CPC Case Brief – Alka Gupta v. Narendra Gupta

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FACTS – The plaintiff filed a suit in High Court against the respondent since the respondent paid only part of the sale consideration and didn’t pay the balance amount. The suit was decreed. The appellant filed a subsequent suit in High Court against the respondent for a rendition of account. A single judge dismissed the suit on the grounds that the suit was barred by Order 2 Rule 2 CPC (Suit to include the whole claim) and by principle of constructive res judicata.

ISSUE – Whether the suit was barred by the principle of res judicata as the issue raised therein had been directly and substantially adjudicated between the plaintiff and defendant in a previous suit?

HELD – Object of Order 2 Rule 2 is to ensure that no defendant is sued twice in regard to the same cause of action and to prevent the plaintiff from splitting of claims and remedies based on the same cause of action. Unless the defendant pleads under Order 2 Rule 2 CPC and an issue is framed focusing the parties on that bar to the suit, the court cannot examine or reject a suit on that ground. The plaintiff should have the opportunity to explain that the second suit was based on the different cause of action.

The cause of action for the first suit was non – payment of price under the agreement of sale, whereas the cause of action for the second suit was non–settling of accounts of a dissolved partnership. The plaintiff against whom the bar of res judicata is used should have noticed about the plea and have an opportunity to put forth his arguments against the same. In this case, there was no plea of constructive res judicata. Therefore, the second suit is not barred by constructive res judicata.

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