On the floors of the Courtroom, arguments act as catalyzing substance, which changes the viewpoint in an overall aspect or to a partial view; leading to the rise of different opinions on which one is right or wrong. The coordinate Benches would precisely follow the laws of precedent and the decisions adhered to by a Court on the mentioned facts. The decision to coordinate Bench upon clashing with other Bench would look precisely at the precedents of various principles and facts of the Case. However, lower courts may refer to the precedents of higher courts rendering to have clear visibility of the judgement pronounced and decide on the point of law. As the Benches suffer from conflicting judgments on various decisions, thoughts and variances in point of law. The prevalence of the doctrine of Per incuriam means a lack of care when a judgment is decided on basis of the previous precedent of any Court without paying any attention to statutory provisions of the law, significant custom is maintained by the Court while pronouncing judgment as the Lower Courts are free to follow the precedent that is adjudicated by other Superior Courts. Salmond in the view of precedent of judicial decision “contains in itself a principle. The underlying principle thus forms the authoritative element is termed as ratio decidendi which has the force of law at the world”[1]. The principle of stare decisis is meant for consideration when the Court stands by the decided cases which lays a precedent as the decision is an observation precluded from the judgment. It is however upon the decision of the judge that it may refer to precedents of other subordinate Courts or may seek a justification from the Apex Court. Referencing the case, Amar Singh Yadav v. Shanta Devi[2], it raises the issue that there is a direct conflict between the decisions of the Supreme Court rendered by co-equal Benches which of them should be followed by the High Courts; an answer to it, the judicial system in India is based on the doctrines of ‘stare decision and ‘precedent’. The Supreme Court observed that in a precedent-bound judicial system the authorities need to be respected and develop the procedure of law as a new evolution.


Courts are in the advent of maintaining judicial organization, supervising laws, authoritative precedent, harmonizing decisions and unifying the distinct structure. Apparently, coordination of the Benches of High Courts and the Supreme Court can reconcile with their owner’s decisions. With the inconsistencies and lack of ambiguity, the system fails to provide requisite decisions which often leads to conflicts. In the context of Article 141[3] of the Constitution of India, the decisions of the Supreme Court are binding on all High Courts and other Subordinate Courts to ensure uniformity and certainty by reason to avoid conflicting decisions. In the case of, Jadab Chandra Pradhan v. Smt. Kausalya Pradhan[4], case decided in the High Court of Orissa as the conflict was between two judgements to furnish single judges of the Court accordingly, it gave rise to conflict between the two coordinate Benches and the subordinate Courts shall refer to the previous judgments while coordinate Benches is followed up by the subordinate Courts which overrules the previous ones. Thus, in the case of, Jamuna Rai v. Chandra Dip Rai [5], it was held that the decision of the High Court while, not noticing the earlier decisions by the Court, which leads to a conflicting decision. In the Atma Ram v. State of Punjab [6] , the two Full Bench’s decisions of the Punjab High Court which were conflicting with each other brought under the view of the Supreme Court so that a final decision would be issued in vigilance by the Court. The above-mentioned cases are about conflicting decisions of the Courts with ignorance of earlier precedents which do not contain any discussion. The precedents contain several principles such as flexibility, consistency and predictability, ensuring a time-saving mechanism and restricting committing any mistake. Several Courts have willfully ignored the earlier decision for the coordination of Benches that simply overrules its judgement. The plight of the decision made by the Court is solely dependent on the liberty of the person and interests vested upon it. Every Court has its jurisdiction to revise its judgement with the perusal of the needs corrected by the law.

In the case of Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd. v. State of Orissa[7], it was held that the decision is given per incuriam reference when the Court acted in ignorance and the judgments are per incuriam and it cannot be said that  “declared the law” on the particular subject matter; relevancy of the judgment may not be considered by the Court. In Rajendra Prasad vs. State of Uttar Pradesh[8] , a bench of three judges was held which referred to the constitutional validity of Section 302[9] with “well-organized principles” which also held “judicial observations” without focusing on the decision with questioning the “constitutional validity” of awarding death to the accused with norms laid down within the legislative domain. Similarly, in the case of, Vatheswaram v. State of Tamil Nadu[10], the decision was led by a two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, an inordinate delay of about two years as the implementation of the death sentence was agreed upon by Justice Chandrachud in the case of Ventheswaram decision that commutation to life imprisonment disagreed after two years, inconsistency of the Court’s decision leads to a harassing life of an individual and of the clash of own’s judgment.

In the international framework the concept of “conflicting decisions” has made a way to find conclusions of hypothetical situations in adherence to precedents and the rule of stare decisis is briefly examined with cumulative importance relating to non-conflicting decisions of the Supreme Court. In the case of Fletcher v. Peck [11], the U.S. Supreme Court decided the grants as an impairment to the contracts which are executory and provides protection to the Constitution; referencing the case of Dartmouth College Case[12], the corporate charter was not merely a contract but rather than a mere law, which can be changed by the process of legislation while the object of impairment is imposed upon a law within the jurisdiction of the State. The entire domain needs to be regulated with constitutional developments and judicial precedents relating to the doctrines. Supreme Court decisions have modified the doctrine of dissenting judges with the exercise of sovereign power, which has been held about economic and social activities put under this doctrine.

The U.S. Supreme Court lays down the provision against the impairing contracts which are meant to be “judge-made laws” by way of interpreting judicial precedents and needs a reasonable conclusion adhering to the norms of the Constitution, which changed the socio-economic structure in the process of development. The conflicting decisions were held in the Federal Government during the American Civil War, the federalists enjoy more privilege in terms of interest and economic wellbeing; the Supreme Court’s expense to the state which threatens the doctrine of a dual form of government created an imbalance between the Federal form and the Supreme Court. In the case of South Carolina vs. United States [13], it was held that United Nations levied taxes on selling liquor in the state of South Carolina whereas, in the case of North Dakota vs. Hanson[14], the state of Dakota could not hold tax for selling liquor and also posting a notice of the same. These decisions have only focused on the structure of the dual form of government and reduced the mechanism of administrative units and judicial bodies.


The Courts are expected to deliver definite pronouncements addressing all questions, reference statutory provisions and adhere to precedents that cover all essential requirements as the rule of law, as the judges are also expected to be vigilant in affirming the decisions made. Coordinate Bench when arrives at a particular decision indifferent to the decision delivered, which is conflicting with other decisions with respect to the point of law. The Apex Court is the nucleus of pronouncing the last say in any verdict that is binding on all Courts of the country. When any critical decision arises in the Supreme Court it has to be dealt with by a larger bench and also taking up the view of the doctrine of precedents. The citizens look at the Courts as the final guarantor of protecting civil liberties and consider Constitutional provisions as an interpreting agent which upholds the sovereignty of law. The evolved procedural structure of law should focus on redefining the amendments, analyzing points of decision and cross-checking opinions among the judges to deliver a conflict-free judgment that ultimately smoothens the legal fraternity. Society is in urgent need to remove legal controversy in legitimizing decisions to constitute a fair mechanism that will not overlap with other judgments.

Author(s) Name: Samprity Halder (Hazra Law College, Department of Law, Calcutta University)


[1] Law Web , <https://www.lawweb.in/2021/04/how-to-rely-on-precedent-if-there-are.html?m=1>

 (last visited on 21st August, 2022)

[2] Amar Singh Yadav v. Shanta Devi , AIR 1987 Pat 191

[3]Constitution of India, 1950, art. 141

[4] Jadab Chandra Pradhan v. Smt. Kausalya Pradhan , AIR 1975 Crl.L.J. 856

[5] Jamuna Rai v. Chandra Dip Rai AIR 1961 Pat 178

[6] Atma Ram v. State of Punjab, AIR 1959 SC 519

[7]  Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd. v. State of Orissa , (2015) 2 SCC 189

[8] Rajendra Prasad vs. State of Uttar Pradesh , AIR 1979 SC 916

[9]Indian Penal Code, s 302

[10] Vatheswaram v. State of Tamil Nadu AIR 1983 SC 361

[11]Fletcher vs. Peck , 6 Cranch, 87 (1810).

[12] Dartmouth College Case , 4 Wheat. 518 (1819).

[13] South Carolina v. United States 199 U.S. 437 (1905)

[14] North Dakota v. Hanson 215 U.S. 515 (1910)

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