The Precedent Issue at the Supreme Court

In this op-ed in today’s Express I highlight a pressing, yet underadressed problem in the upper tiers of the Indian judiciary – that of following precedent. As the piece makes clear, more and more cases are not only being appealed to the Supreme Court, but also disproportionately being accepted by it. This would seem to indicate either the High Courts or the Supreme Court itself is having increasing trouble following precedent. This potentially could be because the Supreme Court has simply gotten too big and so coordination challenges between the benches of the Supreme Court have increased.

I do think the Supreme Court needs to better understand how serious this predent problem is and where the most blame lies (in the High Courts or the Supreme Court). Depending on the answer to this question, the judiciary could choose from a set of corrective measures varying from changing how the Court accepts admission matters to having visiting Supreme Court judges sit on High Court benches to strengthen precedent following in High Courts where this seems to be a particular problem. If such corrective actions are not taken the entire system could face a tipping point at which the number of appeals quickly overwhelms the system (some might argue that point has already been passed).

Written by
Nick Robinson
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