The meaning of the phrase “heard and finally decided” was considered in Krishan Lal v. State of J&K, (1994) 4 SCC 422 where it was held, matter must have been heard on merits to have been “heard and finally decided”. Erach Boman Khavar v. Tukaram Shridhar Bhat, (2013) 15 SCC 655 has held, res judicata can only apply when there has been a conscious adjudication of the issue on merits.
Res judicata cannot apply solely because the issue has previously come up before Court. Doctrine will apply where the issue has been “heard and finally decided” on merits through a conscious adjudication by Court.
– Hon’ble Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, Ebix Singapore Private Ltd. v. Committee of Creditors of Educomp Solutions Limited, [Civil Appeal No. 3224 of 2020].