Whether the principle of \’Res Judicata\’ applies when the suit is dismissed for default?

It is well settled now that the principle of Res judicata only operates when a case heard and finally decided on merits. The order of ‘dismissed for default\” does not attract any merit of the case and hence, it cannot be said a decision on merit and any action cannot be taken by applying the principle of Res judicata.

When any suit is decided on merit and the appeal against such decision has been dismissed for default, the decision of Trial Court becomes final and therefore, that decision shall be operate as Res judicata. [Ram Gobinda Dawan and ors. v/s. Smt. Bhaktabala (reported in AIR 1971 SC 664)).