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CASE BACKGROUND

  • Plaintiffs, legal heirs of Late S.V. Srinivasulu Naidu filed an application before the Special Court, Hyderabad under Section 8 of the Andhra Pradesh Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act,1982, alleging that their land was grabbed by the Union of India.
  • It was claimed that the father of the plaintiffs (now dead) was the owner in possession of the property and the Union of India trespassed into the same. The father had also filed a written statement asserting that he had no objection to the plaintiff suit being decreed
  • Therefore, the suit was decreed, declaring plaintiffs as titleholders of the property. Later, the plaintiffs contented they are the original owners before the tribunal and then the High Court, which affirmed the order of the tribunal. The case was then brought before the Supreme Court.

CONTENTIONS

  • The defendant, Union of India claimed applicability of the doctrine of res judicata against the plaintiff, as the father of the plaintiff was a co-defendant with him in the suits wherein his title was declared over the said property.
  • The Plaintiffs contended that in the first suit the claim was restricted to the land purchased by him. It was contended that res judicata would not be applicable because the only party of the property was involved in the previous suit, while in this suit whole of the property is the subject matter.
  • So, the issue arose that whether the order passed in the first suit could operate as res judicata?

JUDGEMENT

  • The Supreme Court examined the applicability of res judicata between co-defendants and stated requisite conditions to apply the same-
  1. must be a conflict of interest between defendants concerned;
  2. must be necessary to decide the conflict in order to give reliefs
  3. the question between the defendants must have been finally decided, and
  • The principle of Res Judicata will not apply if the subject matter of the suit is not the same as that of the earlier suit. The matter in the former suit must have been alleged by one party and either denied or admitted, expressly or impliedly by the other.

What do you think about this case and the judgment of the Court? Let us know in the comments section below!

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