JUDICIAL PRECEDENTS IN INDIA

INTRODUCTION: Each developed judiciary has a judicial body that adjudicates national citizens’ rights and obligations. Earlier, customs and their own sense of fairness were the guiding principles of the courts. With the arrival of society, the law becomes the principal source of law and judges determine matters accordingly. The judges also fulfill certain creative duties at this level. In terms of its interpretation or in terms of filling any vacuum in the law, judges to some degree are dependent on their sense of right or wrong. In short, the judgment of a court in India, which is recognized as an authority to rule on similar circumstances and may be used by the courts as a source for future decision-making is a judicial precedent.

“This covers everything that is said or done, which provides a rule for later practice,” says Gray. “There is just reported case law which can be referenced and followed by the courts,” according to Salmond. According to the law. In general, it indicates direction or authority for future cases of past rulings. Justice precedents are only known as decisions like the establishment of a new rule or principle.

ASPECTS OF HISTORY OF THE INDIAN JUDICIAL PRECEDENTS: There were fewer disputes and relatively few occasions for legal proceedings in the ancient civilization. At that time there existed local courts such as shashan, kula, shreni, and puga. They decided on cases within their competence. Because of the lack of suitable sources, there is little possibility to construct the doctrine of precedent. There were also fewer precedents in the medieval era. No precedent doctrine emerged in India as it was developed in Britain, in the lack of a well-oriented judicial system. The current precedent notion began to evolve in British rule. The Government of India Act 1935 expressly stated that all of the other courts’ decisions in British India are bound by the decision of the Federal Courts and the Privy Council. Thus, a defining aspect of our legal system has been the precedent from the 18th century until the date.

POSITION UNDER INDIAN CONSTITUTION: The Indian Constitution, Article 141 specifies that ‘All courts within the territory of India are bound by the law declared by the Supreme Court.’ The term “all courts” in Article 141 raises questions about whether the Supreme Court is within the sphere of all courts. This means whether or not the Supreme Court is bound by its own judgments. The case of Kesavananda Bharti Vs State of Kerala is the most prominent instance of the ruling of the Supreme Court not bound by its own judgments. The Supreme Court has clarified this matter in a number of other cases.

JUDGMENTS WHICH, UNDER ARTICLE 141 OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION, HAVE NO BINDING EFFECT: The following judgments are not regarded as a precedent:-
1) The not articulated judgment.
2) The judgment is not grounded.
3) The case’s Obiter Dicta is not binding, as it has a convincing value.
4) No precedent may be utilized for the judgments made in Per Incuriam. Ignorance is the literal meaning of per incuriam.
5) Judgments not knowingly established on the point of law or on a particular legal subject shall likewise not be binding.
6) No binding comments from the Court on the circumstances of the case.

GENERAL PRINCIPAL OF PRECEDENTS: The Indian High Courts are bound by the Supreme Court’s declared Law. The Supreme Court decisions are binding just as long as the Supreme Court has not overruled them. A High Court’s decisions are binding on all the courts under its competence. The High Court verdict is not binding on other High Courts. The High Courts are the coordinating courts. Therefore, for other high courts, the decision of one high court is of convincing value only. A single judge normally listens to appeals in the high courts, whereas two justices listen to certain appeals including murder, exceptional appeals, etc. In this regard, the various High Courts have various norms. Where an appeal has a significant and complicated legal issue, it is referred to as a Larger Bench. The Division Bench is a bench of two judges. A full bench is made up of three or more judges. On a smaller bench, decisions of a bigger bench are binding. Another bench of equal authority is not constrained by rulings.

ADVANTAGES OF JUDICIAL PRECEDENTS:
1.) Consistency and Predictability– Due to judicial precedents, lawyers are able, after analyzing the precedents in that field, to aid their customers with specific subjects. It ensures that each issue is dealt with and determined in a way comparable to decisions made. Everyone can count on an element of consistency and predictability.

2.) Flexibility– Flexibility in the legal system brings precedents. India’s Supreme Court is not bound by its own judgments. Unless the Supreme Court has revoked them, the regulations laid out by the Supreme Court in a given instance remain in force. This system provides a number of judicial checks and balances. Judges may not write legislation, but it is their task, in every scenario, to interpret the law as precisely as possible. They shape the law under shifting requirements and so make it flexible.

3.) Saves Time of the Courts– Judicial precedents make it very convenient for judges and lawyers to work in a reduced way. Once some specific issues have been settled, in future similar circumstances, it will not be necessary to reassert the same query. This means that judges can spend less time in discussion as they already have access to others’ decisions.

4.) Prevention of Mistakes– If everybody stays on the same page, there is less risk of mistakes. The people’s confidence in the judiciary is reinforced by determining cases on established principles.

DISADVANTAGES OF JUDICIAL PRECEDENTS:
1.) Complexity– It causes complications, as there are so many jurisdictions. To produce new precedents, every judge issues their own view. Judgments are extraordinarily extensive, and determining what is applicable or not is a strain for lawyers and judges who work on a similar subject. The applicable case law in particular becomes a tiresome effort to find out.

2.) Rigid– Precedent practice gives the system stability because judgment by higher courts binds the lower courts. Society is not static and social, economic and other variables change throughout time. A modified interpretation of the law may be necessary under changed circumstances. Binding precedents may actually impede the development of legislation.

CONCLUSION: The final authority for the interpretation of those principles is the Court, whereas legislation and acts of the legislature provide the broad norms that should be utilized in the judgment of the disputes. The theory of previous cases makes court rulings which, in the case of similar or identical questions of law before the court, are often obligatory on subordinate courts. The significant significance of the precedent doctrine is that it gives assurance. The great disadvantage, on the other hand, is that precedents are deemed binding in nature; the growth of legislation that is essential with changes in society may be hindered. The court needs to combine the necessity for clarity and continuity with the desirability of growth and legal progress.

ENDNOTES: https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-6666-precedent-as-a-source-of-law.html

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