Natural Justice is an important concept in administrative law. The term natural justice signifies basic principles of justice, which are made available to everyone litigant during trial. Principles of natural justice are founded on reason and enlightened public policy. These principles are adopted to circumstances of all cases. Such principles are applicable to decisions of all governmental agencies, tribunals and judgments of all courts.
2. Meaning and Definition
Justice can be divided into legal justice and natural justice. Legal justice means that justice, which is governed by law of state. However, there is no precise definition of natural justice. That is why, different jurists have given is different definitions. Better explanation of definition of natural justice can be that natural justice means that justice, which is based on natural ideals and human values.
3. Aims of Natural justice
The aim of the rules of natural justice is to secure justice or to put it negatively miscarriage of justice. These rules can operate only in areas not covered by law validity made. In other words, they supplement law. The rules of natural justice are not embodied rules. What particular rules of natural justice should apply to a given case must depend to a great extent on the facts and circumstances of the case, the framework of the law under which the enquiry is held and the constitution of the tribunal appointed for the purpose.
4. Principles of Natural Justice
IN addition to some other principles, following two maxims are most important principles of natural justice
(i) No one should be condemned Unheard
Audi alteram partem is a Latin maxim and it means that no one should be condemned unheard. And broadly speaking, it means that each party should be given a fair opportunity to present his case and both parties should he heard fairly whenever a case comes before a court for hearing.
Following points to explain
(a) Principle of natural justice
This maxim is considered one of basic pillars of principles of natural justice. No system of law can survive without this basic pillar.
(b) Essential element
Maxim of Audi Alterm Partem includes following essential elements.
(b-i) Prior Notice of Hearing
First essential element is that clear, unambiguous and adequate notice should be properly served to opponent party.
(b-ii) Sufficient Time
Second essential element is that litigants should be given sufficient time for preparation of their case.
(b-iii) Opportunity of Hearing
Third essential element is that litigants should be given an opportunity of hearing to produce oral and documentary evidence and cross-examination.
(b-iv) Conduct of Hearing
Fourth essential element is that hearing should be conducted fairly and should be free of bias.
(b-v) Right to Legal Representation
Fifth essential element is that litigants should be provided right to legal representation during proceeding of litigation.
(b-vi) Reason for decision
Sixth essential element is that decision of litigation should be speaking one; it should consist of reasons for making of decision.
(ii) No one should be judge of his own case
The principles of natural justice consist of the rule against bias or interest and is based upon three maxim of common law.
(i) No one shall be a judge in his own cause
(ii) Justice should not only be done, but manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done
(iii) Judges, like ceaser’s wife should be above suspicion.
To explain it following points
(a) Principle of Natural Justice
This maxim is another basic pillar of principles of natural justice. No system of law can survive without this basic pillar.
This maxim is applicable to following two cases;
(b-i) First case
If a judge is presiding over a case, in which he directly appears as a party, he is precluded from presiding over that case.
(b-ii) Second case
When a judge is presiding over a case, in which he has an interest, he is precluded from deciding that case. It is settled principle of law that no one should hear a case wherein he himself is interested in one way or the other.
To conclude, it can be stated that principles of natural justice have though remained unmodified, yet they are followed in absence of any other law. The reality is that their application to administrative or quasi-judicial proceedings is not only indispensable, but is also considered a prime requirement.