Sunday, 3 March 2019

Whether principle of res judicata is applicable even if subsequent suit is filed by different party?

 It is in this background, we notice that the subsequent suit, may be by another person, but dealing with the very same subject matter, is clearly hit by the principle of res judicata, for the issue in question in the instant suit was directly and substantially in issue in the earlier suit.

In the High Court of Tripura at Agartala
(Before Sanjay Karol, C.J. and Arindam Lodh, J.)

Shyamal Bhattacharjee  v. State of Tripura, 

RFA No. 04/2013
Decided on January 2, 2019,
Citation: 2019 SCC OnLine Tri 2

Sanjay Karol, C.J.:— Having heard learned counsel for the parties, we are of the considered view that the present appeal only merits rejection for we do not find the findings returned for the judgment rendered by the trial Court in dismissing the Civil Suit (Title Suit No. 33 of 2006) in question to be illegal, perverse or erroneous in any manner.
2. The trial Court dismissed the suit on the ground of res judicata. While dismissing the suit, the trial Court framed the following issue:
“Whether the suit for declaration of title over the suit land is maintainable before this Court in view of the judgment and order passed in T.S. No. 116 of 1986.”
3. Having carefully gone through the record, we notice that in Title Suit No. 116 of 1986, titled as Smti. Khela Bhattacharjee v. the State of Tripura, the trial Court had framed the following issues:
(i) Whether the suit is maintainable?
(ii) Whether the suit is barred by limitation?
(iii) Whether the plaintiff is the owner of the suit land?
(iv) Whether the defendants rightly rejected the prayer under Section 11(3) of the T.L.R. and L.R. Act?
(v) Whether the plaintiff is entitled to reliefs as prayed for?
(vi) Whether the plaintiff purchased the suit land vide deed No. 1-1773 dated 7.9.64 and No. 1-3431 dated 19.3.65 and possessed the same adversely without interference from any quarter?
4. And after examining the evidence led by the parties, answered the same against the plaintiff therein.
5. We notice that the said judgment rendered in the said suit (No. 116 of 1986) was assailed before this Court and vide order dated 13.02.2002 passed in S.A. No. 27 of 2001, titled as Smti. Khela Bhattacharjee v. the State of Tripura, this Court dismissed the plaintiff's appeal, upholding the order passed by the trial Court.
6. It is in this background, we notice that the subsequent suit, may be by another person, but dealing with the very same subject matter, is clearly hit by the principle of res judicata, for the issue in question in the instant suit was directly and substantially in issue in the earlier suit.
7. Not only that, the erstwhile owner had, in fact, initiated proceedings before the Revenue Officer under the provisions of the Tripura Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960 which were dismissed way back on 24.7.1998. Also application for restoration thereof, stood dismissed on 22.9.2005 and no further action was taken thereafter.
8. The issue of limitation as stands observed by this Court in Khela Bhattacharjee(supra) is a mixed question of fact and law which cannot be allowed to be reopened and re-agitated by filing a fresh suit by a different person.
9. At some stage, all litigations must come to an end and from the plaint filed in the instant suit, we can clearly make out that the subject matter in both the suits is identical and similar and as such, find no reason to interfere in the impugned judgment of the trial Court and the appeal is accordingly dismissed.
10. Transmit the lower court record forthwith.
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