Doctrine of Stare Decisis in India

Application of principle of Binding Precedent on court of record.

A court of record is bound to follow its own record i.e. its previous decision on the subject. But how far this principle can go? Can a court not change it’s view even if it is erroneous or has become perverse in the course of time?

In England, the Court of Appeal has imposed upon its power of review of earlier precedents a limitation, subject to certain exceptions. The limitation thus accepted is that it is bound to follow its own decisions and those of courts of Co-ordinate jurisdiction, and the “full” Court is in the same position in this respect as a division Court consisting of three members. The only exceptions to this rule are: (1) the Court is entitled and bound to decide which of the two conflicting decisions of its own it will follow; (2) the Court is bound to refuse to follow a decision of its own which, though not expressly overruled, cannot, in its opinion stand with a decision of the House of Lords; and (3) the Court is not bound to follow a decision of its own, if it is satisfied that the decision was given per incuriam, e.g., where a Statute or a rule having statutory effect which would have affected the decision was not brought to the attention of the earlier Court.

Supreme Court of India in it’s the first recorded instance being called upon to consider whether it could overrule an earlier decision rendered by it. After referring to Doctrine of Stare Decisis and English laws leaning in favour of Doctrine and practice of USA Supreme Courts in American law on the subject, it ruled: Continue reading “Doctrine of Stare Decisis in India”

Precedent in House of Lords – Practice Statement of 1966.

Practice Statement 1966 – House of Lords




  ‘Before judgments are delivered today, I wish to make the following statement on behalf of myself and the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary:

  “Their Lordships regard the use of precedent as an indispensable foundation upon which to decide what is the law and its application to individual cases It provides at least some degree of certainty upon which individuals can rely in the conduct of their affairs, as well as a basis for orderly development of legal rules.

  “Their Lordships nevertheless recognise that too rigid adherence to precedent may lead to injustice in a particular case and also unduly restrict the proper development of the law. They propose therefore to modify their present practice and, while treating former decisions of this House as normally binding, to depart from a previous decision when it appears right to do so.

  “In this connection they will bear in mind the danger of disturbing retrospectively the basis on which contracts, settlements of property and fiscal arrangements have been entered into and also the especial need for certainty as to the criminal law.

  “This announcement is not intended to affect the use of precedent elsewhere than in this House.”‘

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