Order 2 Rules 1 and 2of the Code for ready reference:
“1. Frame of suit: Every suit shall as far as practicable be framed so as to afford ground for final decision upon the subjects in dispute and to prevent further litigation concerning them.
2. Suit to include the whole claim:
(1) Every suit shall include the whole of the claim which the plaintiff is entitled to make in respect of the cause of action; but a plaintiff may relinquish any portion of his claim in order to bring the suit within the jurisdiction of any Court.
(2) Relinquishment of part of claim: Where a plaintiff omits to sue in respect of, or intentionally relinquishes, any portion of his claim, he shall not afterwards sue in respect of the portion so omitted or relinquished.
(3) Omission to sue for one of several reliefs: A person entitled to more than one relief in respect of the same cause of action may sue for all or any of such reliefs; but if he omits, except with the leave of the court, to sue for all such reliefs, he shall not afterwards sue for any relief so omitted.”
Object of the Rule
The object of Order 2 Rule 2 of the Code is two-fold-
First is to ensure that no defendant is sued and vexed twice in regard to the same cause of action.
Second is to prevent a plaintiff from splitting of claims and remedies based on the same cause of action.
The effect of Order 2 Rule 2 of the Code is to bar a plaintiff who had earlier claimed certain remedies in regard to a cause of action, from filing a second suit in regard to other reliefs based on the same cause of action. It does not however bar a second suit based on a different and distinct cause of action.
Application of the Rule
Supreme Court in Gurbux Singh v. Bhoora Lal [AIR 1964 SC 1810] held:
“In order that a plea of a bar under O. 2, R. 2(3), Civil Procedure Code should succeed the defendant who raises the plea must make out
(1) that the second suit was in respect of the same cause of action as that on which the previous suit was based;
(2) that in respect of that cause of action the plaintiff was entitled to more than one relief;
(3) that being thus entitled to more than one relief the plaintiff without leave obtained from the Court omitted to sue for the relief for which the second suit had been filed.
From this analysis it would be seen that the defendant would have to establish primarily and to start with, the precise cause of action upon which the previous suit was filed for unless there is identity between the cause of action on which the earlier suit was filed and that on which the claim in the latter suit is based there would be no scope for the application of the bar.”
The Supreme Court in ‘Alka Gupta v. Narendra Kumar Gupta (2010)’, the court has said,
“Unless the defendant pleads the bar under Order 2 Rule 2 of the Code and an issue is framed focusing the parties on that bar to the suit, obviously the court cannot examine or reject a suit on that ground. The pleadings in the earlier suit should be exhibited or marked by consent or at least admitted by both parties. The plaintiff should have an opportunity to explain or demonstrate that the second suit was based on a different cause of action.
In this case, the respondent did not contend that the suit was barred by Order 2 Rule 2 of the Code. No issue was framed as to whether the suit was barred by Order 2 Rule 2 of the Code. But the High Court (both the trial bench and appellate bench) have erroneously assumed that a plea of res judicata would include a plea of bar under Order 2 Rule 2 of the Code.
Res judicata relates to the plaintiff’s duty to put forth all the grounds of attack in support of his claim, whereas Order 2 Rule 2 of the Code requires the plaintiff to claim all reliefs flowing from the same cause of action in a single suit.
The two pleas are different and one will not include the other. The dismissal of the suit by the High Court under Order 2 Rule 2 of the Code, in the absence of any plea by the defendant and in the absence of an issue in that behalf, is unsustainable.
Alka Gupta v. Narendra Kumar Gupta (2010)