Stare decisis is also known as the concept of precedent, which means the decision taken by the higher courts shall be followed/binding on the lower courts, which stands as a precedent to the lower courts. This gives the law finality and maintains consistency and permanence.
Principle settled, accepted, and acted upon for a long should not be easily departed from. While departing from the settled law or practice, the courts cannot ignore the harm that is likely to happen by unsettling the law that has been settled.
This principle was initially coined in medieval England and America, where the courts looked into the judgment of earlier cases as guidance also had the power to reject those which they do not consider good or which they considered bad in their judgment.
Article 141 of the Indian Constitution states that “Any law declared by Supreme Court to be binding on all courts within the territory of India.” Therefore, while applying the decision of S.C. by other courts, what is required is to understand the right principle laid down by the previous decision.
The Supreme Court referring to Muktul vs. Manbhari, AIR 1958 SC 918; and relying upon the observations of the Apex Court in Mishri Lal vs. Dhirendra Nath (1999) 4 SCC 11, observed in Union of India vs. Azadi Bachao Andolan (2003) 263 ITR at 726: “A decision which has been followed for a long period of time, and has been acted upon by persons in the formation of contracts or in the disposition of their property, or in the general conduct of affairs, or in legal proceedings or in other ways, will generally be followed by courts of higher authority other than the court establishing the rule, even though the court before whom the matter arises afterward might be of a different view.”
Following the Precedents has its own advantages and disadvantages too, here are some of those advantages and disadvantages: