SC: No person shall be vexed twice on the same cause of action

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 10th May 2019, in the matter of Pramod Kumar & Anr. v. Zalak Singh & Ors. pronounced that the principle underlying Order II Rule 2, CPC is that no person shall be vexed twice on the same cause of action.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

In respect of omission to include a part of the claim or relinquishing a part of the claim flowing from a cause of action, the result is that the plaintiff is totally barred from instituting a suit later in respect of the claim so omitted or relinquished. (Para 27)

However, if different reliefs could be sought for in one suit arising out of a cause of action, if leave is obtained from the Court, then a second suit, for a different relief than one claimed in the earlier suit, can be prayed for. (Para 27)

There are three expressions which are found in Order II Rule 2. Firstly, there is reference to the word “cause of action”, secondly the word “claim is alluded to” and finally reference is made to “relief”. (Para 27)

Cause of action means the Media through which the plaintiff seeks to persuade the Court to grant him relief. It could, therefore, be said to be the factual and legal basis or premise upon which the Court is invited by the plaintiff to decide the case in his favour.(Para 28)

The principle underlying Order II Rule 2 is that no man can be vexed twice over the same cause of action. All claims and reliefs, which arise from a cause of action, must be comprehended in one single suit. Order II Rule 2 provides for the principle of repose. (Para 35)

The fact that at the time when the first suit was filed even though a particular relief could be sought and it stemmed from one single cause of action and not two different causes of action, the mere fact that a different period of limitation is provided, cannot stand in the way of the bar under Order II Rule 2.(This inference has been drawn on the basis of Para 35)

Cause of action, means, the bundle of facts, which if traversed, must be proved.(This inference has been drawn on the basis of Para 36)

It is undoubtedly true that the law does not compel a litigant to combine one or more causes of action in a suit. It is open to a plaintiff, if he so wishes, however to combine more than one cause of action against same parties in one suit.(Para 41)

The embargo in Order II Rule 2 will arise only if the claim, which is omitted or relinquished and the reliefs which are omitted and not claimed, arise from one cause of action. If there is more than one cause of action, Order II Rule 2 will not apply.(Para 41)

Order II Rule 2 manifests a technical rule as it has the effect of posing an obstacle in the path of a litigant ventilating his grievance in the Courts. But there is an equally important principle that no person shall be vexed twice on the same cause of action.(Para 41)

Copy of judgement:Judgement_10-May-2019

-Tushar Kaushik

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