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Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.

Krishnan, Senior Advocate


Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate
LAW OF PRECEDENS

A !recedent is a !revio"s instance or case #hich $"rnishes an


e%a&!'e or r"'e $or s"bse("ent cond"ct, and a !attern "!on #hich
s"bse("ent cond"ct is based. ) Dias, Jurisprudence, 2nd Edn.

E'e&ents o$ a !recedent )
*a+ Concrete decision ) bindin, "!on !arties
*b+ Abstract Princi!'e ) bindin, as an a"thority on a s"bse("ent
-"d,e.

Precedents &ay be divided in the $o''o#in, &anner, accordin, to


Sa'&ond )
. A"thoritative !recedents ) a -"d,e is bo"nd to $o''o#.
/ 'e,a' so"rces o$ 'a#.
. Pers"asive !recedents ) -"d,&ents o$ $orei,n
co"rts, -"dicia dicta and
decisions o$ the Privy Co"nci'
#hen it decides a!!ea' cases
$ro& co'onies.
/ historica' so"rces o$ 'a#.
Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate
01SOR1CAL 2ROW0 OF 0E S3SEM OF PRECEDENS 1N 01SOR1CAL 2ROW0 OF 0E S3SEM OF PRECEDENS 1N
EN2LAND EN2LAND

1nitia''y be,an beca"se &edieva' -"d,es considered the&se'ves


char,ed #ith the d"ty o$ ascertainin, and dec'arin, and en$orcin,
conte&!orary c"sto&s and "sa,es.

4y the 56th cent"ry, it beca&e an inte,ra' !art o$ the co&&on 'a#


syste&. Lord Mansfield had conso'idated and rea$$ir&ed the doctrine
o$ -"dicia' consistency, and dec'ared ) 7La# does not consist o$
!artic"'ar cases, b"t o$ ,enera' !rinci!'es8.

4y the 59th cent"ry, Lord Tenterden C.J. ) :Decisions o$ o"r


!redecessors, the -"d,es o$ $or&er ti&es, o",ht to be $o''o#ed and
ado!ted "n'ess #e can see very c'ear'y that they are erroneo"s, $or
other#ise there #i'' be no certainty in the ad&inistration o$ 'a#.;

Prof. Holdsworth in the <=th cent"ry, :A certain e'e&ent o$


conservation is needed, and the reservations #ith #hich the En,'ish
syste& o$ case 'a# is received, enab'e the -"d,es #ithin $air'y #ide
'i&its to a!!'y to o'd !recedents, a !rocess o$ se'ection and re-ection
#hich brin,s the 'a# into con$or&ity #ith &odern conditions. his is
o$ten e%!ressed as the ,o'den &ean bet#een too &"ch $'e%ibi'ity and
too &"ch ri,idity.;
Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate
01ERAC03 OF A>0OR13 FOR OPERA1ON OF
PRECEDENS 1N EN2LAND

0o"se o$ Lords 0o"se o$ Lords

4o"nd by its o#n decisions. 4o"nd by its o#n decisions.

1ts decisions bind a'' co"rts be'o# it. 1ts decisions bind a'' co"rts be'o# it.

Not bo"nd #hen decision is &ade in i,norance o$ stat"te, or #here Not bo"nd #hen decision is &ade in i,norance o$ stat"te, or #here
the !rinci!'e is obsc"re, or #here it is o"t o$ 'ine #ith estab'ished the !rinci!'e is obsc"re, or #here it is o"t o$ 'ine #ith estab'ished
!rinci!'es and other a"thorities. ?Decided in !rinci!'es and other a"thorities. ?Decided in Scr"ttons Ltd. @.Mid'and Scr"ttons Ltd. @.Mid'and
Si'icones Ltd. ) *59A<+ AC BBA *0L+ Si'icones Ltd. ) *59A<+ AC BBA *0L+C C

Privy Co"nci' Privy Co"nci'

Not bo"nd by its o#n decisions, b"t ,reat res!ect is !aid. Not bo"nd by its o#n decisions, b"t ,reat res!ect is !aid.

Co"rt o$ Civi' A!!ea' Co"rt o$ Civi' A!!ea'

4inds a'' in$erior civi' co"rts. 4inds a'' in$erior civi' co"rts.

4o"nd by its o#n decisions *Decided in 59BB+ 4o"nd by its o#n decisions *Decided in 59BB+

Not bo"nd #hen ) Not bo"nd #hen )

con$'ict bet#een its o#n decisions ) it has to chose. con$'ict bet#een its o#n decisions ) it has to chose.

When decisions tho",h not overr"'ed, cannot stand #ith the When decisions tho",h not overr"'ed, cannot stand #ith the
decisions o$ the 0o"se o$ Lords. decisions o$ the 0o"se o$ Lords.

1$ ,iven in i,norance o$ a stat"te or r"'e havin, stat"tory e$$ect. 1$ ,iven in i,norance o$ a stat"te or r"'e havin, stat"tory e$$ect.
?0e'd in the ?0e'd in the 4risto' Aero!'ane Case ) *59BB+ 5 K4 D56+ 4risto' Aero!'ane Case ) *59BB+ 5 K4 D56+C C
Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate
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Co"rt o$ Cri&ina' A!!ea'

4o"nd by its o#n !revio"s decisions

4o"nd by those o$ its !redecessors.

Not bo"nd by decisions o$ the Co"rt o$ A!!ea'

Not bo"nd by its o#n decisions #hen /

A decision not ar,"ed on both sides

A decision that invo'ves 'iberty o$ the citiFens #hich is o$ "t&ost


i&!ortance.
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0i,h Co"rt

Creates a bindin, !recedent $or a'' 'o#er co"rts.

1n case o$ an ear'ier decision o$ the sa&e 0i,h Co"rt by a bench o$


e("a' stren,th, deter&ination sho"'d be by bench o$ ,reater stren,th.

Present 0i,h Co"rts not bo"nd by decisions o$ o'd co"rts o$ co/ordinate


-"risdiction, a'tho",h they have !ers"asive va'"e.
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Divisiona' Co"rt

Carries ,reater #ei,ht than the decisions o$ a !"isne -"d,e, b"t cannot
overr"'e that.

Since recent'y, bo"nd by its o#n decisions.


Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate
DOCTRINE OF PRECEDENT IN INDIA A BRITISH LEGACY

Pre/1nde!endence

Accordin, to S.<5< o$ the 2ovt o$ 1ndia Act, 59GH / La# 'aid do#n by
Federa' Co"rt and any -"d,&ent o$ the Privy Co"nci' is bindin, on a''
co"rts o$ 4ritish 1ndia ) Privy Co"nci' #as s"!re&e -"dicia' a"thority )
A1R 59<H PC <D<.

Post/1nde!endence
SC beca&e the s"!re&e -"dicia' a"thority ) strea&'ined syste& o$
co"rts estab'ished.

S"!re&e Co"rt

4indin, on a'' co"rts in 1ndia.

Not bo"nd by its o#n decisions, or decisions o$ PC or Federa' Co"rt )


A1R 5995 SC <5DA

0i,h Co"rts

4indin, on a'' co"rts #ithin its o#n -"risdiction

On'y !ers"asive va'"e $or co"rts o"tside its o#n -"risdiction.

1n case o$ con$'ict #ith decision o$ sa&e co"rt and bench o$ e("a'


stren,th, re$erred to a hi,her bench.

Decisions o$ PC and $edera' co"rt are bindin, as 'on, as they don8t


con$'ict #ith decisions o$ SC.

Lo#er co"rts

4o"nd to $o''o# decisions o$ hi,her co"rts in its o#n state, in !re$erence


to hi,h co"rts o$ other states.
Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate
CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS REGARDING PRECEDENTS OF
THE SC SCOPE OF Art. 141

Art. 5B5 states, :he 'a# dec'ared by the SC sha'' be bindin, on a''
co"rts #ithin the territory o$ 1ndia.

he SC -"d,e&ents as bet#een the 'iti,ants are decisions, as to the


nation, they are dec'aratory o$ the 'a# ) A1R 596= SC <6A

0o#ever, Art. 5B5 does not &ean or i&!'y that the 'a# once dec'ared
by the SC cannot be a'tered by a co&!etent 'e,is'at"re ) A1R 59H5
4o&. BG6. 1$, by an a&end&ent the 'a# is chan,ed, the a&end&ent
#o"'d not a$$ect Art. 5B5 beca"se the dec'aration itse'$ #o"'d co&e to
an end #ith the chan,e o$ the 'a#.

1n 599H *A+ SCC A5B, the SC dec'ared, 7he co"rt, as a #in, o$ a state,
is itse'$ a so"rce o$ 'a#. he 'a# is #hat the SC says it is8. his $a&o"s
state&ent o$ the co"rt has been ,reat'y criticiFed as it ,ives e%cess
!o#er to the co"rts, and ne,'ects the conce!t o$ se!aration o$ !o#ers.

he ob-ective o$ this !rovision is to ens"re that the SC &ay dec'are 'a#


or !ass necessary &eas"res that are necessary to do co&!'ete -"stice
) A1R 59AD SC 5ABG.

A &inority -"d,&ent o$ the SC is not a bindin, !recedent, b"t bein, a


-"d,&ent o$ a -"d,eI-"d,es o$ the hi,hest co"rt, it has ,reat !ers"asive
va'"e ) A1R 59A6 2"- 5<B
Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate

0o#ever a decision is a !recedent on'y #hen it decides a ("estion 0o#ever a decision is a !recedent on'y #hen it decides a ("estion
o$ 'a# and not other#ise ) o$ 'a# and not other#ise ) 599< *5+ SLR GGH*SC+ 599< *5+ SLR GGH*SC+ Decisions o$ the Decisions o$ the
SC as to as to $acts cannot be cited as !recedents ) SC as to as to $acts cannot be cited as !recedents ) A1R 59A= SC A1R 59A= SC
59H 59H

he 0C in the na&e o$ inter!retin, the -"d,e&ent o$ the SC cannot he 0C in the na&e o$ inter!retin, the -"d,e&ent o$ the SC cannot
sit in a!!ea' and &odi$y it ) sit in a!!ea' and &odi$y it ) A1R 596A SC 5BHH A1R 596A SC 5BHH

he SC sho"'d not &aJe any !rono"nce&ent on any ("estion he SC sho"'d not &aJe any !rono"nce&ent on any ("estion
#hich is not strict'y necessary $or the dis!osa' o$ the !artic"'ar case #hich is not strict'y necessary $or the dis!osa' o$ the !artic"'ar case
be$ore it / be$ore it / A1R 59H9 SC 5B9 A1R 59H9 SC 5B9

1n the case o$ 1n the case o$ A1R 596= SC <5BD A1R 596= SC <5BD, the SC reco&&ended the $ra&in, , the SC reco&&ended the $ra&in,
o$ ,"ide'ines in the e%ercise o$ !o#er "nder Art. D< and 5A5. 1t #as o$ ,"ide'ines in the e%ercise o$ !o#er "nder Art. D< and 5A5. 1t #as
he'd that the co"rt 'aid do#n a &ere reco&&endation, not a ratio he'd that the co"rt 'aid do#n a &ere reco&&endation, not a ratio
decidendi, and there$ore did not &ind the Constit"tion bench in a decidendi, and there$ore did not &ind the Constit"tion bench in a
s"bse("ent case. A'tho",h the Co"rt &ay reco&&end the $ra&in, s"bse("ent case. A'tho",h the Co"rt &ay reco&&end the $ra&in,
o$ ,"ide'ines, s"ch a reco&&endation is not bindin, "!on the 2ovt. o$ ,"ide'ines, s"ch a reco&&endation is not bindin, "!on the 2ovt.

1n case o$ a con$'ict bet#een t#o SC -"d,&ents by benches o$ e("a' 1n case o$ a con$'ict bet#een t#o SC -"d,&ents by benches o$ e("a'
stren,th, it has been he'd that the 'ater decision has to be $o''o#ed, stren,th, it has been he'd that the 'ater decision has to be $o''o#ed,
it havin, i&!'ied'y overr"'ed the ear'ier decision ) it havin, i&!'ied'y overr"'ed the ear'ier decision ) A1R 596= SC A1R 596= SC
59HH 59HH. 0o#ever, i$ one o$ the decisions &ore '"cid'y e%!'ains the . 0o#ever, i$ one o$ the decisions &ore '"cid'y e%!'ains the
sit"ation, #hi'e the other 'eaves it o!en, the '"cid decision has to be sit"ation, #hi'e the other 'eaves it o!en, the '"cid decision has to be
taJen into acco"nt / taJen into acco"nt / A1R 596D Pat. HG. A1R 596D Pat. HG. his ho#ever, #o"'d his ho#ever, #o"'d
de!end "!on the $acts o$ each individ"a' case. de!end "!on the $acts o$ each individ"a' case.

When the SC, #ith de'iberate intent o$ sett'in, the 'a#, !rono"nces When the SC, #ith de'iberate intent o$ sett'in, the 'a#, !rono"nces
"!on a ("estion, it #o"'d be 'a# "nder Art. 5B5. Once the 'a# is "!on a ("estion, it #o"'d be 'a# "nder Art. 5B5. Once the 'a# is
dec'ared, it is not !ossib'e to han, onto a contrary vie# o$ the 0C dec'ared, it is not !ossib'e to han, onto a contrary vie# o$ the 0C
&ere'y beca"se it has not been s!eci$ica''y overr"'ed by the SC. &ere'y beca"se it has not been s!eci$ica''y overr"'ed by the SC.
Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate
ELEMENTS OF A JUDGEMENT RATIO DECIDENDI AND OBITER
DICTA

RA1O DEC1DEND1

he dictionary &eanin, o$ this Latin e%!ression, is the 7r"'e o$ 'a# on


#hich a -"dicia' decision is &ade8, or 7reason $or decidin,8.

Every decision has G basic !ost"'ates )


iv. Findin,s o$ $acts both direct and in$erentia'
v. State&ent o$ !rinci!'es a!!'icab'e to the 'e,a' !rob'e&s as disc'osed by
$acts
vi. K"d,e&ent based on the co&bined e$$ect o$ the above.

o consider the ratio decidendi o$ a case, the SC has to ascertain the


!rinci!'e "!on #hich it #as decided. his is so&eti&es di$$ic"'t in cases
#here diver,ent vie#s are e%!ressed by di$$erent -"d,es, b"t event"a''y
the $ina' decision is taJen.

A decision is bindin, not beca"se o$ its conc'"sion, b"t in re,ard to its


ratio and the !rinci!'e 'aid do#n therein. 2enera' state&ents &ade
beyond the ratio decidendi have &ere !ers"asive va'"e on'y. his #as
he'd in *599A+ A SCC BB.

A case is on'y an a"thority $or #hat it decides, and not $ro& #hat
'o,ica''y $o''o#s $ro& it ) he'd in A1R 59AD SC 5=DG

A'tho",h the decidendi can be a!!'ied to si&i'ar cases on basis o$ $act


and 'a#, the SC has said that care &"st be taJen to ens"re that it is not
a!!'ied &echanica''y.
Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate

O41ER D1CA

Obiter dicta is a !ud"e#s e$pression of opinion uttered in court, or while


"i%in" !ud"e&ent, but not essential to the decision and not part of the
ratio decidendi.#

1t a'so &eans an incidenta' re&arJ, or so&ethin, said in !assin,.

Nor&a''y, even an obiter dict"& is e%!ected to be obeyed and $o''o#ed.


he obiter dicta o$ the SC are entit'ed to considerab'e #ei,ht ) A1R 599H
SC 5D<9, A1R 59H9 SC 65B.

0o#ever, the #ei,ht accorded to dicta varies #ith the ty!e o$ dict"&.
Mere cas"a' e%!ressions carry no #ei,ht at a''. Not every !assin,
e%!ression o$ a -"d,e, no &atter ho# e&inent cannot be treated as a
havin, the #ei,ht o$ a"thority. 1n so&e cases, the obiter dicta o$ the
co"rt #i'' have &ere reco&&endatory e$$ect, and the ,overn&ent or
!arties to the case are not bo"nd by the&.

1n 1ndia, it has been he'd by the 4o&bay 0C, that the obiter dicta o$ the
PC #ere bindin, on a'' co"rts in 1ndia, on the ,ro"nd that i$ the hi,hest
co"rt o$ a!!ea' had a!!'ied its &ind and decided a ("estion, -"dicia'
disci!'ine re("ired that the decision sho"'d be $o''o#ed ) HA 4o&
L.R.55HA.

1n En,'and obiter dicta are not bindin, on any co"rt ) 0a'sb"ry, @o' <<,
!. D9D.
Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate
PER 1NC>R1AM

'ncuria# 'itera''y &eans 7carelessness8 and the !hrase 7!er inc"ria&8 is


"sed to describe -"d,&ents that are de'ivered #ith i,norance o$ so&e
stat"te or r"'e.

1t is #e''/sett'ed in the En,'ish doctrine o$ !recedents that a -"d,e&ent


rendered in i,norance o$ a stat"te, or a r"'e havin, stat"tory $orce, #hich
#o"'d have a$$ected the res"'t is not bindin, on a co"rt other#ise bo"nd
by its o#n decisions. 1n London Street ra&#ays Co. v. London Co"nty
Co"nci' ) *5696+ AC GDH, the 0o"se o$ Lords reco,niFed that s"ch a
-"d,&ent #as an e%ce!tion to the r"'e that the 0o"se o$ Lords #as
abso'"te'y bo"nd by its o#n -"d,&ents.

he sa&e e%ce!tion #as reco,niFed by the Co"rt o$ A!!ea' in the 4risto'


Aero!'ane case ) *59BB+ 5K4 D56. he co"rt ,ave the e%!'anation :1t
cannot be ri,ht to say that in s"ch a case the co"rt is entit'ed to
disre,ard the stat"tory !rovision and is bo"nd to $o''o# a decision o$ its
o#n #hen that !rovision #as not !resent to its &ind. Cases o$ this
descri!tion are e%a&!'es o$ decisions ,iven !er inc"ria&.;

he Co"rt o$ A!!ea' in More''e Ltd v WaJe'in, ?59HHC 5 A'' ER D=6,


?59HHC < L4 GD9 stated that as a ,enera' r"'e the on'y cases in #hich
decisions sho"'d be he'd to have been ,iven !er inc"ria& are those o$
decisions ,iven in i,norance or $or,et$"'ness o$ so&e inconsistent
stat"tory !rovision or o$ so&e a"thority bindin, on the co"rt concernedM
so that in s"ch cases so&e !art o$ the decision or so&e ste! in the
reasonin, on #hich it is based is $o"nd, on that acco"nt, to be
de&onstrab'y #ron,.
Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate

NA decision is ,iven !er inc"ria& #hen the co"rt has acted NA decision is ,iven !er inc"ria& #hen the co"rt has acted
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1n i,norance o$ a !revio"s decision o$ its o#n or o$ a co"rt o$ co/ 1n i,norance o$ a !revio"s decision o$ its o#n or o$ a co"rt o$ co/
ordinate -"risdiction #hi'e covered the case be$ore it, in #hich case it ordinate -"risdiction #hi'e covered the case be$ore it, in #hich case it
&"st decide #hich case to $o''o#, or &"st decide #hich case to $o''o#, or
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When it has acted in i,norance o$ a 0o"se o$ Lords decision, in When it has acted in i,norance o$ a 0o"se o$ Lords decision, in
#hich case it &"st $o''o# that decisionO or #hich case it &"st $o''o# that decisionO or
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When the decision is ,iven in i,norance o$ the ter&s o$ a stat"te or When the decision is ,iven in i,norance o$ the ter&s o$ a stat"te or
r"'e havin, stat"tory $orce. r"'e havin, stat"tory $orce.

A decision sho"'d not be treated as ,iven !er inc"ria&, ho#ever, A decision sho"'d not be treated as ,iven !er inc"ria&, ho#ever,
si&!'y beca"se o$ a de$iciency o$ !arties, or beca"se the Co"rt had si&!'y beca"se o$ a de$iciency o$ !arties, or beca"se the Co"rt had
not the bene$it o$ the best ar,"&ent, and, as a ,enera' r"'e, the on'y not the bene$it o$ the best ar,"&ent, and, as a ,enera' r"'e, the on'y
cases in #hich decisions sho"'d be he'd to be ,iven !er inc"ria& cases in #hich decisions sho"'d be he'd to be ,iven !er inc"ria&
are those ,iven in i,norance o$ so&e inconsistent stat"te or bindin, are those ,iven in i,norance o$ so&e inconsistent stat"te or bindin,
a"thority. Even i$ a decision o$ the Co"rt o$ A!!ea' has a"thority. Even i$ a decision o$ the Co"rt o$ A!!ea' has
&isinter!reted a !revio"s decision o$ the 0o"se o$ Lords, the Co"rt &isinter!reted a !revio"s decision o$ the 0o"se o$ Lords, the Co"rt
o$ A!!ea' &"st $o''o# its !revio"s decision and 'eave the 0o"se o$ o$ A!!ea' &"st $o''o# its !revio"s decision and 'eave the 0o"se o$
Lords to recti$y the &istaJeN. Lords to recti$y the &istaJeN.

he 'a# is the sa&e in 1ndia, and a -"d,&ent rendered in i,norance he 'a# is the sa&e in 1ndia, and a -"d,&ent rendered in i,norance
o$ a re'evant constit"tiona' or stat"tory !rovision is not bindin, "!on o$ a re'evant constit"tiona' or stat"tory !rovision is not bindin, "!on
any co"rt in 1ndia. his !rinci!'e has been acce!ted by the SC in any co"rt in 1ndia. his !rinci!'e has been acce!ted by the SC in
severa' cases inc'"din, severa' cases inc'"din, *5966+ < SCC A=<, A1R 59HH SC AA5, 596H *5966+ < SCC A=<, A1R 59HH SC AA5, 596H
S"! SCC <6=, *<===+ B SCC <A< S"! SCC <6=, *<===+ B SCC <A< and recent'y in and recent'y in *<==D+ D SCC AAD. *<==D+ D SCC AAD.
Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate
DOCR1NE OF SARE DEC1S1S DOCR1NE OF SARE DEC1S1S

he dictionary &eanin, o$ this !hrase is :the 'e,a' !rinci!'e o$ deter&inin,


!oints in 'iti,ation accordin, to !recedent;

he doctrine o$ stare decisis is invoJed #hen the reversa' o$ a decision,


$o''o#ed $or a considerab'e 'en,th o$ ti&e, is 'iJe'y to serio"s'y e&barrass
those #ho had, re'yin, "!on its !artic"'ar inter!retation o$ a stat"te, #o"'d
$ind the&se'ves $r"strated by a di$$erent inter!retation.

he co"rt sho"'d as $ar as !ossib'e sticJ to the doctrine o$ stare decisis.


One o$ the chie$ reasons is that a &atter that has once been $"''y ar,"ed
and decided sho"'d not be a''o#ed to be reo!ened.

0o#ever, this is not a "niversa' co&&and. 1$ the r"'e #ere to be $o''o#ed


b'ind'y, it #o"'d st"nt chan,e, and the ,ro#th o$ society. Where !"b'ic
interest is invoJed, and #here the ("estion is one o$ constit"tiona'
constr"ction, the doctrine &ay be de!arted $ro&) A1R 59HG SC <H<.

he i&!ortant !rinci!'es in reconsiderin, the decisions o$ the SC #ere set


o"t in the 4en,a' 1&&"nity case ) A1R 59HH SC AA5. he SC said there is
nothin, to !revent the SC $ro& de!artin, $ro& a !revio"s decision i$ it is
convinced o$ its error and its bane$"' e$$ect on the ,enera' interst o$ the
!"b'ic. 0o#ever, this !o#er o$ revie# &"st be e%ercised #ith d"e care
and ca"tion and on'y $or advancin, !"b'ic #e''/bein,.
Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate
1MPORANCE OF D1SSEN1N2 K>D2EMENS

he i&!ortance o$ dissentin, -"d,e&ents #as disc"ssed in detai' in


the En,'ish case o$ S&ith v. Centra' Asbestos Co. Ltd ) *59DG+ AC
H56 *a'so ca''ed the Dodd8s case+, and 'ater in the case o$ 1n Re
0ar!er v. NC4 ) *59DB+ < WLR DDH. 1n the Dodd8s case, Lord
Dennin, stated that 7We can on'y re'y "!on the reasonin, #hich the
&a-ority re'ied "!on to de'iver the -"d,&ent. We cannot "se the
reasonin, o$ the &inority, beca"se it &"st be #ron,, as they have
co&e to the #ron, -"d,&ent8. he reason behind this is that, a
dissentin, -"d,&ent va'"ab'e and i&!ortant, tho",h it &ay cannot
co"nt as !art o$ the ratio, $or it !'ayed no !art in the co"rt8s reachin,
their decision. his o!inion o$ Lord Dennin, as been ,reat'y criticised.

We ado!t a di$$erent !rinci!'e in 1ndia, re,ardin, the i&!ortance o$


dissentin, -"d,&ents. Art. 5BH o$ the Constit"tion c'ear'y ,ives -"d,es
the !o#er to di$$er $ro& the &a-ority and de'iver their o#n -"d,&ent,
#hi'e a n"&ber o$ cases thro",h the years have estab'ished that
a'tho",h dissentin, -"d,&ents are not bindin, "!on the co"rt, they
have ,reat !ers"asive va'"e.

When there is on'y one ("estion be$ore the Co"rt, #here the -"d,es
a,ree on a ,enera' !rinci!'e o$ 'a#, b"t di$$er as to its s!eci$ic
a!!'ication in the case, the ratio o$ the case &"st be identi$ied and
that a'one is bindin,.
Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate

1n the De'hi La#s case ) *59HH+ 5 SCR <96, severa' Jinds o$ de'e,ation
#as "!he'd by the -"d,es, b"t no !rinci!'e co"'d be ded"ced $ro& it as
a'' the -"d,es de'ivered di$$erent o!inions. 1$ a !attern co"'d be identi$ied
$ro& s"ch a case, that a'one #o"'d be bindin, in s"bse("ent cases.

he i&!ortance o$ dissentin, -"d,&ents is best s"&&ed "! by the


$o''o#in, 'ines in the case o$ A1R 59DA SC 5<=D, #here the co"rt he'd,
:Whi'e it is re,rettab'e that -"d,es &ay not a'#ays a,ree, it is better that
their inde!endence sho"'d be &aintained and reco,niFed, than that
"nani&ity sho"'d be sec"red thro",h sacri$ice. A dissent in the co"rt o$
'ast resort is an a!!ea' to the broodin, s!irit o$ the 'a#, to the
inte''i,ence o$ a $"t"re day, #hen a 'ater decision &ay !ossib'y correct
the error #hich the dissentin, -"d,e be'ieves the co"rt to have &ade.;
Dissentin, -"d,&ents th"s can a'#ays be "sed $or !ers"asive va'"e.
Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate
LANDMARK CASES WHERE THE SUPREME COURT HAS LAID DOWN NEW LANDMARK CASES WHERE THE SUPREME COURT HAS LAID DOWN NEW
GUIDING PRINCIPLES GUIDING PRINCIPLES

@ishaJa case ) A1R 599D SC G=55


he SC 'aid do#n ,"ide'ines $or the !revention o$ se%"a' harrass&ent o$
#o&en at the #orJ!'ace and reco&&ended that the ,ovt enact a 'a# $or
the sa&e. S"ch 'a# havin, not yet co&e into $orce, ti'' date, the ,"ide'ines
,iven by the co"rt in this case are bein, considered as havin, the $orce o$
'e,is'ation.

M.C.Mehta v. >O1 ) A1R 596D SC 5=6A


he co"rt 'aid do#n a ne# r"'e o$ strict and abso'"te 'iabii'ty in res!ect o$
haFardo"s and inherent'y dan,ereo"s activities. his conce!t #as initia''y
born in En,'and in the case o$ Ry'ands v. F'etcher ) *56A6+ LR G 0L GG=.

@ineet Narain v. >O1 / *5996+ 5 SCC <<A.


he SC 'aid do#n 7Seven !rinci!'es ,overnin, !"b'ic 'i$e8. he Co"rt a'so
,ave directions $or the settin, "! o$ the Centra' @i,i'ance Co&&ission to
,overn the #orJin, o$ the C41.

P>CL v. >O1 and othrs ) sti'' ,oin, on.


he SC has ti'' date !assed severa' orders directin, the !ro!er
en$orce&ent o$ the vario"s sche&es re'atin, to $ood distrib"tion. 1t has
a'so ,iven a set o$ ,"ide'ines $or the re,"'ation o$ these sche&es.

1n K"'y <==D, the co"rt !assed an order detai'in, the !rinci!'es 'aid do#n
by the 0on8b'e S"!re&e Co"rt in re'ation to Co!yri,ht in derivative #orJsO
and its o#n -"d,e&ent !"b'ications. he test $or ori,ina'ity in derivative
#orJs havin, been c'ear'y 'aid do#n, the K"d,&ent #o"'d serve as a
,"idin, $orce in the area o$ co!yri,hts.
Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate Presented by Mr. M.S.Krishnan, Senior Advocate
CIRCUMSTANCES WEAKENING THE BINDING FORCE OF
PRECEDENTS
5. Reversa'
<. Overr"'in,
G. Re$"sa' to $o''o#
B. Distin,"ishin,
H. 1,norance o$ Stat"te ) Per inc"ria&
A. Precedent s"b si'entio or not $"''y ar,"ed
D. inconsistency #ith ear'ier decisions o$ hi,her co"rts
6. 1nconsistency #ith ear'ier decisions o$ the sa&e ranJ
9. Decisions o$ e("a''y divided co"rts
5=. Erroneo"s Decisions