Saturday 29 October 2022

Whether principles of res judicata are applicable to compromise decree?

 E.2.4 Compromise decree and Res Judicata

46. It is contended by the counsel for the Appellant that since a compromise deed was arrived at between the Mysore State Board of Wakf, Abdul Khuddus and the lessee with regard to the possession of the suit property, the other reliefs have been abandoned. It was thus contended that in view of the compromise deed, the claim of title to the suit property has been abandoned and cannot be raised in the subsequent suit. In Pulavarthi Venkata Subba Rao v. Valluri Jagannadha Rao MANU/SC/0018/1963 : AIR 1967 SC 591 and Sunderabai v. Devaji Shankar Deshpande MANU/SC/0098/1952 : AIR 1954 SC 82, this Court held that since a compromise decree is not a decision of the court, the principle of res judicata cannot be made applicable. However, it was held that the compromise decree may in effect create estoppel by conduct between the parties, and the parties by estoppel will be prevented from initiating a subsequent suit. Chief Justice Bhagwati (as he was then) writing for a three judge bench in Sunderabai observed:

12. The bar of res judicata however, may not in terms be applicable in the present case, as the decree passed in Suit No. 291 of 1937 was a decree in terms of the compromise. The terms of Section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure would not be strictly applicable to the same but the underlying principle of estoppel would still apply. Vide: the commentary of Sir Dinshaw Mulla on Section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure at p. 84 of the 11th Edn. under the caption Consent decree and estoppel:

The present Section does not apply in terms to consent decrees; for it cannot be said in the cases of such decrees that the matters in issue between the parties 'have been heard and finally decided' within the meaning of this section. A consent decree, however, has to all intents and purposes the same effect as res judicata as a decree passed in invitum. It raises an estoppel as much as a decree passed in invitum.

Since it is the principle of estoppel by conduct that will bar the institution of the subsequent suit, it is pertinent that we refer to the compromise decree to determine if any compromise was arrived at between the parties on the title to the suit property. On a perusal of the compromise deed, it is evident that a compromise was reached only on the issue of possession and lease. When no compromise was arrived at between the parties on the title to the suit property, then no estoppel by conduct could also be inferred. d. Additionally, the counsel for the Respondent referred to Order 23 Rule 3A to contend that a subsequent suit is barred when the previous suit is dismissed through a compromise decree. However, the provision would not be applicable to the case at hand since it only bars the challenge to a compromise decree on the ground that it is unlawful. Therefore, the disposal of the second suit in view of the compromise would not bar the filing of the suit out of which the instant proceedings arise.


Civil Appeal No. 10946 of 2014

Decided On: 23.09.2021

The Jamia Masjid  Vs. K.V. Rudrappa (Since Dead) by L.Rs. and Ors.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:

Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli, JJ.

Author: Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, J.

Citation: MANU/SC/0691/2021.

Read full Judgment here: Click here

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