United by a common purpose –

Entrenched in our commitment to a rule of law is what lawyers describe as stare decisis. That is, in plain English, a promise to stand by things decided, to respect and honour precedent. Today, with the Supreme Court seized by a maelstrom of crises, this principle stands deeply undermined. At first, the latest clash between judges on the court might strike us as a simple contretemps over theories of legal interpretation. But the consequences here are enormous and are already being felt across the country. The Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, has now established a bench of five judges, which he will head, and which will commence hearing arguments on March 6, to resolve the conflict. At stake is the court’s integrity.

Provision in Land Act    –                                                        

The issue itself emanates out of a divisive provision in the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR Act), which replaced the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. The colonial law had codified powers of eminent domain in strikingly draconian fashion. Landowners were placed at the state’s mercy. Government was accorded vast discretion to expropriate land for supposed public use. Requirements of due process were scant, and the amount of money paid in return for land was often derisory, that too in the rare cases where it could be grasped from the exchequer’s strong hands.

Some might argue that the LARR Act, in repealing the 1894 statute, didn’t go far enough in correcting the wrongs of old, and that its basic premise, in re-recognising a wide power of eminent domain, is inherently flawed. But there can be little question that the number of safeguards that the law legislates has made the process of acquisition manifestly fairer. For instance, it compels a social and environmental impact assessment as a precondition for any acquisition.

Besides, it also acknowledges a need for a system of rehabilitation and resettlement for those whose livelihoods are likely to be affected by the transfer of land. At least partly, these protections intend to alter the traditional relationship between the state and the citizen, allowing communal benefit to occasionally trump interests of pure capital.


1) Entrenched

Meaning: (Of an attitude, habit, or belief) firmly established and difficult or unlikely to change; ingrained.

Example:”An entrenched resistance to change”

2) Stare

Meaning:  Look fixedly or vacantly at someone or something with one’s eyes wide open.

Example: “He stared at her in amazement”

Synonyms: Gaze, Gape

3) Decisis

Meaning: The legal principle of determining points in litigation according to precedent.

Example: “A doctrine of stare decisis”

4) Precedent

Meaning: An earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.

Example: “There are substantial precedents for using interactive media in training”

Synonyms: Model, Exemplar

5) Maelstrom

Meaning: A situation or state of confused movement or violent turmoil.

Example: “The train station was a maelstrom of crowds”

Synonyms: Turbulence, Tumult

6) Contretemps

Meaning: A minor dispute or disagreement.

Example: “She had occasional contretemps with her staff”

Synonyms: Argument, Quarrel

7) Enormous

Meaning: Very large in size, quantity, or extent.

Example: “Enormous sums of money”

Synonyms: Huge, Vast

Antonyms: Tiny

8) Stake

Example: Mark an area with stakes so as to claim ownership of it.

Meaning: “The boundary between the two manors was properly staked out”

Synonyms: Mark off, Mark out

9) Emanates

Example: Give out or emit (a feeling, quality, or sensation).

Meaning: “He emanated a powerful brooding air”

Synonyms: Exude, Give off

10) Strikingly

Meaning: In a way that attracts attention by reason of being unusual, extreme, or prominent.

Example: “The stories strikingly illustrate the creative power of the imagination”

11) Draconian

Meaning: (Of laws or their application) excessively harsh and severe.

Example: “The Nazis destroyed the independence of the press by a series of draconian laws”

Synonyms: Harsh, Severe

Antonyms: Mild

12) Mercy

Meaning: Compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

Example: “The boy was screaming and begging for mercy”

Synonyms: Leniency, Lenience

Antonyms: Ruthlessness, Cruelty

13) Accorded

Meaning: Give or grant someone (power, status, or recognition).

Example:”The powers accorded to the head of state”

Synonyms: Give, Grant

Antonyms: Withhold, Remove

14) Expropriate

Meaning: (Of the state or an authority) take (property) from its owner for public use or benefit.

Example: “Their assets were expropriated by the government”

synonyms: Seize, Take away

15) Scant

Meaning: Barely sufficient or adequate.

Example:”Companies with scant regard for the safety of future generations”

Synonyms: Little, Minimal

Antonyms: Abundant, Ample, Sufficient

16) Derisory

Meaning: Ridiculously small or inadequate.

Example: “They were given a derisory pay rise”

Synonyms: Inadequate, Insufficient

17) Grasped

Meaning: Take (an opportunity) eagerly.

Example: “Many companies grasped the opportunity to expand”

Synonyms: Take advantage of, Act on

Antonyms: Miss, Overlook

18) Exchequer

Meaning: A royal or national treasury.

Example: “An important source of revenue to the sultan’s exchequer”

19) Flawed

Meaning: Having or characterized by a fundamental weakness or imperfection.

Example: “A fatally flawed strategy”

Synonyms: Unsound, Defective

Antonyms: Sound

20) Manifestly

Meaning: In a way that is clear or obvious to the eye or mind.

Example: “We have manifestly failed to exercise good judgment”