Delivered by: Justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli

Subject: Section 92 CPC


The Supreme Court observed that a suit under section 92 CPC is of a representative character and all persons interested in the Trust would be bound by the judgment in the suit. Such persons interested would be barred by the principle of res judicata from instituting a subsequent suit on the same or substantially the same issue.

Ambit of a representative suit under section 92 CPC:

The court referred to Mahant Pragdasji Guru Bhagwandasji v. Patel Ishwarlalbhai Narsibha which had explained the ambit of a representative suit under section 92 CPC:

(i) “The plaintiff can only seek reliefs that fall under any of the clauses in section 92 CPC. A declaration that the suit property belongs to the trust, does not fall under the scope of any of the reliefs enumerated in section 92 CPC and is outside the scope of the provision;

(ii) Merely because the defendant denies the title of the trust over the suit property, the jurisdiction of the court cannot be ousted;

(iii) When the title of the trust is contested, a determination of the title of the suit property is necessary for the purpose of adjudication on the final relief, and thus it can be made ancillary to the main relief if the plaintiff is entitled to the relief sought under Section 92 CPC; and

(iv) If the plaintiff is not entitled to the relief sought, then in that case no determination on the title of the suit property can be made since it would be inconsequential to the final decision in the suit.”

Representative Suit and Res judicata

On the applicability of Res Judicata, the court referred to judgments in Raje Anandrao v. Shamrao, Ahmad Adam Sait v. M E Makhri, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee v. Mahant Harnam Singh C. (Dead) M.N. Singh and R. Venugopala Naidu v.Venkatarayulu Naidu Charities and observed:

It is evident that a representative suit is binding on all the interested parties. Therefore, the judgment of the court in the first suit would be binding on Jamia Masjid and would preclude it from instituting another suit on the same issue if it has been conclusively decided. It is now to be analysed if the substantive issue in the instant suit was conclusively decided in the first suit.