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Natural Justice in Constitution of India

Principles Of Natural Justice In Indian Constitution The Principles of Natural Justice have come out from the need of man to protect himself from the excesses of organized power.

Natural Law is another name for common-sense justice. It is used interchangeably with Divine Law, jus gentium and the common law.

The Principles of Natural Justice are considered the basic Human Rights because they attempt to bring justice to the parties naturally.

Basic Pillars

Two core points in the concept of principles of natural justice

1.) Nemo in propria causa judex, esse debet – No one should be made a judge in his own case, or the rule against bias.

2.) Audi alteram partem – Hear the other party, or the rule of fair hearing, or the rule that no one should be condemned unheard. • These two are the basic pillars of the Principles of Natural Justice. No system of law can survive without these two basic pillars.

An Overview

Preamble of the constitution includes the words, ‘Justice Social, Economic and political’ which is the base for principles of Natural Justice.

Apart from preamble we have the following articles which are based on principles of natural justice i. Article 14 ii. Article 21 iii. Article 22 iv. Article 32 v. Article 226 vi. Article 227 vii. Article 311.

Article 14

Article 14 manifests in the form of following propositions: (i) A law conferring unguided and unrestricted power on an authority is bad for being arbitrary and discriminatory. (ii) Art. 14 illegal discrimination in the actual exercise of any discretionary power. (iii) Art. 14 strikes at arbitrariness in administrative action and ensures fairness and equality of treatment.

It is believed that such a procedural safeguard may minimize the chance of the Administrative authority passing an arbitrary order. Thus, the Supreme Court has extracted from Art. 14 the principle that natural justice is an integral part of administrative process.

Case Study: Central Inland Water Transport Corporation Ltd v. Briojo Nath

Article 21

Article 21 lays down that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except, according to ‘procedure established by law’. The most important word under this Article is ‘procedure established by law’ the question arises whether these words can be read as rules of natural justice

AK Gopalan Case: The Supreme Court ruled by majority that the word ‘law’ in Art. 21 could not be read as rules of natural justice.

Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India: Majority opinion of A.K. Gopalan was discarded; The procedure “cannot be arbitrary, unfair or unreasonable”. The concept of reasonableness must be projected in the procedure contemplated by Art.21.

Thus, the procedure in Art. 21 “must be right, just and fair” and not arbitrary, fanciful or oppressive, otherwise, it would be no procedure at all and the requirement of Art. 21 would not be satisfied.

Article 22

Art. 22: gives protection to arrested person against arrest and detention in certain cases which within its ambit contains very valuable element of natural justice, • Article 22 (1) and (2) confers four following fundamental rights upon a person who has been arrested: i) Right to be informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest. ii) Right to consult and to be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice. iii) Right to be produced before the nearest magistrate within twenty- four hours of his arrest. iv) Right not to be detained in custody beyond the period of twenty four hours without the authority of the Magistrate.

Article 32 & 226

Art 32 and 226 of the constitution provides for constitutional remedies for violation of fundamental Rights and other legal rights respectively. Remedies under Art 32 and 226 can be exercised by issuing appropriate Writ, Direction and Orders.

Writs are in the nature of Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Quo-warranto and Certiorari.

Writ of Habeas Corpus is invoked to prevent unlawful detention and Mandamus is invoked to compel public official to perform his legal duties. Whereas Writ of Prohibition and Certiorari are used to prevent Judicial and quasi-judicial bodies from acting without jurisdiction, in excess of jurisdiction, or where error of law apparent on face of record, violation of Fundamental Right and on the ground of violation of Principles of Natural Justice.

Case Study: a. In U.P.Warehousing Coproration V. Vijay Narain

b. In Gullapalli Nageshwar Rao vs. APSRTC

Article 227

Power of superintendence over all courts by the High Court => High Court may in exercise of its power of superintendence issue direction, Order or writ in cases where it felt that there is violation of principles of natural justice accordingly it is one of the constitutional provisions framed in the spirit of principles of natural justice.

Article 311

Art 311 deals with Dismissal, removal, or reduction in rank of persons employed in civil capacities under the Union or a State.

Clause (1) of Art 311 declares that no person who is a member of civil service of the Union or an all-India service of State or holds a civil post under Union or a State shall be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed and Clause (2) of Art.311 declares no such person as aforesaid shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he has been informed of the charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges. The word ‘reasonable opportunity of being heard’ includes all the dimension of principles of natural justice, accordingly no dismissal, removal, or reduction of rank of civil servant can be made without giving reasonable opportunity of being heard.

Case Study: a. Punjab National Bank V. Kuna Bihar Mira b. Kuldeep Singh V. Commissioner of Police

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