Principle of Natural Justice


The main principles of natural justice concerns procedural fairness and also ensure that a good decision is reached by an objective decision maker. INTRODUCTION Natural Justice is a vital concept in law. The principles of natural justice are the decent administrative set up of any country. The concept and doctrine of Principles of Natural Justice and its application in Justice delivery system isn't new to anyone. It has a place since the beginning of justice delivery systems in the world. Natural justice is an expression of English common law, which requires justice to be delivered with fairness. Principles of natural justice are termed as the minimum protection of the rights of the individual against the arbitrary procedure that may be adopted by an administrative authority, any judicial or quasi-judicial body while making a decision that has the capacity to affect those rights. These priniciples have been laid down to prevent the injustice which can be caused by the hands of these bodies. The rules related to natural justice are based on natural ideals and values which are universal in there formulation. They are strategic in nature and their aim is to make sure delivery of justice to the parties. Also, where there is no other law, the decision making is done largely on the basis of Principle of Natural Justice. It has to be dealt as the basic Principle of Human Right because they plan to bring justice to the parties naturally. A.K Kraipak vs. Union of India (AIR 1970 S.C.150) it was held in this case that it is established that in the absence of any express provision in any of the statute, the principles of natural justice will have to be adhered and such a principle should be observed in all judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative proceedings which involve any civil consequences to the parties. ORIGIN The word Natural Justice has its origin from the Roman term “Jus Naturale” which suggests principles of law, justice, equity, and good conscience. It was later came to be known as the ‘Common Law’ in England, ‘Due Process’ in US, ‘Dharma’ in India and ‘proportionality’ in Civil-law countries. The first statutory recognition of natural law was through Magna Carta, 1215 and it heavily influenced England to incorporate these principles within the system as it provided the citizens safety from any kind of injustice. The word Natural Justice indicates justice consistent with one’s own conscience. The Principle of Natural Justice are not derived from any divine powers they are the result of the judicial thinking by the judges who interpret the law as to what is necessary for the fair play. These principles should be followed by every authority that is ruling majorly while making any decision that can adversely affect the rights of people. The concept of natural justice in ancient India sprouted from Kautilya’s Arthashastra, additionally it is also mentioned in a ‘Sanskrit Shlok’ that states, “A judge should be made to decide a case without any importance to the personal objective or a personal biased decision and his decision should be in accordance with procedure prescribed by the texts” as mentioned by Brihaspati. Judicial system in Ancient India took severe precautions to take care of judicial integrity. And therefore, protected the principles of natural justice in every sense and manner. JUSTICE SHOULD NOT ONLY BE DONE BUT SEEN TO BE DONE The dictum ‘Justice should be done’ is seen by mere observance of the principles of natural justice. However, the principle does not end here. It extends further. Justice should manifestly be seen to be done. If this is ignored, then the decision would be affected, especially in cases where an allegation of bias or interest or favour is noticed and an apt proper hearing is not forthcoming from the decision. The justice system is dynamic in nature; it keeps on changing as per the requirement in the society and advanced with civilization accordingly to help the individuals to deal with the ills of the society. Principles of natural justice give an opportunity to defend oneself by asking for a fair and reasonable ground. In the Administrative Law, natural justice is an inherent part. It is made to help the citizens to protect them against organized power of the authorities. The purpose of following these principles of natural justice is to make a preventive measure as to how misuse of justice is done. Natural Justice recognizes three principles notably- Nemo debet essc judex in propria causa. Audi alterem partem. Speaking orders or reasoned decisions. The principle of Rule against bias and audi alteram partem has come from the Roman law and reasoned decision has been added by the rapid development of the constitutional as well as administrative law. NEMO DEBET ESSC JUDEX IN PROPRIA CAUSA (Rule of Bias) Psychology states human beings can rarely take decision against their interests, hence the maxim; Nemo debet essc judex in propria causa states that no one could be made judge in their own cause. Thus, the principle lays down the circumstances where a judge or deciding authority is biased and partial in any verdict, and then he or she shall be disqualified from determining any case before them. Justice should not only be done but it is to be seen to be done. Proceedings before any adjudicating authority must be according to the principles of natural justice. As wherever it is found that a judge who is deciding any dispute has its own interest or some outcome derived from such case then the decision given by the authority will be declared void. The rule against bias thus avoids possibility of partial decisions. It also ensures public confidence in any system followed by a country. Primarily there are 3 types of biased decisions - PECUNIARY BIAS could also be direct or perhaps remote. When pecuniary interest is present, the decision is a nullity. PERSONAL BIAS arises from a relation between the party and deciding authority and therefore the authorities which incline towards a party unfavorably or otherwise while taking decision is rendered void. In order to challenge the executive action successfully on the ground of personal bias, it is necessary to give a reasonable reason for bias. In view of factors there is likelihood that a judge may be biased towards one party or prejudiced towards other. In the case of S.P. Kapoor v. State of H.P (1981 AIR 2181) SC rescinded the selection list prepared by the Department of Promotion which had considered the confidential reports of candidates prepared by an officer who himself was a candidate. SUBJECT MATTER BIAS includes those cases that fall within the category where the deciding officer is directly or otherwise, involved in the subject matter of the case. There are 3 types of Subject matter Bias- Partiality or connection with issues- to disqualify there has to be some close and direct connection between the adjudicating authority and the issue in the controversy. Departmental bias/Official bias- in proceedings before an administrative authority, one of the parties is usually the administration itself, the authority may have official bias towards the department with which it is attached, or may have a policy biased. Prior utterances/ Pre-judgement of issues– adjudicator’s mind should not be irrevocably closed. In the case of G. Nageswara Rao v. A.P. SRTC (1959 AIR 308 ) SC nullified the decision of the government on nationalizing road transport as the Department was interested in the subject-matter while giving the hearing. It was said that unless there is anything present to show the baisness of the administrative decision, it will not override the decision by being the mere involvement.


AUDI ALTEREM PARTEM (The Rule of Fair Hearing) This maxim basically means nobody can be condemned or punished by the court without having a fair opportunity of being heard. An individual should be given a fair chance to present and to defend himself. The violation of the same will results in gross injustice. As any person can be wrongfully convicted unless given a reasonable opportunity to prove his innocence, therefore to remove this ineffectiveness and to enhance the administrative efficiency this rule of natural justice is applied as the essential condition for a civilized society. This rule states that both parties should be given a fair chance to present themselves with their relevant points and a fair trial should be conducted. This is a vital rule of natural justice and its pure form does not exist to penalize anyone without any valid and reasonable ground. The components of fair hearing are not fixed or rigid in nature. It differs on the basis of the case and the adjudicating authority. There are mainly two elements of this principle they're – NOTICE - Prior notice should be given to a person so he can prepare to understand what all charges are framed against him. The notice should necessarily contain the charges formed. The trial of the person should only be done for the charges he or she was served and not for the other charges. Also the time, place, nature of hearing along with the legal authority in front of which the case will be heard, should be enclosed within the notice. In the case of Sir Shadilal Distillery & Chemical Works v State of U.P the respondent was given no notice before cancelling his licenses of supply of liquor. HEARING - Right to hearing provides an individual to present his case before the court and put forward evidence in support of his case. It also includes the right of representation and at the same time to defend his side. The application of the principles of natural justice varies from case to case as per the requirement of the circumstance. In the case of Srikrishna v. State of M.P it had been observed that the principles of natural justice are flexible and a chance of fair hearing and an impartial decision must be awarded to the person concerned. REASONED DECISION OR SPEAKING ORDERS The importance of ‘reason’ within the system is to link the facts with the decision delivered. It operates by making precedents for future use by bringing more certainity thereto. Reasons provided must be clear, cogent and succinct. The SC has also accepted that speaking order is the third important principle of natural justice. Thus, the party is bound to know the results of the inquiry and therefore the reasons for the decision undertaken thereafter. CONCLUSION Therefore, by the entire study we can analyze that principle of natural justice forms the foundation of the process of justice system. These aren't only made as the guidelines, but to enforce and safeguard the justice. The principles of natural justice are adopted and followed by the judiciary to guard public rights against the arbitrary decision by the executive authority. It helps in better implementation of law and helps in maintaining the faith of individuals within the rule of law. So at all the stages of the procedure if any authority is not adhering to their judicial function at entirety and their decision binding is not purely accepted due to bias and unfair advantage given to one party then the Principle of Natural Justice is ruled out to safeguard justice in the eyes of the law. It is supreme to notice that any decision or order which violates the natural justice is going to be declared as null and void in nature; hence the principles of natural justice are essential in order for the executive justice to be rendered valid and binding in all its entirety.

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