STEPS INVOLVED IN AUDI ALTERAM PARTEM:

  1. RIGHT TO NOTICE- NOTICE= INFORMATION= KNOWLEDGE[1]

This right means the right of being known. An order that is passed without giving notice to the other party is against the principle of Natural Justice and it is considered void ab initio, which means null from the very beginning. The notice must contain the following facts:

  • Time, place and nature of the hearing.
  • Legal authority under which the hearing is to be held.
  • Statement of specific charges which the person has to meet.[2]

 In the case of Punjab National Bank vs All India Bank Employee Federation,[3] the other party was imposed of charges but those charges were not mentioned in the Notice, therefore, the court held that since the notice was not proper and so the imposition of penalty was invalid. Another case of Gajendra Bahadur vs District Land Reform Office Kathmandu[4] stated that any decision cannot be taken in the absence of one of the parties to the proceedings by only publishing it in the newspaper and not serving proper notice to the concerned party.

  • RIGHT TO HEARING-

The case of Srikrishna vs State of Madhya Pradesh[5] held the principles of natural justice as flexible and the test for the same was checking the functioning of the adjudicating authority and pronouncing fair hearing to the individuals concerned.  This hearing could be either personal or oral hearing. It is the right that entitles both the parties to present their cases and can be done by either of the two modes. However, the courts generally do not prefer oral hearings as it does provide pieces of evidence against it. In the case of Harbans Lal vs Commission,[6]it was held that there must be a reasonable opportunity of hearing or fair hearing. A distinction between the fair and oral was mentioned in the case of Union of India vs. J.P. Mittar,[7] which mentioned that situations, when the date of birth of a person is to be verified, in that case, oral hearing, was sufficient enough.

  • RIGHT TO PRESENT CASE AND EVIDENCE AND CROSS-EXAMINATION-

No evidence should be taken behind the parties. It should be presented before the courts and between the two parties and a judicial body or a quasi-judicial authority should act on such evidence pronounced. It should not be done in an ex-parte manner, which means in the absence of one of the parties. The case of Nyuchhemaya Tuladhar vs Rupandehi Dist. Court,[8] held that if any proceeding required the presence of registered persons and those persons are not included in the notice, then this would be against the principle of natural justice and held to be void as there was no reasonable opportunity of being heard provided. Courts do not insist much on cross-examination as it is essentially required and that without it a proper defence cannot be achieved. In the case of Hira Nath Mishra and Ors vs. The Principal, Rajendra Medical College,[9] the entire process of cross-examination was held to be valid, even when one of the parties was kept absent because it was a sensitive case as it was a matter of boys and girls in the college and this cannot be publicly done and hence, principles of natural justice cannot be applied in all the cases and it depends on facts and circumstances of each case.

  • RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION-

Article 22(2)[10] guarantees that one can present himself with a legal representative of owner’s choice in the court of law and a person who cannot appoint a legal representative, it is the statutory duty of the court to provide the same free of cost. However, under some situation courts themselves provide for it, like illiteracy, complicated and technical matters, the question of law is involved, in cases of trained prosecutor etc. In the case of JK Aggarwal vs Haryana Seeds Development Corporation,[11] it was held that the right to legal representation may not be allowed in all the cases and cannot be a part of natural justice. This rule sets out discretion and when the matter is extremely serious then this may not be allowed. In another case of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited vs Maharashtra General Kamgar Union,[12] Supreme Court stated that a member of the trade union cannot be held to the legal representative for an employee of the corporation if this is not mentioned in their rule books. Hence, it can be said that the right of the legal representative may not be held to be part of natural justice in all cases.

  • RIGHT TO FURNISH ENQUIRY REPORTS-

In the case of failure to supply the enquiry report before a competent authority takes the decision would constitute a violation of principles of natural justice. This was held in the case of Union of India vs. E. Bashya.[13] In another case of Managing Director ECIL, Hyderabad vs. B. Karunakar[14]held that the enquiry officer is bound to give a copy of the enquiry report to the delinquent employee so that he/she gets to know about the charges against him/her and if not provided then the court will accept that report at all and the court can even set aside the order of punishment if the unavailability of that report makes a difference.


[1] https://tyrocity.com/topic/audi-alteram-partem/, last visited 25/05/2021.

[2] https://www.cusb.ac.in/images/cusb-files/2020/el/law/PRINCIPLE%20OF%20NATURAL%20JUSTICE_6th%20Sem.pdf, last visited 28/05/2021.

[3] Punjab National Bank vs All India Bank Employee Federation, 1960 AIR 160.

[4] Gajendra Bahadur vs District Land Reform Office Kathmandu, NKP 2050, page 671.

[5] Srikrishna vs State of Madhya Pradesh,AIR 1977 SC 1691.

[6] Harbans Lal vs Commission, AIR 1993 SC 2487.

[7] Union of India vs. J.P. Mittar, AIR 1971 SC 1093.

[8] Nyuchhemaya Tuladhar vs Rupandehi Dist. Court, NKP 2050, page 231.

[9] Hira Nath Mishra and Ors vs. The Principal, Rajendra Medical College, AIR 1973 SC 1260.

[10] Supra at 1.

[11] JK Aggarwal vs Haryana seeds Development Corporation, 1991 AIR 1221.

[12] Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited vs Maharashtra General Kamgar Union, 1991 SC.

[13] Union of India vs. E. Bashya, 1988 AIR 1000.

[14] Managing Director ECIL, Hyderabad vs. B. Karunakar, AIR 1993 SCC 727.

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