Is res judicata principle applicable in public interest litigation?

Tilak Marg Forum for Legal Questions Forums Constitutional Law Is res judicata principle applicable in public interest litigation?

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Dr. Ashok Dhamija Dr. Ashok Dhamija 3 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #4132

    Anonymous
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    Sir, please enlighten me whether the principle of res judicata applicable to a public interest litigation? If some issue of public importance has already been decided by courts in a public interest litigation, then whether a subsequent PIL is barred by res judicata?

  • #4133

    To answer your question, one may beneficially refer to Explanation VI to Section 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) which deals with the principle of res judicata:

    11. Res judicata.— No Court shall try any suit or issue in which the matter directly and substantially in issue has been directly and substantially in issue in a former suit between the same parties, or between parties under whom they or any of them claim, litigating under the same title, in a Court competent to try such subsequent suit or the suit in which such issue has been subsequently raised, and has been heard and finally decided by such Court.

    *** ***

    Explanation VI.— Where persons litigate bona fide in respect of a public right or of a private right claimed in common for themselves and others, all persons interested in such right shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to claim under the persons so litigating.

    *** ***.”

    Thus, Explanation VI to Section 11 of CPC would clearly show that the principle of res judicata would apply to a bona fide public interest litigation (PIL). This implies that if the previous litigation was a bona fide public interest litigation in respect of a right which was common and was claimed in common with others, the decision in such previous PIL may act as a res judicata for the subsequent PIL. However, please note that the emphasis in the above Explanation is on the word bona fide. Thus, if the previous litigation was not a bona fide public interest litigation (PIL), then it may not bar a subsequent public interest litigation.

         


    Dr. Ashok Dhamija is a New Delhi based Supreme Court Advocate and author of law books. Read more about him by clicking here. List of his Forum Replies. List of his other articles. List of his Quora Answers.

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