Chhattisgarh High Court: In an appeal against the decision of Trial Court of dismissing the suit mainly on the ground that the suit preferred by the appellant was barred under the provisions of Section 11 Code of Civil Procedure,1908 (CPC), Arvind Singh Chandel, J. has observed that the suit preferred by the appellant is not barred under the provisions of Section 11 CPC and the Trial Court dismissed the suit only on the ground of res judicata and did not decide the other issues on merit.
In this case, the appellant filed a suit for possession of the house and also for damages on the basis of relationship of landlord and tenant, however, it was dismissed. Since the respondent did not vacate the house, another suit has been preferred by the appellant for vacant possession of the house and for damages. Further, the Trial Court dismissed the suit mainly on the ground that the subsequent suit preferred by the appellant is barred under the provisions of Section 11 CPC.
The Court took note of the ruling in Srihari Hanumandas Totala v. Hemant Vithal Kamat (2021) 9 SCC 99, Jamia Masjid v. K.V. Rudrappa 2021 SCC OnLine SC 792, wherein the Court held that the ingredients to attract Res Judicata are (i) The matter must have been directly and substantially in issue in the former suit; (ii) the matter must be heard and finally decided by the Court in the former suit; (iii) The former suit must be between the same parties or between parties under whom they or any of them claim, litigating under the same title; and (iv) the Court in which the former suit was instituted is competent to try the subsequent suit or the suit in which such issue has been subsequently raised.
The Court further took note of the ruling in Deva Ram v. Ishwar Chand, (1995) 6 SCC 733, wherein the Court observed that the basic requirement for the applicability of rule of res judicata is wanting and, therefore, in the absence of pleadings, in the absence of issues and in the absence of any finding, it is not open to the party to invoke the rule of res judicata.
The Court observed that in the previous suit the appellant never claimed his title over the suit house, and he only claimed himself as the landlord of the suit house on the basis of the will. In the previous suit, directly or indirectly, no question was involved that the plaintiff got title over the house on the basis of the will as there was no issue framed by the Court on this point. Therefore, the finding of the Court in the previous suit regarding execution of the will was incidental.
The Court also observed that in the previous suit the question, whether the plaintiff was the title holder of the suit house or not was not involved directly or indirectly. Further, the previous suit was filed under the provisions of Section 12(1)(d) of the Accommodation Control Act for eviction of the tenant from the suit house on the basis of bona fide need of the landlord. Moreover, the Court deciding the previous suit was not competent to decide the title of the appellant over the suit house directly or indirectly as the suit was preferred by the appellant on the basis of relationship between the parties as landlord and tenant only.
The Court further noted that the present suit has been preferred by the appellant for getting vacant possession of the suit house and damages claiming himself as the title holder of the suit house. Therefore, the finding of the Court below that the present suit preferred by the plaintiff is barred under the provisions of Section 11 CPC is not in accordance with law, hence, it held that the present suit preferred by the plaintiff is not barred under the provisions of Section 11 CPC.
[Santosh Kumar Sahu v. Smt. Basanti Bai, 2022 SCC OnLine Chh 1556, decided on 2.9.2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Raja Sharma, Advocate, for the Appellant;
Dhirendra Prasad Mishra, Advocate, for the Respondent;