Supreme Court on the Doctrine of Stare Decisis

“10. It is a settled principle of law that a judgment, which has held the field for a long time, should not be unsettled. The doctrine of stare decisis is expressed in the maxim “stare decisis et non quieta movere”, which means “to stand by decisions and not to disturb what is settled.” Lord Coke aptly described this in his Classic English version as “those things which have been so often adjudged ought to rest in peace.” The underlying logic of this doctrine is to maintain consistency and avoid uncertainty. The guiding philosophy is that a view which has held the field for a long time should not be disturbed only because another view is possible. This has been aptly pointed out by Chandrachud, C.J. in Waman Rao vs. Union of India, (1981) 2 SCC 362 at pg. 392 thus:

“40. … for the application of the rule of stare decisis, it is not necessary that the earlier decision or decisions of longstanding should have considered and either accepted or rejected the particular argument which is advanced in the case on hand. Were it so, the previous decisions could more easily be treated as binding by applying the law of precedent and it will be unnecessary to take resort to the principle of stare decisis. It is, therefore, sufficient for invoking the rule of stare decisis that a certain decision was arrived at on a question which arose or was argued, no matter on what reason the decision rests or what is the basis of the decision. In other words, for the purpose of applying the rule of stare decisis, it is unnecessary to enquire or determine as to what was the rationale of the earlier decision which is said to operate as stare decisis.”

Supreme Court
Shanker Raju versus Union of India and Others [2011 (2) SCC 132]