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ABSTRACT: Res judicata shall prevent another trial on the merits, in order to remove the possible

operative parts of the judgments. Res judicata works when the second trial raises an issue settled
a previous judgment. The assumption does not require any Identification of movements, just
legitimate issues in question, with the goal that the judgment of the second trial does not stop, yet
moves the trouble of verification. Its essential is - "One suit and one decision is sufficient for any
single dispute". The standard of 'res judicata' does not rely on the effectiveness or the error of the
previous decision. It is a guideline of law by which a matter which has been prosecuted can't be
re-disputed between the same parties. This is known as the principle of "res judicata" (thing
decided).The concept of Res Judicata and its applicability in Courts. The concept of constructive
Res Judicata also deals. The principle of res judicata is based on the need to give finality and
certainty to judicial decisions. The applicability of the doctrine of Res Judicata in Administrative


In order to provide flexibilities to the administrative process, through the principle analogous to
res judicata does not apply to administrative jurisdiction,1 yet this principle has been firmly
grounded in the area of public law review as a matter of public policy. If a petition has been heard
and dismissed, the same petition on the same ground cannot be filed in the same court again. The
principle of res judicata also applies in cases for the enforcement of fundamental rights. A person
is free to reach the High court or the Supreme Court for the enforcement of this fundamental rights.
If such a person has made a choice of the forum and his petition has been heard and dismissed or
accepted, he cannot agitate the same matter before another court in a writ proceeding. But if the
petition has been dismissed otherwise than on merits, the person may file a fresh writ in another
forum. Therefore, if a petition under Article 136 has been dismissed in limine by Supreme Court
by a non-speaking order, it will not preclude the party from seeking the same relief under Article
226 from the High court on identical grounds. The principle of res judicata, However, does not

Ganpat ray v. ADM, (1985) 2 KB 309 (CA)
apply in the case of habeas petitions; if a habeas corpus petition has been dismissed on merits by
the high court, it can again be field in the Supreme Court.

Res Judicata as connected in the legal framework is determined in making a judgment tying to
prevent further inquiry regardless of how evident the error of law is or how clear the mix-up of
actuality are how regrettable the decision of agreement is or how shameful the handy outcomes or
how insufficient the confirmation in the record or how defectively readied the briefs and
contentions. The interest of parties and of the public in ending litigation normally bars a party who
has had his day in court from further pressing the same claims or the same defences. The parties
can alternate suit in an alternate court, simply to irritate and defame the notoriety of the inverse
gathering or can do so for appropriating compensation twice from the two other courts. Thus,
simply to avert such over-burdens, Res Judicata holds an enormous obligation and criticalness.

Res Judicata, it is evolved from the English Common Law framework, being inferred from the
overriding notion of legal economy, consistency, and conclusion. From the normal law, it got
incorporated in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and which was later in general was embraced
by the Indian lawful framework. From the Civil Procedure Code, the Administrative Law
witnesses its relevance. At that point, gradually yet consistently alternate acts and statutes
additionally began to concede the notion of Res Judicata inside its ambit. The Doctrine of Res
Judicata might be seen as something which limits the either parties to "move the clock again"
throughout the pendency of the processes. The reach out of Res Judicata is quite wide and it
incorporates a considerable measure of things. This idea is appropriate even outside the Code of
Civil Procedure and spreads a ton of areas which are identified with the social order and
individuals. The degree and the extent have broadened with the progression of time and the
Supreme Court has stretched the areas with its judgments.

Basically, we know that the work or the role played by the Administrative Law is that of a watch
dog. The Doctrine of Res Judicata is applicable to the Code of Civil Procedure. But, at times, in
many other statutes there is a use of the doctrine The Administrative Law sees that there is no use
of power which has a malicious intention. The Administrative Law is there to see that there is an
improvement in the society without any hurdles and the administration performs its duty in an
honest manner .In Administrative Law, the use of this doctrine is that, it administers as to how
well the Judiciary does its work, how efficiently the Judiciary disposes off the case and the doctrine
makes itself applicable where there is more than one petition filed in the same or in the other court
of India .The parties can file another suit in another court, just to harass and malign the reputation
of the opposite party or can do so for receiving compensation twice from the different courts.
Therefore, just to prevent such over-loads and extra cases in the court’s kitty, Res Judicata holds
a big responsibility and importance. A comparison of Res Judicata as a concept in between
Administrative Law and the other laws. In Administrative Law, the doctrine works as a working
principle and has been adopted or taken from Code of Civil Procedure. In C.P.C., Section 11 has
a big role to be played in the civil courts of India. Even in International Law which is applicable
in The International Court of Justice, there too Section 38 (1) (c) is dedicated towards the doctrine
of Res Judicata.


The doctrine of res judicata is based on three maxims:

 Nemo debet bis vexari pro una et eadem causa – no man should be vexed twice for same
 Interest reipublicae ut sit finis litium- it is the interest of the state that there should be an
end to a litigation.
 Res judicata pro veritate occipiture- a judicial decision must be accepted as correct.

'Res' in Latin means thing a 'Judicata' means already decided. This rule works as a bar to the trial
of an ensuing suit on the same reason for dispute between the same parties. It essential intention
is - "One suit and one decision is sufficient for any single dispute ".The rule of 'Res Judicata' does
not depend upon the correctness or the incorrectness of the former decision2. It is a guideline of
law by which a matter which has been prosecuted can't be re-litigated between the same parties.
This principle is to end suit once a matter has been mediated. It expects to spare the court time and

AIR 1983 NOC 69(ALL)
anticipate provocation to parties. "Res Judicata pro veritate accipitur" is the full maxim which has,
over the years, shrunk to mere "Res Judicata". Section 11 of CPC contains the rule of
conclusiveness of the judgment, which is based partly on the maxim of Roman Jurisprudence
“interest reipublicae ut sit finis litium" (it concerns the State that there be an end to law suits) and
partly on the maxim "Nemo debet bis vexari pro una at eadem causa" (no man should be vexed
twice over for the same cause). The section does not affect the jurisdiction of the court but operates
as a bar to the trial of the suit or issue, if the matter in the suit was directly and substantially in
issue (and finally decided) in the previous suit between the same parties litigating under the same
title in a court, competent to try the subsequent suit in which such issue has been raised 3. The
principle of Res Judicata is based on the need to give finality and certainty to judicial decisions.
The term Res Judicata in refers to the various ways in a judgment in which one action will have a
binding effect in another. These binding effects are called “claim preclusion4”. It must be
distinguished from the second effect which is called “collateral estoppel” or “issue preclusion5”.
Res Judicata is a broad term “which encompasses both issue preclusion or claim preclusion”. The
effect of issue preclusion is that an issue determined in a first action may not be re-agitated when
the same issue arises in a later action based on a different claim or demand6 .

Essentials for Res Judicata

The general guideline of Res Judicata is encapsulated in its diverse structures in three distinctive
Indian significant statutes Section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, Section 300 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1973 and Sections 40 to 43 of the Indian Evidence Act, yet it is not exhaustive.

Kunjan Nair Sivaram Nair v. Narayana Nair and others 2004AIR (SC) 1761, 2004 (3) SCC 277.

.Claim preclusion focuses on barring a suit from being brought again on a legal cause of action that has already
been finally decided between the parties.
. Issue preclusion bars the re- litigation of factual issues that have already been necessarily determined by a judge
or jury as party of an earlier claim.
The distinction between issue preclusion and claim preclusion has been formulated by Mr. Justice Field in
Crownwell v. country of Sac.
Here, we are concerned just with Section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Emulating conditions
must be demonstrated for offering impact to the standards of Res Judicata under Section 11-

i. that the gatherings are same or disputing under same title,

ii. that the matter straightforwardly and significantly in issue in the ensuing suit must be
same which was straightforwardly and significantly in issue in the previous suit,
iii. that the matter in issue has been at long last chosen prior,
iv. that the matter in issue was chosen by a Court of able ward. In the event that any one or
more conditions are not demonstrated, the standard of Res Judicata might not have any
significant bearing. Where all the four conditions are demonstrated, the Court has no
purview to attempt the suit from that point as it gets to be not maintainable and obligated
to be rejected. For provision of standard of Res Judicata, presence of choice at last
choosing a right or a case between parties is fundamental.


Section 11 of CPC in Explanation VII7 has made it clear that not only general principle of Res
Judicata but also constructive Res Judicata apply to execution proceedings. The provisions of the
section are now applicable to a proceeding for the execution of a decree, and references in the
section to a suit, issue or former suit shall be construed as references respectively to a proceeding
for the execution of a decree, question arising in such proceeding and a former proceeding for the
execution of that decree. However, an application by decree holder to transfer certain papers to
another Court for further execution is not an execution application and its dismissal does not bar
a fresh application. The Law Commission suggested that the rule of Res Judicata ought to be
connected to the circumstances of processes in execution and autonomous incidents and

Explanation vii- the provision of the sections shall apply to a proceeding for the executive of a decree and
references in this section to any suit, issue or former suit shall be construed as references, respectively, to a
proceeding for the execution of the decree, question arising in such proceeding and former proceeding for the
execution of that decree.
prescribed insertion of Section 11(a). As opposed to embedding Section 11(a) the Joint Committee
of Parliament prescribed insertion of Explanation to Section 11 and on the foundation of that
report, Explanations VII and VIII have been embedded by C.P.C. (Revision) Act, 1976. Segment
11 of the present Code rejecting Explanation VIII imagines that judgment in a previous suit might
work as Res Judicata if the Court which chose the suit was skilled to attempt the same by goodness
of its monetary purview and the topic to attempt the consequent suit all things considered it is not
vital that the said Court may as well have had regional ward to choose the resulting suit. The
provisions of this Section were not expressly made applicable to execution proceedings. But the
principle of Res Judicata has been extended to execution proceedings8 because the doctrine is
based on the general principle of law, for it were not binding, there would be no end to litigation9.


The doctrine of Res Judicata originated as a Roman concept, but the term itself did not find its
way into English law until after Blackstone10.Under the Roman Law, a defendant could
successfully contest a suit filed by a plaintiff on the plea of “ex captio Res Judicata”. It was said
as “one suit and one decision is enough for any single dispute”. As the modern courts have defined
it, the doctrine requires that adjudication by a court of competent jurisdiction be considered finally
and conclusively settled regarding any subsequent litigation where the same question arises
between the same parties in a court of concurrent jurisdiction." “Neither the parties to an action
nor persons in privity with them can re-litigate any fact or question actually or directly in issue in
such suit which was passed upon and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, but where
the former adjudication is relied on as a bar to a subsequent action it is essential that there shall
be identity both of the subject matter and the parties11.”

Dwarka Das v. Ashfaq ullah, ILR 5 37 All.
Ram Golam v. Barsati Singh, IlR 36 Cal 336.
Charles H. May, comment, Administrative law: res judicata.
Charles H. May, comment, Administrative law: res judicata.
“When a matter, whether on a question of fact or law, has been decided between two
parties in one suit and the decision is final, either because no appeal was taken to the higher court,
or no appeal lies in such case, neither party will be allowed in the future suit between the same
parties to canvass the matter again12.” As for the capacity and approach investment served by the
provision of the Res Judicata principle, it has been expressed that there is no maxim of the law all
the more immovably created or of more esteem in the organization of equity than that which is
intended to counter repeated prosecution between the same gatherings as to the same issues on
significantly the same actualities. "Public policy dictates that there be an end of litigation; that
those who have contested an issue shall be bound by the result of the contest, and that matters
once tried shall be considered forever settled as between such parties13." The desire to eliminate
the uncertainty that can be caused by the lack of finality in litigation has also added support for
the adoption of the doctrine of res judicata. The principle is founded on justice, equity and good
conscience. Once a final judgment has been announced in a lawsuit, the subsequent judges who
are confronted with a suit that is identical to or substantially the same as the earlier one, they
would apply the Res Judicata doctrine ‘to preserve the effect of the first judgment’. This is to
prevent injustice to the parties of a case supposedly finished, but perhaps mostly to avoid
unnecessary waste of resources and time of the Judicial System14. Subsequently, the same case
can't be consumed again either in the same or in the distinctive Court of India. This is simply to
preclude them from increasing judgments, so an overall offended party may not regain harms from
the litigant twice for the same damage. Accordingly, this precept of Res Judicata is a key notion
dependent upon open approach and private investment. It is considered in the bigger open
investment, which obliges that each suit must arrive at a close. It thusly, applies to civil suits,
execution transactions, intervention processes, levy matters, writ petitions, regulatory requests,
break requests, criminal incidents, and so forth. However, there are limited exceptions to Res
Judicata that allow a party to attack the validity of the original judgment, even outside of appeals.
In the case of Jallur Venkata Seshayya v. Thadviconda Koteswara Rao, a suit was filed in the
Court for the purpose of declaring certain temples public temples and for setting aside alienation
of endowed property by the manager thereof. A similar suit was dismissed by the Court two years

Satyadhyan Ghose v. Deorjin Debi [AIR 1960 SC 941]
Baldwin v. Iwoa state travelling men’s Association, 283 U.S. 522
Lal Chand v. radha krishan [ (1977) 2 SCC 88].
ago and the plaintiffs here contended that it was the gross negligence on the part of the plaintiffs
(of the previous suit) and hence the doctrine of Res Judicata should not be applied. But, the Privy
Council said that finding of a gross negligence by the trial court was far from a finding of
intentional suppression of the documents, which would amount, to want of bona fide or collusion
on the part of the plaintiffs in prior suit. There being no evidence in the suit establishing either
want of bona fide of collusion on the part of plaintiffs as Res Judicata. In the case of Beliram and
Brothers v. Chaudari Mohammed Afzal15. it was held that where a minors suit was not brought
by the guardian of the minors bona fide but was brought in collusion with the defendants and the
suit was a fictitious suit, a decree obtained therein is one obtained by fraud and collusion within
the meaning of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, s. 44 and does not operate Res Judicata. The
principle of Res Judicata in Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, s. 11 is modified by the Indian
Evidence Act, 1872, s. 44 and the principles will not apply if any of the three grounds mentioned
in s. 44 exists. In the case of Rural Litigation And Entitlement Kendra v. State of Uttar Pradesh16,
it was held that the writ petitions filed in the Supreme Court are not inter-party disputes and have
been raised by way of public interest litigation and the controversy before the court is as to whether
for social safety and for creating a hazardless environment for the people to live in, mining in the
area must be permitted or stopped. Even if it is said that there was a final order, in a dispute of
this type it would be difficult to entertain the plea of Res Judicata. The Court was of the view that
leaving the question open for examination in future would lead to unnecessary multiplicity of
proceedings and would be against the interests of the society. It is mete and proper as also in the
interest of the parties that the entire question is taken into account at this stage. Undoubtedly, the
Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 has come into force with effect from 19 November 1986.
Under this enactment, power became vested in the Central Government to take measures to protect
and improve the environment. These writ petitions were filed as early as 1983 more than three
years before the enactment came into force. The principle of Res Judicata does not apply strictly
to public interest litigations. The procedural laws are not fully applicable to public interest
litigation cases. Where the prior public interest relates to illegal mining, subsequent public interest
litigation to protect environment is not barred.

(1948) 50 BOMLR 674.
1985 AIR 652, 1985 SCR(3) 169
In Forward Construction Co. v. Prabhat Mandal17, the Supreme Court was directly called upon to
decide the question. The apex court held that the principle would apply to public interest litigation
provided it was a bona fide litigation.

In Narasamma v. Venkataratnam18, the High Court of Andhra Pradesh held that the opening words
of Section 11 required that the issue as to res judicata should be tried at the earlier stage of the suit
and not at the end along with the rest of the issues. The question of res judicata is a mixed question
of law and fact and can be allowed to be raised at later stage if it does not involve a fresh
investigation of facts. Where the defendants omit to plead and prove res judicata, and the Court
investigates and decides matters already concluded between the parties without knowing about
such a decision, the decision is not void, for want of jurisdiction. Plea of res judicata is one which
might be, and ought to be, raised as a defence and established, in order to operate as a bar in the
exercise of jurisdiction to try and dispose of the matter subsequently. Otherwise, later decision
will prevail and the plea of res judicata itself will be barred by constructive res judicata and the
later decision (though overlooking the bar of res judicata alone), will prevail. Jammu High Court
in the case of Anil Khajuria vs Shri Avinash Chander19 Plea of res judicata does not involve pure
question of fact but it involves mixed question of fact and law, and consequently the factual
foundation necessary for raising the plea of law must have been laid in the pleadings and in the
issues. Consequently, a party cannot be allowed to raise the plea of res judicata for the first time
in execution proceedings with regard to its maintainability on the basis that the decree is void and
in executable passed in the suit which is barred by principle of res judicata when the party has not
raised this plea earlier. In that event by application of principle of constructive res judicata the
judgment debtors would be declined to raise such a plea in the execution proceedings. The apex
court in case of Pulavarthi Venkata Subba Rao & Ors. V.Valluri Jagannadha Rao & Ors20, held
that the compromise decree is not a decision by the court but sets the seal of the court on the
averments of the parties in following words : "The compromise decree was not a decision by the
Court. It was the acceptance by the Court of something to which the parties had agreed. It has

1986 AIR 391, 1985 SCR Supl. (3) 766
1965 A.A.P. 12
2005 (2) JKJ 501
AIR 19567 SC 591
been said that a compromise decree merely sets the seal of the court on the agreement of the
parties. The court did not decide anything. Nor can it be said that a decision of the court was
implicit in it. Only a decision by the court could be Res Judicata, whether statutory under S. 11 of
the Code of Civil Procedure, or constructive as a matter of public policy on which the entire
doctrine rests. The respondents claim to raise the issue over again because of the new rights
conferred by the Amending Act, which rights include, according to them, the re-opening of all
decrees which had not become final or which had not been fully executed. The respondents are
entitled to take advantage of the amendment of the law unless the law it itself barred them, or the
earlier decision stood in their way. The earlier decision cannot strictly be regarded as on a matter
which was "heard and finally decided." The decree might have created an estoppel by conduct
between the parties; but here, the appellants are in an unfortunate position, because they did not
plead this estoppel at any time. They only claimed that the principle of Res Judicata governed the
case or that there was an estoppel by judgment. By that expression, the principle of Res Judicata
is described in English law. There is some evidence to show that the respondents had paid two
sums under the consent decree, but that evidence cannot be looked into in the absence of a plea of
estoppel by conduct which needed to be raised and tried. The appellants are, however, protected
in respect of these payments by the proviso to Cl. (iii) of S. 16 of the Amending Act." Five-judge
Bench of the apex court in case of Sailendra Narayan Bhanja Deo V. The State of Orissa21. S.R.
Das, C.J. states: " a judgment by consent or default is as effective an estoppel between the parties
as a judgment whereby the court exercises its mind on a contested case " Supreme Court in the
decision reported in Victoria v. K.V. Naik & Ors22, interpreted Explanation IV to S. 2(25) and S.
125(3) of the Kerala Land Reforms Act, as amended held that: "If the plea regarding Kudikidappu
rights had not been raised, it would operate as constructive Res Judicata on the principle of "might
and ought". If it was taken and rejected, it would operate as Res Judicata and the same cannot be
raised in execution. Even if it was left open, in equity, justice and good conscience, it must not be
extended to the mortgagee."

AIR 1956 SC 346
(1997 (6) SCC 23)

No doubt, at the start, that these same compelling explanations; i.e. that nobody ought to be vexed
more than once for the same cause, that changelessness may as well connect to built rights, and
that the request of social order ought not be aggravated by rehashed case; might as well have the
same remaining in regulatory processes as they have generally been concurred by the legal. But
administrative agencies are not courts. Their function may be ministerial, legislative or judicial23.
In Administrative Law, the use of this doctrine is that, it administers as to how well the Judiciary
does its work, how efficiently the Judiciary disposes off the case and the doctrine makes itself
applicable where there is more than one petition filed in the same or in the other court of India24.

Res judicata shall apply even a petition has been dismissed without giving notice
to the other party25. Summary dismissal of a petition without recording reasons does not attract
res judicata and a fresh petition on the same ground can be entertained. The principle of res
judicata shall also not apply if the court incidentally records findings on issues not raised before
it. Finding given in a petition at stage of the same petition will be barred by res judicata.

The question of the applicability of constructive res judicata to wriots was

considered by the Supreme Court in State of U.P. v. Nawab Hussian26. In the case of sub –
Inspector of police challenged his dismissal by the Deputy Inspector-General of police (DIG) on
the ground that he was not given a fair hearing. The High Court, however, dismissed his petition.
He filed a suit thereafter, and raised an addition plea that he was appointed by the Inspector-
General of police so cannot be dismissed by the DGP, who is subordinate officer. The Supreme
Court held that the addition plea is barred by constructive res judicata.

The focal issue of Res Judicata in managerial law is to find when or to what degree
the customary regulation as created in the legal framework ought to be relevant to regulatory

Cooper, State Administrative Law, 1965
A socio- legal study of the law relating to relevancy of judgments, orders or decrees under the Indian evidence
act 1872
Virdhunagar steel rolling mills ltd v. Govt. of Madras, AIR 1968 SC 1196.
(1997) 2 SCC 806.
activity. A simple response is that Res Judicata might as well apply to regulatory movement at
whatever point the circumstances are significantly like those of common prosecution in court. The
troubles result from dissimilarities of -numerous sorts between the legal methodology and the
regulatory procedure -dissimilarities which happen in numerous varieties and in an unending
number of mixtures with varieties of different likenesses and dissimilarities. To some managerial
activity the guideline of Res Judicata ought to be connected in all its meticulousness. For other
managerial activity the thought of Res Judicata is wholly unseemly. Evidently, if their capacity
is not legal the precept of Res Judicata has no requisition. Where a demonstration of a regulatory
org is legal for purposes of Res Judicata is, at the very most, troublesome to perceive. Once the
court determines that the action of the agency is not a judicial function, the doctrine of Res
Judicata is not a bar to any subsequent re-examination on the part of the agency27. Anyhow once
it has been verified that the organization is acting in a legal capacity, the court should then think
about the provision of the regulation. Be that as it may, significantly after it is discovered that the
authoritative org is performing a legal capacity, the provision of the tenet of Res Judicata brings
about a level of asymmetry when contrasted with its requisition to the legal demonstrations of the
courts. These troubles in acclimating legal methods and notions to the regulatory procedure,
frequently more obvious than genuine, The convention of Res Judicata in the managerial territory,
in the same way that in the courts, has no provision where there is a change of circumstances. It
has been recognized, thus, that a change of physical conditions or an allegation of new facts, not
in existence at the time of the prior ruling, permits licensing of a previously unsuccessful
applicant28. In the zoning field the courts have point out that caution must be used in applying
Res Judicata in areas where there might be a change of circumstances29. Consequently, where
there has been a substantial change in facts, the petitioner should be granted a rehearing30. Under
the same circumstances, but with the additional presence of a strong public interest factor, the
doctrine of Res Judicata has no application. While the court most likely arrived at a fitting choice,
it neglected to define which and to what degree each of the prior contemplations was dispositive
in figuring out if to apply the precept of Res Judicata to the regulatory undertaking. The
assumption, consequently, has restricted esteem as a systematic apparatus to guide the specialist

Charles, H May, comment, Administrative Law: Res Judicata
Kenneth Culp Davis, comment, Harry Law Review,1952
Charles, H May, comment, Administrative Law: Res Judicata
and future courts around there. It has been claimed that Res Judicata will not generally govern
decisions in which the administrative authority occupies the position of a party to the proceedings,
but tends to be applicable only when the commission adjudicates disputes between private
parties31. In many respects the applicability of the doctrine of Res Judicata in administrative law
may be affected by constitutional and statutory provisions. This phase of the problem may best be
examined with reference to the law of one jurisdiction. The Constitution of the India separates the
legislative, executive and judicial Body32. Hence Res Judicata is Applicable on Administrative
forms performing the legal Functions. Principle of Res Judicata could be utilized by authoritative
tribunals as they perform legal capacities and mediate the debates between the gatherings. Though
Section 11 of the code of civil procedure speaks about civil suit only, the general principle
underlying the doctrine of Res Judicata apply even to administrative adjudication33. Thus an award
pronounced by the Industrial Tribunal operates as Res Judicata between the same parties and the
payment of wages authority has no jurisdiction to entertain the said question again34. In a case if
the Labour Court has decided that A is not a “workman” within the meaning of the industrial
dispute Act, 1947, it operates as Res Judicata in subsequent proceedings35. In the case of Bombay
Gas Co. Ltd v. Jagannath Pandurang, The SC Observed, “The doctrine of Res Judicata is a
wholesome one which is applicable not merely to matters governed by the provisions of the Code
of Civil Procedure but to all litigations. It proceeds on the principle that there should be no
unnecessary litigation and whatever claims and defences are open to parties should all be put
forward at the same time provided no confusion is likely to arise by so putting forward all such
claims.” The Supreme Court entertained “Doubt” about the extension of the sophisticated doctrine
of constructive Res Judicata to Industrial Law36. In the case of Trichinopoly Mills Ltd. v. Nation
cotton textile mills workers’ Union it was observed: “It is not denied that the principles of Res
Judicata cannot be strictly involved in the decisions of such points though it is equally true that
industrial tribunals would not be justified in changing the amounts of rehabilitation from year to
year without sufficient cause.” The apex Court has said that each assessment year, being an
independent unit, a decision for one year may not operate as Res Judicata in another year. But if

Noble K. Gregory, Comment, California Law Review,
Justice C.K. Thakkar, Administrative
Bombay Gas Co. Ltd. V. Shridhar, AIR 1961 SC 1196; (1961) LLJ 629
Bombay Gas Co. Ltd. V. Jagannath pandurang, (1975) 4 SCC 690; (1976) SCR 291
Mumbai Kamgar Sabhav. Abdulbhai, (1976) 3 SCC 832; AIR 1976 SC 1013
a pure question of law, e.g. constitutional validity of a statute is decided, “it may not be easy to
hold that the decision on this basic and material issue would not operate as Res Judicata against
the assessee for a subsequent year. Strictly speaking Res Judicata does not apply to income-tax
proceedings. But each assessment being a suit, what is decided in one year may not apply in the
following years but where a fundamental aspect permeating through the different assessment year
has been found as a fact one way or the other and parties have allowed that position to be sustained
by not challenging the order, it would not be all appropriate to allow the position to be changed
in a subsequent year. In Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. V. Union of India37, the apex Court has held
that in a tax matter decision given for one assessment year does not operate as Res Judicata for
the subsequent years on the premise that Res Judicata applies to debar Courts from entertaining
issues on the same cause of action whereas the cause of action for each assessment year is distinct.
The Court made it clear that a Court of superior jurisdiction overruling a decision of a lower
authority cited before it, would not operate to upset the binding nature of that decision on the
parties to the case and to whom the principle of Res Judicata would continue to operate. The
Doctrine of Res Judicata would not apply to tax assessments and hence the courts have a right to
re-examine the case between the same parties on the identical questions of fact in a different
assessment year. A decision taken by the authorities in the previous year would not estop or
operate as res judicata for subsequent years. There ·have been several reasons for exclusion of the
doctrine of Res Judicata in tax matters, offered by Courts during the course of time. The reason
which is attached to the exclusion, in effect is indicative of the true scope of the exclusion itself.
For example initially Courts supported the exclusion because they felt that IT authorities were not
courts and hence the doctrine should not apply to their decisions. In effect, the exclusion was
limited only to IT authorities and not to courts. A catena of cases has held that the rationale for
exclusion is that the cause of action itself has changed from the previous assessment year to the
present assessment year and hence the doctrine has no application38. Others have stated that the
doctrine is inapplicable because there cannot be any estoppel against a statute and tax laws are
subject to changes annually. In Delhi Golf Club Limited v. New Delhi Municipal Corporation3944
it was felt that public interest would be better served by by-passing the rule of res-judicata and

AIR 2006 SC 1383
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. And Anr. V. Union of India and Ors AIR 2006 SC 1383, Commissioner v. Sunnen 333
U.S 591 (1948)
AIR 1997 Delhi 347
taxing the property in a year of assessment if the incidence of tax be rightly attracted under the
law and ignoring the factum of its having escaped in an earlier year though by a conscious and
deliberate decision.


The fundamental focus included in the Nature of the principle of Res Judicata is that the
convention tries to get common and reasonable equity to the parties and that too by
notwithstanding the other gathering to document a different number of suits either for equity or
for bugging the other gathering. The Doctrine of Res Judicata is not just limited to choices in a
suit and that the convention applies even to choices rendered in incidents which are not suits
however how far the choice which is rendered in an unique processes will sticky situation the
gatherings hinges on the contemplations. A choice given in an incidents other than a suit may in
any case work as Res Judicata if generous privileges of the gatherings are dead set. In any case if
the choice is given in an outline continuing it doesn't work as Res Judicata. The rule of Res
Judicata does not make a difference strictly to open investment cases. The essential object of Res
Judicata is to carry a finish to case, so there is no excuse for why not to develop the precept of
Res Judicata.