By Nitish Kumar Lenka from University Law College, Bhubhaneshwar
CONCEPT OF NATURAL JUSTICE
The term natural justice has been derived from roman concept ‘jus’ – natural and ‘lex naturale’ which means principle of natural law. Supreme Court as constitutional and federal court and the guardian of Indian Constitution and Lady Justice is the glory of our country. It protect the rights of every citizens from being misused through arbitrary procedure of court. It is the fundamental rules of judicial procedure to have fairness and without biasness while pronouncing any judgement. According to Lord Widgery, “the principle of natural justice were those fundamental rules, the breach of which will prevent the justice from being seen to be done.”
PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL JUSTICE
Natural Justice is well defined by these three rules:-
- Nemo Judex In Causa Sua or Doctrine of Bias
The term ‘Bias’ means leaning of mind or inclination towards any object. Any sort of influential power to sways any judgement. It may be arise due to unconsciously. One of the cardinal principle of natural justice that authorities in Quasi-Judicial body to decide the dispute between the parties without bias, impartial, fair etc. It was enumerated by Supreme Court in Rattan Lal Sharma v. Managing Committee, Dr. Hari Ram Higher Secondary School, that no one shall be a judge in his own case and the quasi-judicial authority need to be impartial and without bias while deciding the case.
The three types of Bias are:-
- Pecuniary Bias – it is one of the simplest type of proceedings in which the judge shows some pecuniary interest to determine the end result of case. Such process invalidate by principle of Natural Justice and is disqualified.
- Personal Bias – this concept has always been a matter of judicial interpretation. This biasness only happen when the presiding officers forms an opinion before the completion of trial and where a presiding officer is directly or indirectly being one of the parties to the case.
- Bias as to Subject-Matter – this means any judge who once has decided a case on any subject matter cannot again take part in reviewing its own decision on appeal. Any such conduct will be violation of principle of Natural Justice. The judge is disqualified to sit on an order, once adjudication is made on that particular matter.
- Audi Alteram Partem
It is the second principle of Natural Justice. It means right to heard. No one will be barred from hearing on any disputes. The literal meaning of this rule is that both parties should be given a fair chance to present themselves with their relevant points and a fair trial should be conducted. According to Justice Venkataraman Aiyar in Union of India v. T. R. Verma observed that “rules of Natural Justice requires that party to adduce the relevant evidence on which his statement based on and should be given an opportunity to cross-examine the witness.” This concept has wide range of application in judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative decisions. Any sort of omission or violation towards this concept of audi alteram patern will vitiates the decision. Various components such as issuance of notice, right to represent a case and evidence, right to cross-examination, right to legal representation. In case of Ludhiana food product held that if a party refuse to cross-examine a witness it will not fall under the principle of natural justice. In the case of Kanda vs. Government of Malaya, the court held that notice must directly and clearly specify on the matter of bias, facts and circumstances against which needs to be taken. The exception to Audi Alteram Patern are where the functions of the authority is policy oriented; where the functions of the agency concerned are held to be administrative or discretionary; where an obligation to give notice and opportunity to be heard would obstruct the taking of prompt action, specially action of a preventive remedial nature; where disclosure of relevant information to the party affected would be prejudicial to the public interest.
- Reason Decision
Right to reason is an important part of judicial review. Providing information is a sign of good governance. Recording of reasoning is the only visible safeguard against possible injustice and arbitrariness.
The exception of principle of Natural Justice are During the Emergency period, Public interest, Express statutory provision, Nature of the case is not of a serious kind, If it doesn’t affect the status of the individual.
NATURAL JUSTICE IN INDIA
Procedure for conducting the proceeding in King’s Court Room was prevalent from ancient India. It is believed that it is foremost duty of the judge to guide the king while pronouncing his decisions on any matter. According to Brihaspati, the ancient judicial code says that the judge should decide the matter without taking personal gain and being bias to any case and follow the procedure prescribed. It also says that the judge who are participating in a decision making or assisting the king should be independent and are being fearless from any such adverse effect in order to prevent in committing error and protecting matter from miscarriage. Katyayana said that it is the duty of the judge to warn the king from following the illegal practice in pronouncing the judgement. The similar concept of natural justice i.e fairness in decision making was popularly evident in the Chandragupta Maurya’s darbar (court room) during the 3rd century BCE by Kautilya (Chanakya) who was stern in following this concept and had written in his book Arthasastra.
In modern India, the concept of Natural Justice can be noticed from present day case laws. The principle of Natural Justice in the foundation and fundamental concept of law which has become a part of judiciary’s decision making process. It has tremendously increased and applied concept. It has been very necessary concept which provide fairness in adjudication and prevent the miscarriage of justice. Due to advancement in legal provisions of the administrative body, they were vested with large power. They have the capable of violating the individual rights. This has resulted in lack of substantive power and protection to person’s right. To check this administrative body it is made for them to be obliged to follow certain established and binding rules and regulation in order to protect individual’s rights. Any such judicial decision given in contrary and without observing to this principle is regarded as void. It has been held in Common Law Court in England and at present in India. This principle has become an integral part and ensured the fairness in administrative process and thus protect the people’s right and brightened administrative decision making process. According to Justice Chinnappa Reddy, “Natural Justice is a branch of public law and is a formidable weapon which can be wielded to secure the justice to the citizens. It is productive of great good as well as much mischief. It must only be used for fundamental liberties, civil and political rights and to protect this concept from application of vexed interest.” According to Justice Krishna Iyer, “Natural Justice is a pervasive facts of secular principle where a spiritual touch enlight the legislation, administration and adjudication, to make fairness in creed of life.” The concept of Natural Justice revolve around certain principles such as (1) No one shall be judge in his own case, (2) no one shall give decision without reasonable hearing. The concept is strongly abide by fundamental rights of constitution. They are embedded in our constitutional frame-work and should not be submerged by exigencies of particular case. Right to equality which is a subject matter of Article 14 justify the principle of Natural Justice. It is applied to legislation, state and also to those authority, tribunal not under the purview of article 12 also. Any sort of arbitrariness by state is discriminatory which results in violation of article 14 of constitution and thus contravention to principle of natural justice.
The main objective of natural justice is to provide proper justice to the people who knock the door of judicial body to get the justice. To protect their natural fundamental right being violated by arbitrary decisions of the well-established administrative body. If any decision given by judicial authority which violates the concept of natural justice, such decisions to be declared as null and void and proper procedure to be followed in fair manner in order to restrict the biasness and miscarriage of justice. Thus it is the prime duty of the judicial body to protect the basic human rights of an individual by following fairness and unbiasness in decision making.
 AIR 1993 SC 2155
 Iqbal Singh v. Collector of Hoshiarpur, AIR 1956 Punj 235
 Abu Baker v. A.G., AIR 1954 TC 331
 AIR 1957 SC 882
 (1962) 28 MLJ 169
 Breen v. Amalgamated Engg. Union, (1971) 1 All ER 1148 (1154)
 Malloch v. Aberdeen, (1971) 2 All ER 1279
 State of UP v. Mohd. Nooh, AIR 1958 SC 86
 Maneka Gandhi v. UOI, 1978 2 SCR 621
 A.K. Kraipak v. Union of India, AIR 1970 SC 150
 UOI v. Tulsiram Patel, AIR 1985 SC 1416