Principles of Natural Justice

Principle of Natural Justice has been derived from the word ‘Jus Natural’ which means law of nature. In simple language, natural justice means what is right and what is wrong. It is a law of nature which is not derived from any Constitution or Statute. Initially, the principle of natural justice was confined only to Judicial proceedings but with the passage of time the concept of welfare state came up. It increased the powers of administrative authorities. So, to keep a check on the powers of the administrative authorities and to ensure that they do not exceed their powers, the courts have evolved principles of natural justice. The main objective of principles of natural justice is to provide justice to the citizens of the country and to protect their rights against irrational decisions of judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative authorities. There are basically 3 principles of natural justice:

  • Nemo judex in causa sua

It means rule against bias. According to this principle no man should be a judge in his own case or an administrative authority should be impartial while deciding any case. If it is found that a judge who is deciding the case has some interest in it, then the decision given by the judge will become void.

Types of Bias:

(i) Personal Bias

It arises if there is any relation between the party and decision-making authority.

(ii) Pecuniary Bias

It arises if administrative authority has any kind of financial benefit.

(iii) Subject matter Bias

It arises when an administrative authority is directly or indirectly related to the subject matter of a particular case. 

  • Audi alteram partem

It means to hear the other side. It is one of the most important principles of natural justice and it means that both the parties should be given a fair opportunity of being heard.

The following are the components of Audi alteram partem:

(a) Issuance of Notice

Proper notice should be given to the parties to proceed with the trial. If there is no provision of issuance of notice in any statute then it must be given prior to making decisions.

Notice should mention time, place and name of authority taking action, charges framed against accused.

(b) Right to present case and evidence

After receiving the notice, the person should be given sufficient time to prepare and present their case.

(c) Right to cross examination

Cross-examination is defined under Section 137 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Principle of fair hearing includes the right to cross-examine the statements made by the parties. If courts refuse the right to cross examination, then it is a violation of principles of natural justice.

(d) Right of Legal Representative

Every party has the right to choose their legal representative. Each party will be represented by a legally trained person and no one can deny it.

  • Reasoned Decision

It means a decision which is given by the administrative authority should contain reasons in support of it. The party has the right to know the reason why authority has given such a decision. If the authority refuses to give reasons, then it may excite suspicion that there were no good reasons to support the decision. Reasons are useful as it reveals an error of law, the ground for an appeal etc.

Conclusion

Principles of Natural Justice is used by the judiciary to protect the rights of the citizen against irrational decisions of administrative authority. The main motive of these principles is to prevent miscarriage of justice. Any decision of the public authority which violates the principles of natural justice will be declared void.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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