calcutta High Court at any point throughout the proceedings “[8]

Section 10: Does it apply to courts outside of the Foreign Courts?

Section 10 of the Civil Procedure Code is inapplicable, not foreign jurisdictions. Even if an identical case is currently pending in another nation, the Indian courts will continue with their own version.[9]

Doctrine of Res Sub-judice Under Civil Procedure Code
Doctrine of Res Sub-judice Under Civil Procedure Code

Litigation consolidation

The intent of Section 10 is to avoid two contradicting court decisions on the same issue. To prevent this from occurring, the courts may make an order to merge the two cases. “In Anurag and Company et al. v. Additional District Judge et al., it was said that Section 151 mandates the consolidation of litigation to fulfil the aims of justice since it avoids a party from suffering several lawsuits, delays, and expenses.” [10]Likewise, the parties are not compelled to submit identical evidence in two different places.

Consequences of disobedience

Any decree issued in contravention of Section 10 is not invalid and cannot be rejected in its entirety. This rule simply forbids the trial itself, not the later litigation. This privilege may, however, be relinquished by those who are given it. Therefore, if the parties to a case surrender their rights and request that the court continue with a second lawsuit, they cannot subsequently contest the legality of the ensuing proceedings.

Interim orders

Prior to the final order, interim orders are temporary, time-limited orders that are issued. A Section 10 stay order does not prohibit the court from imposing interim orders. Consequently, the courts have the authority to impose any interim orders they feel necessary, including attachments of property and injunctions.

The Hague Conference created civil procedural for worldwide international litigation.[11]

There is no worldwide standard or universal Code of Civil Procedure owing to the variations in court systems used by various nations.[12] The Hague Conference on Private International Law is an intergovernmental institution responsible for the administration of several treaties and protocols. It was established in 1893 and has 90 members at present, including India.[13]

All democratic countries that have embraced the idea of Contempt of Court in the context of “Sub Judice” in any specific court obey the doctrine of Res Sub-Judice.[14]


The idea of res sub-judice discourages a court from proceeding with a trial if the subject matter is directly or substantially identical to a previously filed action between the same parties and the court that previously filed the action has the jurisdiction to provide the desired relief. [15] This clause solely applies to the case’s trial, not the institution. It has no impact on the court’s authority to grant interim orders like injunctions or stays. However, it applies to revisions and appeals.[16]

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