Stay of Suit or Res Subjudice under Civil Procedure Code

In this law note, we will discuss the important concept of the ‘Doctrine of Res Sub Judice’ or ‘Stay of Suits’ under the Civil Procedure Code of 1908.

Stay of Suit or Res Sub Judice Under CPC, 1908

The word res means subject matter, and sub judice means pending in court. Therefore, res subjudice means the subject matter is pending before the court.

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Section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) deals with the ‘Doctrine of Res Sub Judice.’ It provides that no court can proceed with the trial of any suit in which the matter is directly and substantially in issue in a previously instituted suit between the same parties or their representatives, and the court in the previously instituted suit is capable of granting the relief claimed.

Object of Res Sub Judice

The object of section 10 of CPC is to prevent a court of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously entertaining and adjudicating upon two or more parallel litigation upon the same cause of action, same subject matter and same relief made. It is intended to prevent multiplicity of proceedings and avoid conflict of decisions.

Essentials of Res Sub Judice

These are the essential aspects of Res Sub Judice:

  1. There must be two suits, one previously instituted and the other subsequently instituted.
  2. That the matter in both suits must be same and directly and substantially in issue.
  3. Both the suits must be between the same parties or their representative.
  4. The parties must be litigating under the same title in both suits.
  5. The court in which the previous suit is pending must have jurisdiction to grant the relief.
  6. The previous suit must be pending in any of the following courts:
    • (a) Same court,
    • (b) Other District or High Court in India,
    • (c) Any other court beyond the limit of India but established by Central Government,
    • (d) Supreme Court.

Once the court observes that all the above conditions have been fulfilled, the court must not proceed further with the trial and must put a stay on it. Note: A previously instituted suit is a suit instituted first at a point in time.

Effect of Contravening Section 10 of CPC

The provision of section 10 is mandatory for the court to follow. Even in the rarest cases, if the rule of Subjudice is not followed, and a judgment is made by the court, the decree shall not be treated as void. It cannot be disregarded at the stage of its execution.

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Exceptions to Res Sub Judice

Res Sub Judice has three exceptions, those are:

  1. Suit pending in Foreign Court
  2. Interim Orders
  3. Summary Suits

Let us discuss them one by one.

1. Suit pending in Foreign Court: Section 10 provides an exception to the general rule of stay of the suit, which states that the pendency of a suit in a foreign court does not prevent courts in India from trying the suit on the same cause of action.

2. Interim Orders: In the case of Indian Bank vs Maharashtra State Corporation Federation (1998) 5 SCC 69section 10 does not bar the institution of the suit, but it bars the trial of the suit. Since this rule applies to the trial of the suit and not the institution, it does not preclude the courts from passing interim orders such as grand injunctions, appointment of receivers, etc.

3. Summary Suit: The Supreme Court held that section 10 applies to regular suits and not summary suits under Order 37 of the CPC in Indian Bank vs Maharashtra State Corporation Federation (1998) 5 SCC 69.

Case Laws Relating to Res Sub Judice

Indian Bank vs Maharashtra State Corporation Federation (1998) 5 SCC 69: Since the rule under section 10 of the Civil Procedure Code applies to the trial of the suit and not the institution, it does not preclude the courts from passing interim orders such as grants of injunction, appointments of receivers, etc.

Pukhraj D Jain vs G Gopalakrishna, AIR 2004 SC 3504: In this case, the court held that the object of section 10 is to prevent the jurisdiction from simultaneously trying two parallel suits regarding the same matter in issue. The decree passed contravening this section is not null as it enacts a mere rule of procedure.


The concept of Res Sub Judice plays a vital role in preventing the multiplicity of suits and avoiding conflict of decisions. It allows the court to use its power to bar the trial of the suit already pending in the court.

Related Law Notes:
What Is the Meaning of Res Judicata in Civil Procedure Code?
2. Difference and Similarity Between Res Sub Judice and Res Judicata in CPC

Ankita Soni
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