Natural Justice In World Legal Systems

Sharing is Caring

Introduction

Natural Justice has been an important concept in all the legal systems of the world. This concept of natural justice in world legal systems is really the backbone of law and justice.

Meaning

Natural Justice portrays different meanings in the views of different lawyers, and writers.

Natural Justice means that all the administrative procedures are fair or are supposed to be fair because a specific process has been followed.

Natural Justice also means to safeguard, by a procedure, the improper exercise of powers by a public authority.

Derivation

It is a law of nature that is not derived from any other statute or constitution.

However, the term ‘ Principles of natural justice ‘ has been derived from the word ‘ Jus Naturale ‘ of Roman law. It has a close relationship with Common law and Moral law but it is not codified law.

Evolution

The concept of natural justice has been evolved during the 17th and 18th centuries. It evolved from the English Cases.

The hearing rule (Audi Alterm Partem) is the backbone in connection with natural justice.

Definition

It does not seem easy to define the term ‘Natural Justice’ in a precise and scientific manner. However, some definitions of natural justice are given below:

According to Victor Cousin:

Natural Justice is the universal and absolute law that cannot be written down but it appeals to the hearts of all.

According to Smith:

Natural Justice expresses a close relationship between the common law & moral law which reveals that what is right and what is wrong.

Other Names of Natural Justice

The term ‘Natural Law’ has also been known by other names. These names are the following;

  • Substantial Justice
  • Fundamental Justice
  • Universal Justice
  • Fair play in action

Principles of Natural Justice

In order to maintain justice in a society, the principles of natural justice have been evolved and utilized since the dawn of civilization.

There are three basic principles of natural justice;

 A. Nemo Judex In Causa Sua

  • No one should be the judge in one’s own cause OR
  • Rule against Bias

 BAudi Alterm Partem

  • No one should be condemned unheard OR
  • Hear the other party also OR
  • Rule of fair hearing

C. Reasoned Decision

  • The decision or judgment of the judge should be given on valid and reasonable grounds.

Note: The principles of natural justice are also known as pillars of natural justice. No system of law can survive without these pillars.

A. NEMO JUDEX IN CAUSA SUA

It is a Latin phrase that says, “No one should be a judge in one’s own cause”. It means that no one should act as a judge in a case in which he has a personal interest.

Main Principle

This principle “Nemo Judex in Causa Sua” is one of the most important principles of natural justice which means that no man should be a judge in his own cause and his case should be decided by an impartial judge having judicial authority.

This principle is also called The Principle against Bias.

What does Bias actually mean?

The term Bias means “the action of supporting or opposing a particular person or thing in an unfair manner usually in a predetermined tone”.

Bias also means “to decide a particular matter on the basis of self-interest and not on the basis of evidence”.

Purpose of Rule against Bias

The foremost purpose of the Rule against Bias is

  • To make the judicial process fair and without prejudice.

The principle of natural justice also applies to the Quasi-Judicial proceedings as it applies to only Judicial proceedings.

Thus this principle applies to both Judicial proceedings and Quasi-Judicial proceedings

Principle of Binding

The Principle against Bias says that any authority or body whether it is judicial or quasi-judicial must meet with the principles of rule of law and also the principles of natural justice.

The principle against bias says that

  • The court must follow the principles and must treat the disputes of the parties equally.
  • The judge must give equal opportunity of participation to both the parties and he must not show any interest or bias toward those.
  • The judge must decide the case on the merits.
  • If a judge is found to be biased toward one of the parties during the proceedings, he will be dismissed and disqualified from acting as a judge in the future.

Kinds of Bias

The kinds of Bias are the following.

  1. Personal Bias
  2. Subject matter Bias
  3. Pecuniary Bias
  4. Departmental Bias
  5. Policy notion Bias

1. Personal Bias

Personal Bias means doing something in favor of friends, family members, and relatives and at the same time going against the enemies. Also, it is inherited in the genes of humans that they usually favor their relatives, friends, and family members while going against their enemies.

So, as the judge is also a human being, he may have some personal attachment, enmity, or rivalry towards one party and be prejudiced against another party.

CASE STUDY: Mineral Development Corporation Ltd. Vs State of Bihar

2. Subject Matter Bias

Subject Matter Bias arises when the judge is involved whether directly or indirectly, in the subject matter of a particular case. This happens when the general interest of the judge matches with some departmental policy.

However, only having general interests regarding a case will not dismiss the judge from deciding the case until he has been found to be biased in the litigation process.

CASE STUDY: Krishna Bus Service Vs The State of Haryana

3. Pecuniary Bias

The Pecuniary Bias arises when the judicial body (Judge) has any kind of financial benefit whether the benefit is minor or huge.

It is a well-defined principle that if the Pecuniary Bias is found in the litigation, the person, acting as a judge, will be disqualified from acting as a judge.

Also, if the decision of a case is found to be based on Pecuniary Bias, the decision will be canceled.

CASE STUDY:Dimes Vs Grand Junction Canal Proprietors (1852)

4. Departmental Bias

Departmental Bias arises when there is an entire non-application of mind and decisions are issued without a legal basis.

Departmental Bias is a very common problem in every administrative process. This problem is growing its roots day by day because it is not being checked effectively.

Departmental Bias has been proved to be an alarming danger to the establishment of a welfare state. A welfare state is one where the departments are unbiased and they work for the betterment and improvement of the state.

5. Policy Notion Bias

Sometimes, Bias may arise when the Governmental official pronounces the General Policy of the Government beforehand which is actually to be followed by him.

CASE STUDY: T. Govindaraja Mudaliar Etc. Etc Vs The State Of Tamil Nadu

B. AUDI ALTERM PARTEM

The term “Audi Alterm Partem is a combination of three Latin words which collectively produce a meaning that “No one can be condemned unheard”.It is also called the Rule of Fair Hearing.

The Audi Alterm Partem Principle, a well-known principle of natural justice, enjoys a high position in the legal systems of the world.

The basic motive of this principle is to ensure that both parties should be given a fair chance to present their arguments and shreds of evidence to the judge and that a fair trial should be conducted. Thus, no party will be condemned without being heard.

Components

However, it is necessary to mention that the components of fair hearing are not fixed or rigid in nature. It continues to vary from case to case and authority to authority.

The components are the following;

  1. Issuance of the Notice
  2. Right to avail reasonable time
  3. Right to Legal Representation
  4. Right to Cross-Examination
  5. Reasoned Decision

1. Issuance of the Notice

The issuance of the notice is of great importance in the Audi Alterm Principle. So, a compelling and accurate notice should be issued to the parties on whom the trial is to be run.

Failure in the issuance of the notice will result in the cancelation and termination of the decision or order announced by the judge. So, it is compulsory to grant notice to the parties in order to save the time of both parties as well as the judge and to avoid any adverse effect or complexity.

In case, the statute becomes unable to include the provision of the issuance of the notice, then the notice will be granted prior to making decisions. It was held in the case of  Fazal Bhai Dhala Vs Custodian-General.

2. Right to avail reasonable time

After the issuance of the notice, both parties should be given reasonable time so that they must make sure of their presence in the court with the required evidence.

Another major purpose of allowing a reasonable time to the parties is that they must collect necessary shreds of evidence that are required to be presented before the judge in the court during the trial.

An important ingredient of the Audi Alterm Principle is that relevant shreds of evidence should be presented in court on the part of the parties. This is only possible when they are given enough time to collect the evidence so that they may present it before the judge in a decent manner.

So, both parties should be notified, advised, and informed in this regard.

3. Right to Legal Representation

In the matter of trial, every party has the right to have a legal representative (Advocate). A legally trained person will represent each party and none can question him nor can deny him.

Similarly, the department can also direct its officer even though there are investigating officers in conducting an adjudicating proceeding.

CASE STUDY: Nandlal Bajaj Vs The State of Punjab

4. Right to Cross-Examination

The right of a fair hearing is that through which the affected party can cross-examine the statement. The principles of natural justice will be violated if the judge has denied cross-examining the case.

There is a condition for the interference of the court in the matter that there must be a refusal by a body to allow cross-examination.

CASE STUDY: Ludhiana Food Products Vs Collector Of C. Ex.

C. REASONED DECISION

This is the third major and significant principle of Natural Justice. According to this principle, the judge who makes some decisions must provide the reasons for that particular decision. Now, it has become a universally accepted principle to give the reasons for the decision made by the judge.

The reasons are beneficial because they inform us about any bit of injustice and error in the case on the part of the unsuccessful party.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan

In Pakistan, according to the Section 24A of the General Clauses Act, 1897, it was held that

All the executive authorities must give reasons for their order whenever needed or required.

Purpose of Demanding the Reasons

The purpose of demanding the reasons cannot be under-estimated because it provides the following services.

  • It ensures that the administrative authority will carefully bring into consideration the facts and evidence of the case.
  • It ensures that the administrative authority will apply its mind while making the decision.
  • It ensures that all the relevant factors will be considered and irrelevant factors will be ignored.

Conclusion

It is concluded that the principles of Natural Justice are those patterns that have been laid down by the courts for the protection of the rights of an individual. Thus, these rules prevent an authority from doing injustice.

It is now clear that the principles of natural justice have been adopted and followed by the judiciary to protect public rights against undue decisions made by the judges. It can be easily noticed that the rule of natural justice includes the concept of fairness.

Leave a Reply