Meaning and Legal Importance of Natural justice

By | August 14, 2015

Natural justice

 For controlling abuse of power, the Courts in their various landmark judgments have held that no decision which prejudicially affects a person can be taken without giving him a prior opportunity of hearing. Courts have now obliterated distinction between a quasi-judicial function and an administrative function. If the urgency and the nature of the situation makes a prior hearing impracticable, then the person must be heard promptly after the decision is taken. In other words, a post-decisional hearing is given to him. In no case or situation, a person is condemned unheard.

Again to ensure proper exercise of power and due application of mind, our Courts insist that reasons must be given in support of the order. Such a requirement prevents unconscious unfairness or arbitrariness in reaching the conclusions, as the very search for reasons will put the authority on the alert and minimise the chance of unconscious infiltration of personal bias or unfairness in the conclusion. The rule requiring reason to be given in support of an order is, like the principle of audi alteram partem, a basic principle of natural justice and fair play. The development of the administrative law in this regard is far ahead of the USA, UK and other Commonwealth countries.

It has now been well established that orders passed in violation of the principles of natural justice are liable to be struck down, namely, for non-compliance with the provisions of the statute, non-application by the statutory authority to apply its own mind to case; non-doing a thing in a particular manner or form as required by statute, non-recording of reasons in support of the orders.

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