CPC Case Brief – S.C. Jain vs Bindeshwari Devi

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  • Consolidation of suits is a Judge made technique devised ex debito justicia. The fountain source of power in Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure which provides saving of inherent power of court-the guiding force and paramount consideration being achieving the ends of justice and preventing abuse of the process of the court.
  • The object behind consolidation is to avoid multiplicity of suits or proceedings, to eliminate chances of conflicting decisions on the same point, to prevent delay and to avoid unnecessary costs and expenses.
  • When two suits having been filed the matter in issue in the later suit is also directly and substantially in issue in a previously instituted suit between the same parties. Either party may by placing reliance on S. 10 CPC, seek a stay of the subsequent suit or by placing reliance on S. 151 of the Civil Procedure Code seek stay of earlier suit on account of the latter instituted suit being wider in its scope and impact on the issues arising for decision in the earlier instituted suit. In appropriate cases, the court may instead of staying one of the two suits direct consolidations of the two suits.
  • Broadly speaking, if consolidation is likely to create complications at the trial or may prejudice rights of the parties either because the issues are not all common or because the parties are not common, the Court may not consolidate the suits. Consolidation may be preferred to stay in the court may deem it expeditious and advantageous to do so.
  • When the parties file suits against each other, though arising out of the same cause of action Consolidation would be expedient and advisable because of the identity of the cause of action and of the evidence likely to be adduced.
  • If the trial of two suits was likely to lead to a conflict of decisions on the same point it was a very important consideration to be kept in view for deciding the question of consolidation even without the consent of parties.
  • If the parties and the issues in the two suits are common, though different reliefs have been claimed, the consolidation of suits would result in the two suits losing their distinct entity; for all practical purposes after consolidation the two suits would be treated as one capable of being disposed of by one judgment and one decree.
  • Though the circumstances warranting an exercise of jurisdiction in favour of consolidation may be available yet the court may decline to consolidate the suits or the trial thereof. If the party opposing the consolidation may be able to demonstrate prejudice to, his case by consolidation.
  • The jurisdiction to consolidate the suits can be exercised by the court only when the two suits are before it. if the suit is pending before different courts and a party may be desirous of seeking consolidation then its appropriate remedy is to move the High Court or the District Court, as the case may be, for transferring the two suits in one court.

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