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UNIVERSITY OF PETROLEUM AND ENERGY STUDIES

DEHRADUN

COLLEGE OF LEGAL STUDIES


ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
REASONED DECISION AS A FACET OF NATURAL JUSTICE

SUBMITTED TO: Mr. Ramesh Singh Professor COLS

SUBMITTED BY: Ajeet Singh Verma BALLB 6th SEM. R450210012 500012118

INTRODUCTION
The evolution of the equity can be traced back to the development of concept of natural justice, which in turn in owes much to natural law. Before recent developments in the domian, it was thought that the requirement for adjudicatory bodies to give reasons for their decisions was not a part of natural justice and, accordingly, adjudicatory bodies were not obligated to give reasons in support of their decisions. But since then some change has came in this situation. Though there are no general rule requiring giving reasons, it is increasingly clear that there are many circumstances in which an administrative authority which fails to give reasons will be found to have acted unlawfully. The decisions that appear aberrant of without reason have to be explained. In India, in absence of any particular statutory requirement, there is no general requirement for administrative agencies to give reasons for their decisions. However, if the statue under which the agency is functioning requires reasoned decisions, courts consider it mandatory for the administrative agency to give reasons which should not be merely rubber stamp reason but a brief, clear statement providing based and the actual conclusion.1 But, in cases where the statue does not provide for reasoned decisions, courts in India are still in process of developing workable parameters between the claims of individual justice and administrative flexibility. the link between the materials on which certain conclusions are

Gurdayal singh v. State bank of Punjab, (1979) 2 SCC 727: 1993 SCC 368, See also AIR 1974 SC 87.

MEANING OF SPEAKING ORDER/ REASONED DECISION


A speaking order means an order speaking for itself. To put simply, every order must be speaking, i.e. to say it must contain reasons in support thereof, should not be like the inscrutable face of sphinx. Recording of reasons is soul of justice.2

OBJECT AND IMPORTANCE


The giving of reasons for a decision is one of the fundamentals of good administration. 3 This leads to natural justice on the part of decision maker. Articulating the base of a decision can improve the quality of decision making in a number of significant ways. it makes administrative authority more accountable to their actions and it also develops a habit of mind to look at things from the standpoint of policy and administrative expediency. if an individual is subjected to give reasons for his decision, it will impose some restriction on him and moreover if an adjudicator is mandated to record reasons for his conclusions, it will make it necessary for him to consider the matter more carefully. The condition to give reasons introduces clarity, ensures objectivity and impartiality on the part of decision maker and minimizes unfairness and arbitrariness for compulsion of disclosure of guarantees consideration. The adjudicator will have to give such reasons of r his decisions as may be regarded fair and legitimate by a reasonable man and thus it will minimize chances of irrelevant or extraneous consideration from entering his decisional process, and it will also minimizes chance of unconscious infiltration of personal bias or unfairness in his conclusions. Giving of reasons for his decision is a guarantee by the decision- maker has applied his mind to the facts and circumstances of the case and has not reached to the conclusion mechanically or arbitrarily, or on irrelevant considerations; that he has reached decision according to law and not according to caprice, whim or fancy, or on grounds of policy or expediency. The, publication of reasons may increase public confidence in the administrative process, particularly, by assuring those adversely affected by a decision that it has not been made arbitrarily and relevant point which may support a contrary view have not been ignored but given
2 3

Alexander v. crabtree, 1974 ICR 120; State of Punjab v. Bhag Singh, (2004) I SCC 547. Breen v. A.E.U. (1971) 2 QB 175.

due consideration. It is well known principle that justice should not be only done but should also be seen to be done. Administrator is under a general duty to act fairly and fairness founded on reason is the essence of the right of equality.4And moreover under many laws decision of lower adjudicatory body are appealable so there a proper review is not possible unless the higher body knows the base upon which original decision is made.5

ENGLISH LAW
There is no general rule of English law that reasons must be given for administrative or even judicial decision.6 But as Lord denning7 says, The giving of reason is one of the fundamentals of good administration. The condition to record reasons introduces clarity and excludes arbitrariness and satisfies the party concerned against whom the order is passed. Today the old police state has become a welfare state. To provide a safeguard against these arbitrary powers and there are all possibilities of abuse of power by these authorities, the condition of recording reasons is imposed on them. it is true that even ordinary law courts do not always give reasons in support of orders passed by them when they dismiss appeals and revisions summarily. But Regular court of law and Administrative Tribunals cannot be put at par.8 According to wade9 , the need for recording reason has been sharply exposed by the expanding law of judicial review. The necessity of reason has also been recognized by the committee on ministers Powers, 1973 (Frank Committee), the tribunals AND inquiries Act, 1958, the tribunals and the inquiries Act, 1958, the tribunals and inquiries Act, 1922 and several others.

AMERICAN LAW
So far as the US is concerned, the administrative procedure Act, 1946 enjoins every adjudicatory body to include in its decision a statement of finding and conclusions as well as the reasons or basis therefore upon all materials issues of fact, law or discretion. Even otherwise, the courts have taken the view that all administrative authorities must record reasons in support of their
4 5

Govt. Branch Press v. D.B Belliappa AIR 1979 SC 429. Jain M.P, Principles of Administrative Law sixth Edn, Lexis Nexis Butterworths Wadhwa, Nagpur, p 354. 6 th de smith, Judicial review of administrative Action (5 Edn.) 475-473. 7 breen v Amalgamated Engg. Union, (1971) 2 QB 175: 8 M.P. Industries Ltd. v. Union of India 1966 SC 671. 9 Wade and Foryth, Adminitrative Law (2009) 436-439 .

decisions. Without reasons, it would be difficult for a superior court to exercise the power of judicial review.10

INDIAN LAW
If the statue requires recording of reasons, then it is the statutory requirement and therefore, there is no scope for further inquiry. But even when the statue does not impose such an such an obligation, it is necessary for the quasi-judicial authority to record reasons, as it is the only visible safeguard against possible injustice and arbitrariness and affords protection to the person adversely affected. Reasons are the links between the materials on which the certain conclusions are based and the actual conclusion.11 The courts insist upon disclosure of reasons in support of the order on three grounds:12 The party aggrieved has the opportunity to demonstrate before the appellate or revisional court that the reasons which persuaded the authority to rejects his case were erroneous; The obligation to record reasons operates as a deterrent against possible arbitrary action by executive authority invested with judicial power; and It gives satisfaction to the party against whom the order is made.

Development of the principle via judicial precedents in India:


It is ought to be exercised fairly, sparingly and only when the fully justified by the exigencies of an uncommon situation.13 The rule requiring reasons to be recorded by quasi judicial authorities support of the orders passed by them is a basic principal of natural justice.14 The same view is reiterated by apex court in Maneka Ghandhi v. Union Of india15 the central government was wholly unjustified in withholding the reason for impounding the passport from the petitioner and this was not only in the breach of statutory provision, but it also amounted to denial of opportunity of hearing to the petitioner. The order impounding the passport of the petitioner was,
10 11

Unites states v. Foreness (1942) 125 F. Thakkar C.K, Administrative Law, second edition, Eastern Book Company, Lucknow, p 399. 12 Ibid 13 Maneka Ghandhi v. Union of India (1978) I SCC 248, AIR 1978 SC 597, 14 Siemens Engg. Mfg. Co. of India Ltd v. Union of India AIR 1976 SC 1785. 15 supra 12.

therefore, clearly in violation of the rule of natural justice embodied in the maximum audi alteram paterm.16 Since the requirement to record reasons emanates from the board doctrine of fairness in decision making, the said requirement is now virtually a component of human rights and was considered part of Strasbourg Jurisprudence.17 In all common law jurisdictions, judgment plays a vital role in setting up precedents for the future. Therefore, for the decision is of the essence and is virtually a part of Due process.18

RECORDING OF REASONS BY COURTS


A judgment or an order of a court of law must be self contained with reasons in support of the findings arrived at the court. Sometimes, it is contended that courts themselves are not obliged at common law to give reasons for their decisions (of course, in absence of any statutory provision in that behalf). But as de smith19 states, today not only higher courts, but all courts, at least in relation to some of their decision, are under such obligation.

RECORDING OF REASONS AS A PART OF NATURAL JUSTICE


A difficult and controversial question, however, is whether recording of reason can be said to be one of the principal of natural justice, so the two principals of natural justice are well established that are No man shall be judge in his own cause (nemo debet esse judex in propria sua cuasa). No man should be condemned unheard (audi alterum partem).

But the rule of natural justice is neither embodied rules nor they can be poisoned within the straight jacket of a rigid formula. so as to apex court in A.K Kriapak 20 that in the course of years many more subsidiary rules came to be added to the rules of natural justice. For the first time in Siemens Engg.21 supreme court held that the rule requiring reason to be recorded by quasi-judicial authorities in support of the orders passed by them must be held to be
16 17

Ibid. Anya v. University of Oxford, 2001 EWCA (Civ) 40. 18 Kranti Associates (P) Ltd. v. Masood Ahmed Khan, (2010) 9 SCC 496. 19 th Judicial review of administrative action (5 Edn.) 457; 20 AIR 1970 SCC.

a basic principal of natural justice. Moreover justice Agarwal Jcourt in S.N Mukharjee v. union of india22 observed : Keeping in view the expanding horizon of the principal of natural justice, we are of the opinion, that the requirement to record reasons can be regarded as one of the principle of natural justice which governs exercise of power by administrative authorities. But in the recent judgment of G. Vallikumari V. Andhra Education Society23 the apex court clarified the position precisely, for the need of recording reasons in support of the order passed describing it as one of the recognized fact of natural justice. in kranti associates24 the S.C has gone to the extent that the recording reason is now virtually a component of human rights. Wade and forsyth25 the time has now surely came for the court to acknowledge that there si a general rule that reasons should be given foe decisions, based on the principal of fairness which permeates administrative law, subject only to specific exceptions to be identified as cases arise. Such a rule should be unduly onerous, since reasons need never be more elaborate than the nature of the case admits, but the presumption should be in favour of giving reasons, rather than, as at present, in favour of giving reasons, rather than, as at present, in favour of withholding them.

RECORDING OF REASONS AND FAIR PLAY IN ACTION


Though after the decision in Siemens Engg.26 and Maneka Ghandhi27 the requirement of recording reasons can be truly described as one of the principle of natural justice, but even otherwise, every adjudicating authority is required to act fairl y and and fair play in action can

21 22

Supra 14. AIR 1990 SC 1984. 23 AIR 2010 SC 1105. 24 (2010) 2 SCC 9 496, 47. 25 supra 11. 26 Supra 14. 27 Supra 13.

only be said to be satisfied if such authority records reasons in support of the decisions taken by it.28 In the matters of Ram shyam co. v. state of Haryana29 Justice D.A Desai J observed: My learned colleague suddenly left the court and the doubt nagged me for sometime whether one judge alone can give the reasons. It was an agreed order. Before pronouncing the order broad discussion took place which showed identify of views on all points involved in the matter. in this background to give reasons which appealed to us though drawn up by one of us would any day provide a better choice than not to give because it would always annoy the battle whether there are legal or logical reasons in support of the order or it is merely an arbitrary exercise of power.30

EXISTENCE AND NON-COMMUNICATION OF REASONS


Again, the distinction between non- existence of reason and non-communication of reasons cannot be overlooked. In a society governed by the rule of law, no action can be taken without existence of reason therefore.31 Ordinarily, those reasons are required to be communicated to the aggrieved party, unless there is justification for non-communication. In Shrilekha Vidyarathi v. State of U.P.32 the state government by a circular, terminated appointment of all government counsel. when the validity of the said circular was questioned in the supreme court, it was contended that the appointments were liable to be terminated at any time without assigning any cuase. Likewise, in Mohd. Jafar v. Union of India33 construing the word stated, the court held that it did not mean the reason merely recorded in the file, But communicated for the benefit of the aggrieved party who could challenge the decision.

28 29

Thakkar C.K, Administrative Law, second edition, Eastern Book Company, p 335. AIR 1958 SC 1147. 30 AIR 1966 SC 671. 31 AIR 1984 SC 2045. 32 AIR 1991 SC 537. 33 1994 supp (2) SCC I, 7.

EFFECT OF THE FAILURE TO RECORD REASONS


Judicial trend is not consistent and uniform in some cases, it has been held that the defect goes to the root of the matter as there is an error of law apparent on the face of the record and the decision is, therefore, liable to be quashed and set aside. It is not ordinary open to a decision maker, who is required to give reasons, to respond to a challenge by giving different or better reasons.34 To quash a decision simply because of failure to record reason is disproportionate and inappropriate response.35 the court may in such cases direct the adjudicating authority to consider the matter again and record reasons in support of the oeder passed.36

CONCLUSION it is submitted that discussion may well be concluded by quoting the following powerful observations of justice chandrachud37 the reasons, if disclosed, being open to judicial scrutiny for ascertaining their nexus with the order impounding the passport, the refusal to disclose the reasons would equally be open to the scrutiny of the court; or else the wholesome power of dispassionate judicial examination of executive orders could with impunity be set at naught by an obdurate determination to suppress the reasons. Law cannot permit the exercise of a power to keep the reasons undisclosed the sole reason for doing is to keep the reasons away from judicial scrutiny.

34 35

R. v. Brent, 2002 EWCA Civ 693. Adami v. ethical standard officer 2005, EWCA (Civil) 1754. 36 (1964) 2 QB 303. 37 Supra 14.