NATURAL JUSTICE AND BREACH OF NATURAL JUSTICE
Written by: Bhavika, 4th year B.A.LL.B , Lovely Professional University
The goal of the natural justice principle is to secure justice and maintain the fairness of the law.
Therefore, the goals of natural justice are to guarantee that the methods used to make decisions are open, unbiased, and supported by facts, making them ought to be equitable. Despite not having a definition in a statute, these concepts are still recognized and upheld. The principles of natural justice are, to put it simply, those that govern the processes that must be adhered to by the authorities charged with resolving disagreements between the parties. Natural justice
consists of 3 rules.
The first is known as the "Hearing rule," which stipulates that the individual or party impacted by the expert panel's decision must be afforded a reasonable chance to explain himself.
Second, the "Bias rule" typically states that an expert panel's decisions should be made without bias. The rule of natural justice should be upheld via the decision-making process, which should be free and equitable.
Thirdly, a "Reasoned Decision," which is an order, judgment, or decision of the court rendered by the Presiding Authorities and supported by a legitimate and justifiable rationale.
Origin of Natural Justice
Natural justice is a very old idea that has its roots in the early ages. The principle was likewise known to the people of Greece and Rome. The idea of natural justice was recognised by Adam and Kautilya throughout their time. The Bible claims that after Eve and Adam consumed the fruit of knowledge, God forbade them from doing so. Eve was given a fair opportunity to defend herself before the punishment was handed down, and Adam received the same treatment.
English jurists later came to recognise the idea of natural justice. The Roman terms "jusnaturale" and "lex-naturale," which laid down the foundation for natural justice, natural law, and equity, are the source of the word "natural justice."
"A sense of what is right and wrong is natural justice."
This idea was first offered in India quite early on. In the Mohinder Singh Gill v. Chief Election
Commissioner case, the court ruled that fairness ought to be considered in all actions, whether they be administrative, quasi-administrative, judicial, or quasi-judicial.
The principle of natural justice is based on two principles i.e.
1. Audi Alteram Partem which means ‘no one can be left unheard’: It means that the
court should hear the other party and no one should be condemned unheard. This maxim
is based on the rule of fair hearing.
In Cooper v. Wandsworth Board of Works, the plaintiff was a builder hired to construct
a home in the Wandsworth district. Section 76 of the Metropolis Local Management
Act gives the district board the authority to alter or demolish a home only in cases where
the builder failed to provide reasonable notice of the construction. Without providing
any more details, the board destroyed the house. The house destruction was deemed
illegal only due to the Metropolitan Board's failure to provide the plaintiff with a
hearing chance. No one may have their property taken away from them by an administrative entity without first being given the chance to be heard, as was made very
obvious in this instance.
2. Nemo Judex In Causa Sua which means ‘no one can be a judge in his case’: This maxim gives rise to the duty to act fairly, to listen to the arguments, and to reach a decision in a manner that is untainted by bias. the necessity of this rule is to make the judge impartial and give judgement on the basis of evidence recorded as per the case.
In the case of A.K. Kraipak v. Union of India, the UPSC members and the acting chief
conservator of forests served on the selection committee for the position of chief conservator. The court determined that there was a clear conflict between the
individual's own interests and the responsibility imposed upon him, so rendering the decision rendered in violation of natural justice standards.
Types of Bias
1. Personal Bias- The relationship between the party and the decision-making authority
gives rise to personal prejudice. This caused the decision-making authority to act unfairly and render a decision that was favourable to his person in a questionable circumstance. Different kinds of interpersonal and professional relationships give rise to these equations.
A valid justification for the bias must be provided in order to effectively contest the
administrative decision on the grounds of personal bias.
2. Pecuniary Bias- If any of the judicial bodies has any kind of financial benefit, however small it may be will lead to administrative authority biases.
3. Subject matter Bias- When directly or indirectly the deciding authority is involved
in the subject matter of a particular case. Muralidhar vs. Kadam Singh The court
refused to quash the decision of the Election tribunal on the ground that the chairman’s wife was a member of the Congress party whom the petitioner defeated.
4. Departmental Bias- The problem or issue of departmental bias is very common in every administrative process and if it is not checked effectively on every small interval period it will lead to a negative concept of fairness vanishing in the proceeding.
5. Policy notion Bias- Issues arising out of preconceived policy notions is a very
dedicated issue. The audience sitting over there does not expect judges to sit with a blank sheet of paper and give a fair trial and decision over the matter.
6. Bias on the account of obstinacy- Supreme court has discovered new criteria of biases through the unreasonable condition. This new category emerged from a case where a judge of Calcutta High Court upheld his own judgement in appeal. A direct violation of the rules of bias is done because no judge can sit in appeal against in his own case.
Importance of Natural Justice
Natural justice is a common law notion that essentially refers to equality, justice, fairness, and equity in the process of making decisions. The avoidance of injustice miscarriages is the goal of the natural justice principles. Because it guarantees both procedural and decisional fairness, natural justice is significant. The basic human right known as natural justice is based on the idea that justice should be served to parties in a natural way. Its two main tenets are that the plaintiff should be granted a fair trial and that the decision-maker should be free from prejudice or preconceived notions. This principle's primary goals are to guarantee comprehensive justice, give everyone an equal chance to be heard, close any legal gaps, and safeguard fundamental
rights—which is another way of saying that it safeguards the core elements of the Constitution.
The principles of natural justice must uphold the idea of the rule of law for a community to be governed by it, which makes them crucial. Natural justice principles are excellent because they serve as humanizing instruments that guarantee justice and equity.
Breach Of Natural Justice
A miscarriage of justice may occur when the rules of natural justice are broken. The following are some typical situations in which the natural justice principles could be violated:
Bias: It is blatantly unfair for a decision-maker to act in a biased manner, whether it be out of
prejudice or a personal interest. This bias might take many different forms, such as
preconceived conceptions or a financial stake in the result.
Lack of Notice: Audi alteram partem is violated when parties are not given sufficient notice,
which prevents them from preparing and presenting their case.
Denial of Legal Representation: People are entitled to legal representation in a number of court cases. A violation of natural justice may result from denying this right.
Insufficient Hearing: It is a violation when a hearing is held in a hurried or precipitous way,
preventing the parties from sufficiently presenting their cases.
Unfair choices: Biased, capricious, and unjust choices may be made in the absence of a fair
hearing chance. This may lead to a lack of accountability and a decline in public confidence in the legal system.
Failure to provide justification: The order is revoked and the authority is instructed by the court to reevaluate the situation if the decision's justification is not provided to the court or the party in question. In certain instances, the court has upheld the action when the reasons are not disclosed to the individual in question and are documented; nevertheless, in other instances, the court has not upheld the action.
The court in Ajantha Industries v. Central Board of Direct Taxes concluded that the
justifications recorded on the file were insufficient. Giving the person in question reasons is essential. In this instance, the order was overturned on the grounds that the party in question was not informed of the reasons. It seems that the perspective presented in the Ajantha Industries case is the more accurate one. Reasons shouldn't be kept in the record or file; instead, they should be shared with the person in question since they are for their benefit.
Legal Challenges: Legal challenges may arise from violations of natural justice. Affected
parties can seek justice by filing an appeal or requesting a judicial review to address the
injustice they have experienced.
Damaged Reputation: When organizations or institutions disregard the natural justice principle,people may perceive their activities as oppressive or unfair, which can harm their reputation.
To demonstrate the significance of the natural justice concept, let's look at a few actual
1. Termination of Employment: When an employee's employment is terminated, they are not given a chance to give a reason or a chance to present their case. Clearly, natural
justice was violated in this case since the person was not given a fair opportunity to be
2. University Disciplinary Proceedings: When a student is accused of academic misconduct in a university context, they are not given the chance to refute the allegations or provide their own defence. This may result in an unjust conclusion and possible legal action.
The judiciary has embraced and adhered to natural justice principles in order to defend public rights from the capricious actions of the administrative authorities. It is evident that fairness is a part of the natural justice rule as they both encourage and preserve fair dealing.
Therefore, if any authority is delegated during the process, it is not solely accepted as part of
the judicial role; rather, the principal's primary goal is to avoid an injustice from occurring.
One must keep in mind that the principles of natural justice are necessary for any administrative settlement to be held valid since it is imperative to note that any judgement or order that breaches these standards will be deemed null and void.
The applicability of the natural justice principle is not limited to walls; rather, it is contingent
upon the attributes of the jurisdiction, the powers granted to the administrative body, and the types of rights that are impacted for each individual.