[Landmark Judgement] Sarguja Transport Service V. S.T.A.T. (1987) 

Landmark Judgment Law Insider (1)

Published on: 27 July 2023 at 11:33 IST

Court: Supreme Court 

Citation: Sarguja Transport Service v. S.T.A.T. (1987) 

Honourable Supreme Court of India has held when an issue is raised and abandoned in the first Writ Petition which was Dismissed as Withdrawn, then the principles of Constructive Res Judicata which are applied as laid down under Order 23 Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. It is held that principles of Res Judicata are extendable to Writ Proceedings unless a liberty to file a fresh is specifically granted by the Hon’ble Court.

9. The point for consideration is whether a petitioner after withdrawing a writ petition filed by him in the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India without the permission to institute a fresh petition can file a fresh writ petition in the High Court under that article. On this point the decision in Daryao case is of no assistance. But we are of the view that the principle underlying Rule 1 of Order XXIII of the Code should be extended in the interests of administration of justice to cases of withdrawal of writ petition also, not on the ground of res judicata but on the ground of public policy as explained above. It would also discourage the litigant from indulging in bench-hunting tactics.

In any event there is no justifiable reason in such a case to permit a petitioner to invoke the extraordinary jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution once again. While the withdrawal of a writ petition filed in a High Court without permission to file a fresh writ petition may not bar other remedies like a suit or a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India since such withdrawal does not amount to res judicata, the remedy under Article 226 of the Constitution of India should be deemed to have been abandoned by the petitioner in respect of the cause of action relied on in the writ petition when he withdraws it without such permission. In the instant case the High Court was right in holding that a fresh writ petition was not maintainable before it in respect of the same subject-matter since the earlier writ petition had been withdrawn without permission to file a fresh petition.

We, however, make it clear that whatever we have stated in this order may not be considered as being applicable to a writ petition involving the personal liberty of an individual in which the petitioner prays for the issue of a writ in the nature of habeas corpus or seeks to enforce the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution since such a case stands on a different footing altogether. We, however leave this question open.

Drafted By Abhijit Mishra

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