Subsequent Suit; When Court Can Stay it u/s. 10 CPC

When Court Can Stay Subsequent Suit ? From a plain reading of the Section 10 CPC, it is evident that where a suit is instituted in a Court to which provisions of the Code apply, it shall not proceed with the trial of another suit in which the matter in issue is also directly and substantially in issue in a previously instituted suit between the same parties.

For application of the provisions of Section 10 of the Code, it is further required that the Court in which the previous suit is pending is competent to grant the relief claimed. The use of negative expression in Section 10, i.e. “no court shall proceed with the trial of any suit” makes the provision mandatory and the Court in which the subsequent suit has been filed is prohibited from proceeding with the trial of that suit if the conditions laid down in Section 10 of the Code are satisfied.

See Also : Aspi Jal v. Khushroo Rustom Dadyburjor, (2013) 4 SCC 333

The basic purpose and the underlying object of Section 10 of the Code is to prevent the Courts of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously entertaining and adjudicating upon two parallel litigations in respect of same cause of action, same subject matter and the same relief. This is to pin down the plaintiff to one litigation so as to avoid the possibility of contradictory verdicts by two courts in respect of the same relief and is aimed to protect the defendant from multiplicity of proceeding.

The key words in Section 10 are “the matter in issue is directly and substantially in issue in the previously instituted suit”. The test for applicability of Section 10 of the Code is whether on a final decision being reached in the previously instituted suit, such decision would operate as res-judicata in the subsequent suit.

To put it differently one may ask, can the plaintiff get the same relief in the subsequent suit if the earlier suit has been dismissed? If the answer is in affirmative, the subsequent suit is not fit to be stayed. However, when the matter in controversy is the same, it is immaterial what further relief is claimed in the subsequent suit.

For application of Section 10 of the Code, the matter in issue in both the suits have to be directly and substantially in issue in the previous suit but the question is what “the matter in issue” exactly means? For application of Section 10 of the Code, the entire subject-matter of the two suits must be the same. This provision will not apply where few of the matters in issue are common and will apply only when the entire subject matter in controversy is same. In other words, the matter in issue is not equivalent to any of the questions in issue.

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