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judicial precedents in India


It is a notion that means "law produced by judges" and is one of the most important sources of law that is contributing in nature in the form of establishing new laws.

It is a court ruling that will serve as a standard for future decision-making by subordinate courts where the legal circumstances and concerns are same.

In other words, it's something that helps people make better judgments in the future.

The upper judiciary's decisions are binding on the subordinate judiciary. Which implies that the High Court's judgement is followed by the Lower Courts, the Supreme Court's decision is followed by the High Courts, Lower Courts, and the Supreme Court itself is followed by the High Courts, Lower Courts, and the Supreme Court itself.

Where the legal concerns, facts, and circumstances are sufficiently similar, the subordinate courts are compelled to follow.

Meaning & Definition: Judicial precedents refers to a previously established behaviour that serves as an example or rule in later instances.

For example, in the case of Kesavananda Bharati, the Indian Constitution's fundamental structure concept was proposed, which may be used as precedent in cases like Indira Gandhi vs. Raj Narayan, Minerva Mills, and others when the facts and circumstances are similar.

It may be characterised as a ruling by a competent Court of Justice on a contested issue of Law that becomes not only a guidance but an authority to be obeyed by all members of the same system unless reversed by a higher Court of Justice or by law.

Provisions & Enactment:

Following the adoption of the Constitution in 1950, judicial precedents were enacted. The Supreme Court's judgements are discussed under Article 141 of the Indian Constitution.

Article 225 of the Indian Constitution refers to High Court judgements that are binding on their lower courts.

Stare Decisis Doctrine:

"Stare Decisis," which means "to stand by what has been decreed," is a doctrine. This means that judges adhere to previously established legal norms.

Precedents of Various Types:

The term precedent is used to describe a pattern. There are four main types of precedent, including:

Precedents of Absolute Authority:

Which are enforceable in all courts. It binds judges who interpret the law, and they might be considered a legal source of law. It is a legal principle. A ruling of the Supreme Court or any superior Court, for example, is obligated to be followed by the lower courts.

Persuasive Precedents: These are precedents that the courts are not obligated to follow, however they may be used to provide character to a case and are just a historical source of law. It indicates that within the High Court's jurisdiction, the judgement of the High Court is an authoritative precedent, but outside of that jurisdiction, the decision of the High Court is simply guiding or persuasive text books and commentaries. For example, rulings of the Delhi High Court are not required to follow those of the Mumbai High Court; they may or may not, but they must always take the reference into account.

Original Precedents: According to Salmond, original precedents are rules of law that originate or establish new or original rules of law. For example, the formation of new law that was not previously written in a law book.

Declaratory Precedents: These are precedents that simply repeat and apply a previously established norm of law.

Conditional Authoritative Precedents: Decisions by the smallest bench of the High Courts may or may not apply to the divisional bench of the same High Court.


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