C A Balakrishnan v. Commissioner, Corporation of Madras 2003 Case Summary

C A Balakrishnan v. Commissioner, Corporation of Madras 2003

C A Balakrishnan v. Commissioner, Corporation of Madras case dealt with whether the Writ Petition under Article-226 of the Constitution before the High Court is maintainable considering Order II, Rule 2, CPC.

Writ Petition was filed before the High Court of Madras under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

Facts of C A Balakrishnan case:

  • The government allegedly sealed the canteen of the petitioner. He filed a civil suit for mandatory injunction and restoration of possession. He filed three interim applications (IAs) for interim reliefs like removal of lock, restoring possession, appointing a commissioner, etc. All the interim applications were dismissed, but he was allowed to remove movables from the canteen. The petitioner did not prefer an appeal against the orders.
  • He however preferred a Writ Petition before the High Court of Madras under Article 226 of the Constitution seeking issuance of a writ of mandamus to the respondents to restore possession of the premises to the petitioner and also for an order awarding exemplary costs and damages computed at the rate of Rs. 500/- per day from the date of sealing of canteen restoration of possession.
  • Even after filing the Writ Petition, the petitioner didn’t choose to withdraw the civil suit. In the meantime, before the Writ Petition came up for hearing before the HC, the civil suit was decreed ex-parte in favor of the petitioner.

Legal Issue:

Whether the Writ Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution before the High Court is maintainable considering Order II, Rule 2, CPC?

Decision of the High Court:

If the second suit is barred on the facts and circumstances of the case, a writ petition would equally be barred. The public policy underlying Order II, Rule 2 is attracted with equal vigor with Writ Petitions as well.

Important paragraphs from the judgment:

  • The question before us is whether Order II, Rule 2 applies to the writ petitions or not. The principle underlying Order II, Rule 2, is based on public policy. A person who files a suit seeking certain relief regarding a cause of action and who is precluded from instituting another suit for seeking other reliefs regarding the same cause of action under Order II, Rule 2, CPC.

  • It is clear from Order II, Rule 2, C.P.C. that the suit shall include the whole claim, the relinquishment of part of the claim is not permissible and omission to sue for several reliefs is also prohibited. Hence, once a suit is filed for certain relief regarding a cause of action, the person who has filed is precluded from instituting another suit for certain other reliefs regarding the same cause of action. Hence, the same person cannot be allowed to invoke the writ jurisdiction of this Court for obtaining the same reliefs. Indeed, if a second suit is barred, a writ petition would equally be barred. Public policy underlying Order II, Rule 2, CPC is attracted with equal vigor in this situation as well.
  • Apex Court of India in Devilal v. Sales Tax Officer, Ratlam [AIR 1965 SC 1150], has held on page No. 1153 as follows:
    • Consideration of public policy and the principle of the finality of judgments are important constituents of the rule of law, and they cannot be allowed to be violated just because a citizen contends that his fundamental rights have been contravened by an impugned order and wants liberty to agitate the question about its validity to by filing one writ petition after another….If constructive res judicata is not applied to such proceedings a party can file as many writ petitions as he likes and take one or two points every time. That clearly is opposed to considerations of public policy on which res judicata is based and would mean harassment and hardship to the opponent. Besides, if such a course is allowed to be adopted, the doctrine of finality of judgments pronounced by this Court would also be materially affected. We are, therefore, satisfied that the second writ petition filed by the appellant in the present case is barred by constructive res judicata.
  • The above-said decision was followed by the Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in K. Madhadeva Sastry v. Director, Post Graduate Centre, Anantapur [AIR 1982 AP 176, paras. 11 and 13]:
    • 11. Now, so far as the second situation is concerned here too, there cannot be any doubt about the general principle that Order II, Rule 2 would apply. A person who files a suit seeking certain relief regarding a cause of action and who is precluded from instituting another suit for seeking other reliefs regarding the same cause of action, cannot be allowed to invoke the writ jurisdiction of this Court for obtaining the same reliefs. Indeed, if a suit is barred, a writ petition would equally be barred. Public policy underlying Order II, Rule 2, CPC is attracted with equal vigor in this situation as well.
    • 13. Another factor to be borne in mind is that by 1962, the Supreme Court had not even clarified the position about the applicability of the rule of constructive res judicata in writ proceedings. Indeed, the very applicability of the rule of res judicata in writ proceedings came to be raised and discussed in the Daryao case [AIR 1961 SC 1457]. It is only later that the Supreme Court clarified in Devilal v. Sales Tax Officer, Ratlam [AIR 1965 SC 1150] that the rule of constructive res judicata also applies to writ proceedings.
  • In view of the above-said decisions of the Apex Court and the Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, the present writ petition is hit by Order II, Rule 2, CPC. For the reasons mentioned supra, the above writ petition is dismissed.

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Om Ram

Om Ram

Om Ram is currently a 2nd-year LL.B. student at Campus Law Centre, Delhi University. Previously he did Life Sciences from SVC, Delhi University. He shows his life journey by making Legal Vlogs on a YouTube channel named 'Om Ram'. He has interests in Law, Science & Film making. Some of his notable work related to photography and other interests can be seen on his Instagram. He also has a channel named 'Law Planet' where he along with his sister makes videos to make people aware of laws and their rights.
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