Stare Decisis, Not Logic Intolerant

‘Stare Decisis’ is a Latin phrase which means “to stand by decided cases; to uphold precedents; to maintain former adjudication.” SC in Paragraph 26-A, Indra Sawhney, (1992) 3 SCC 217 observed, in law, certainty/consistency/continuity are highly desirable features. Doctrine of Stare Decisis is not an ‘imprisonment of reason. Concepts are good servants but bad masters. Rules, which are originally designed to fit social needs, develop into concepts. It then proceeds to take on a life of their own to the detriment of legal development. The resulting jurisprudence of concepts produces a slot-machine approach to law whereby new points posing questions of social policy are decided, not by reference to the underlying social situation but, by reference to the meaning and definition of the legal concepts involved.

The trend of judicial opinion, in our view, is, Stare Decisis is not a dogmatic rule allergic to logic and reason; it is a flexible principle of law operating in the province of precedents providing room to collaborate with the demands of changing times dictated by social needs, State policy and judicial conscience.”

Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Justice R.C. Lahoti, Mirzapur Moti, (2005) 8 SCC 534.

Also see, Sri Jagannath Temple v. Siddha Math, [Civil Appeal No. 7729 of 2009] decided on 16.12.2015.