Interlocutory Applications aren’t Bound by the Principles of Res Judicata: HC

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  • Last Updated on 24 May, 2023

Principles of res judicata

Case Details: Uma Shankar v. Oriental Bank of Commerce - [2023] 150 128 (Madras)

Judiciary and Counsel Details

    • G.K. Ilanthiraiyan, J.
    • R. Raja Rajan for the Petitioner.
    • S.K. Srinivasan for the Respondent.

Facts of the Case

In the instant case, a suit property was leased out in favour of petitioner by Respondent 2 for residential purpose by lease deed and the Petitioner was in possession and enjoyment of suit property. However, the Respondent 1 (bank) pressurized Petitioner to vacate the said property.

Thereafter, petitioner came to know about existence of mortgage between bank and Respondent 2 in respect of suit property and, hence, he filed instant suit for permanent injunction not to disturb his possession over subject property.

Later, the Bank resisted suit by filing petition stating that trial Court had no jurisdiction to entertain suit since it had already initiated proceedings under SARFAESI Act as against Respondent 2 and his property including suit property. However, the said petition was dismissed.

Again, bank filed petition under Order 14 Rule 2 read with Section 151 of CPC to take up issue of jurisdiction as preliminary issue before deciding main issue in suit, which was allowed by Additional District Munsif by an impugned order.

The Petitioner submitted that application was directly hit by principle of res judicata since bank already filed petition for rejection of plaint on very same ground.

High Court Held

The High Court observed that the principles of res judicata does not apply to interlocutory application. Further, if by an erroneous interpretation of statute Court holds that it has no jurisdiction, decision will not, operate as res judicata.

Similarly, by an erroneous decision if Court assumes jurisdiction, which it does not possess under statute, decision will not operate as res judicata between same parties, whether cause of action in subsequent litigation is same or otherwise.

Since in the instant case issue of jurisdiction had been questioned by bank and suit had been filed for bare injunction, the High Court held that the issue of jurisdiction had to be decided as a preliminary issue. Thus, there was no infirmity or illegality in order passed by Additional District Munsif.

List of Cases Referred to

    • Satyadhyan Ghosal v. Smt. Deorajin Debi AIR 1960 SC 941 (para 3)
    • Mathura Prasad Bajoo Jaiswal v. Dossibai N.B. Jeejeebhoy AIR 1971 SC 2355 (para 4).

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