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PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL JUSTICE AND RULE OF LAW: IN CONTEXT WITH FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

Author: SAHIL KIRORIWAL,

Student, B.B.A.LL.B. , III year, FIMT School of Law, GGSIPU .


INTRODUCTION

Natural justice is uncodified and not an embodied rule which means that there should be equality of law among all the people irrespective of there any post, rank, religion, caste, race etc. Natural justice is simply an unwritten law for fair adjudication so that everyone can have a fair jurisdiction. Natural Justice have three principles:

(i) Nemo debet essc judex in propria causa. (ii) Audi alterem partem (iii) Reasoned decisions.[1]


Rule of Law means that no person is above the law and it goes irrespective of anything such as post , rank , caste , religion, race etc. and every person has the same right to law and is subject to jurisdiction by court in any case whatsoever. Rule of law was first described by Plato and Aristole where Plato wrote: “Where the law is subject to some other authority and has none of its own, the collapse of the state, in my view, is not far off; but if law is the master of the government and the government is its slave, then the situation is full of promise and men enjoy all the blessings that the gods shower on a state” and Aristole said that “law should govern and those in power should be servants of the laws.” There are 3 principles of rule of law as given by Dicey :


1) Supremacy of law,

2) Equality before law and

3) Predominance of Legal Spirit [2]


PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL JUSTICE


I) Nemo debet essc judex in propria causa

It means that “no man shall be the judge of his own cause” which implies that there should be no bias with anyone and the decision of the case before the law should never be one sided or for the sake of one person’s personal interest. In simple words, there should be no bias with any person on any basis whether it is rank , post etc. In Article 14-18 it is mentioned that that “the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.” There are various types of bias defined : 1) Pecuniary bias 2) Personal bias 3) Official bias


Pecuniary bias – there should be no bias on the basis of financial interest and his adjudicative positions which can obviously lead to bias if he is pecuniary interest in the matter of the dispute case. Simply, if a person has some interest in the dispute case himself and he adjudicating it, then it can lead to a bias and hence that person should be removed from that proceeding. In Jeejeebhoy Vs. Asst. collector , Thana the CJ reconstituted the whole bench when it was found that one of the members was a member of the co operative society that the land case was being fought on.[3]


Personal Bias – this bias occurs when there is some relation between the adjudicator and the party whether it is by family, profession , or with financial interests, etc. All these relations can lead to a bias decision by the deciding authority towards the favouring party. In Ramanand Prasad Singh vs. Union Of India it was held that a whole selection community cannot be quashed because of the future aspects of bias as on of the member was brother was the candidate of the competition. The respective member was of panel was removed from the case.[4]


Official bias – when the deciding authority Is related directly or indirectly with the party or has some interest in the case. In such case adjudicator can be disqualified by the particular case.[5]


II) Audi alterem partem

It means that “let the other side be heard as well” which means that no person should be punished or given fine without hearing his word. Every person has a Right to be Heard equally as per Article 14 of Equality . Simply , every person ahs the right to be heard by the court and no party can go unheard into any decisions. And for any decision to be actually fair , this Audi alterem partem is very important as if every party is not heard then bias will be there and it would not be considered as justice. It has 2 parts which needs to be followed:

1) Notice- notice is a written order that is ordered by the decisive authority which is given to the opposite party regarding the actions taken against him and including all the particulars of the case and whereabouts of the case investigation such as place, time , suspected person, object etc. in Punjab National Bank Ltd vs Employees Of The Bank it was held that if the notice is not properly constituted or isn’t correct the penalty will not be applied . [6]

2) Hearing- fair hearing for both the sides should be there so that the explanation of both sides can be heard. This is basically for the fairness of the decision , so that the other party gets a chance to explain its side and can be informed about alleged crimes and charges. It includes : i) right to present the case ii) right to cross examine any evident person or thing iii) right to a legal representative if someone cannot afford a legal representative.[7]


(iii) Reasoned decisions

This means that every decision taken by the decisive authority should be reasoned. The adjuratory body should recite the reasons for every particular decision taken and every party has the right to ask for a reasoned decision. It also helps in rectifying any judicial law error if any.

RULE OF LAW

Rule of law is derived from a french phrase ‘la principe de legalite’ which basicallymeans the ‘principal of legality’ which basically implies that government works under law not men and every person is equal in the eyes of law. Dicey stated rule of law as “the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power and excludes the existence of arbitrariness, of prerogative, or even wide discretionary authority on the part of the government.” Article 21 of the right of protection of life and personal liberty that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”. Article 32 and 226 are there written in the constitution to protect the rights which consist of 5 writs to ensure the proper work of judiciary and authorities.


1) Supremacy of Law ( By Dicey)

It means that every man should be governed by law and law only. No authority whether its government authority or some ranked person or common man, every person is same in the eyes of law and will be punished for its breach of law with equal power. This also extends to a position that no person shall be punished without any breach of law and any person who does it will be punished. According to Dicey, there must be some absence of powerful discretionary powers on the authorities or any person for that matter so that no single person can change or make laws with its own choice.


2) Equality before law

This has a simple meaning that equality before law is a must and every person should be equal in the eyes of law so that fairness of decision can be there and justice have no obstacles in its way. Subject to any class, race , position, rank , religion, equality has no limits , every person is equal irrespective of any of those things before the law.


3) Predominance of Legal Spirit

It means that general principles of the constitution are the result of judicial decisions which can determine the rights of the person. It basically means that constitution is not the source of the laws but the rights of a person are and these rights are the source from where the judicial decisions are taken. The prime decision is only the judicial authority and it decision have be based on the rights of a person. [8]


CONCLUSION

Principles of natural justice and rule of law both are basically aimed at a big scope of equality before law and that there should be no order or decision made by the judicial body that violates someones rights and should always be a fair decision. Article 14 of equality plays a big part in the implementation of both of these. Article 32 and 226 are there to implement these principles.

References:

[1] Justice Brijesh Kumar , J.T.R.I. JOURNAL – First Year, Issue – 3 , (July – September, 1995) [2] Concept of Rule of Law lawteacher.net (16th Aug 2019) https://www.lawteacher.net/free-law-essays/constitutional-law/introduction-concept-of-rule-law-essays.php?vref=1. [3] N. B. Jeejeebhoy vs Assistant Collector, Thana ... on 5 October, 1964 Equivalent citations: 1965 AIR 1096, 1965 SCR (1) 636 [4] Ramanand Prasad Singh & Anr vs Union Of India & Ors on 27 March, 1996 Equivalent citations: 1996 SCC (4) 64, JT 1996 (4) 39 [5] Principles Of Natural Justice In The Light Of Administrative Law www.legalservices.com ( Feb. 25, 2020) http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-1659-principles-of-natural-justice-in-the-light-of-administrative-law.html. [6] The Punjab National Bank, Ltd vs Its Workmen (24 Sept. , 1959) 1960 AIR 160, 1960 SCR (1) 806. [7] Principles Of Natural Justice www.nacenkanpur.gov.in ( Mar. 31, 2015) https://www.nacenkanpur.gov.in/download3.inc.php?rid=164. [8] Kamaluddin Khan, The Doctrine of Rule of Law www.twocircles.net ( Feb 20, 2009 ) https://twocircles.net/legal_circle/doctrine_rule_law_kamaluddin_khan.html.

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