You are on page 1of 18

NATIONAL LAW INSTITUTE UNIVERSITY, BHOPAL

EMRGING TENDS IN NATURAL JUSTICE


As a part of ADMINISTRATIVE LAW- I Project

Submitted to Submitted by Mrs. Sushma Sharma Hirak Mukherjee BA.LL.B. 2010 -76

Contents
Contents.....................................................................................................................................2 INTRODUCTION.....................................................................................................................2 RULE AGAINST BIAS (NEMO JUDEX CAUSA SUA).......................................................3 AUDI ALTERAM PARTEM OR RULE OF FAIR HEARING.............................................5 Post Decisional Hearing........................................................................................................5 CASE STUDY ON EMERGING TRENDS IN NATURAL JUSTICE...................................7 Ravi Yashwant Bhoir Vs. District Collector, Raigad and Ors..............................................7 CONCLUSION.......................................................................................................................17 BIBLIOGRAPHY...................................................................................................................18

INTRODUCTION
In India there is no statute laying down the minimum procedure which administrative agencies must follow while exercising decision-making powers. This minimum fair procedure refers to the principles of natural justice. It is a concept of common law and represents higher procedural principles developed by the courts, which every judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative agency must follow while taking any decision adversely affecting the rights of a private individual. Natural justice implies fairness, equity and equality.

In a welfare state like India, the role and jurisdiction of administrative agencies is increasing at a rapid pace. The concept of Rule of Law would lose its validity if the instrumentalities of the State are not charged with the duty of discharging these functions in a fair and just manner. In India, the principles of natural justice are firmly grounded in Article 14 & 21 of the Constitution. With the introduction of concept of substantive and procedural due process in Article 21, all that fairness which is included in the principles of natural justice can be read into Art. 21. The violation of principles of natural justice results in arbitrariness; therefore, violation of natural justice is a violation of Equality clause of Art. 14. The principle of natural justice encompasses following two rules: 1. Nemo judex in causa sua - No one should be made a judge in his own cause 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.

RULE AGAINST BIAS (NEMO JUDEX CAUSA SUA)


Bias means an operative prejudice, whether conscious or unconscious in relation to a party or issue. The rule against bias flows from following two principles: a) b) No one should be a judge in his own cause Justice should not only be done but manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.

Thus a judge should not only be impartial but should be in a position to apply his mind objectively to the dispute before him. The rule against bias thus has two main aspects: 1. The administrator exercising adjudicatory powers must not have any personal or

proprietary interest in the outcome of the proceedings. 2. There must be real likelihood of bias. Real likelihood of bias is a subjective term,

which means either actual bias or a reasonable suspicion of bias. It is difficult to prove the

state of mind of a person. Therefore, what the courts see is whether there is reasonable ground for believing that the deciding factor was likely to have been biased. Bias can take many forms: Personal Bias Pecuniary Bias Subject-matter bias etc,

A.K.Kraipak Vs. Union of India1 In this case, Naquishband, who was the acting Chief Conservator of Forests, was a member of the Selection Board and was also a candidate for selection to All India cadre of the Forest Service. Though he did not take part in the deliberations of the Board when his name was considered and approved, the SC held that there was a real likelihood of a bias for the mere presence of the candidate on the Selection Board may adversely influence the judgement of the other member'. SC also made the following observations: 1. The dividing line between an administrative power and quasi-judicial power is quite thin and is being gradually obliterated. Whether a power is Administrative or quasi-judicial, one has to look into a) the nature of power conferred b) the person on whom it is conferred c) the framework of the law conferring that power d) the manner in which that power is expected to be exercised. 2. The principles of natural justice also apply to administrative proceedings, 3. The concept of natural justice is to prevent miscarriage of justice and it entails a) No one shall be a judge of his own cause. b) No decision shall be given against a party without affording him a reasonable hearing.

(1969) 2 SCC 262

c) The quasi-judicial enquiries should be held in good faith and not arbitrarily or unreasonably. J.Mohopatra & Co. Vs State of Orissa2 SC quashed the decision of the Textbooks' selection committee because some of its members were also the authors of the books, which were considered for selection. The Court concluded that withdrawal of person at the time of consideration of his books is not sufficient as the possibility of quid pro quo with other members cannot be eliminated.

AUDI ALTERAM PARTEM OR RULE OF FAIR HEARING


The principle of Audi Alteram Partem is the basic concept of principle of natural justice. The expression Audi Alteram Partem implies that a person must be given opportunity to defend himself. This principle is sine qua non of every civilized society. This rule covers various stages through which administrative adjudication pasees starting from notice to final determination. Right to fair hearing thus includes: 1. Right to notice 2. Right to present case and evidence 3. Right to rebut adverse evidence a) Right to cross examination b) Right to legal representation 4. Disclosure of evidence to party 5. Report of enquiry to be shown to the other party 6. Reasoned decisions or speaking orders Post Decisional Hearing Post decisional hearing means hearing after the decision is reached. The idea of post decisional hearing has been developed by the SC in Maneka Gandhi Vs. Union of India3 to maintain the balance between administrative efficiency and fairness to the individual.
2

1985 SCR (1) 322 1978 SCR (2) 621

Maneka Gandhi Vs. Union of India In this case the passport dated 01.06.1976 of the petitioner, a journalist, was impounded `in the public interest' by an order dated 02.07.1977. The Govt. declined to furnish her the reasons for its decision. She filed a petition before the SC under article 32 challenging the validity of the impoundment order. She was also not given any pre-decisional notice and hearing. The SC held that though the impoundment of the passport was an administrative action yet the rule of fair hearing is attracted by the necessary implication and it would not be fair to exclude the application of this cardinal rule on the ground of administrative convenience. The court did not outright quash the order and allowed the return of the passport because of the special socio-political factors attending the case. The technique of post decisional hearing was developed in order to balance these factors against the requirements of law, justice and fairness. The court stressed that a fair opportunity of being heard following immediately the order impounding the passport would satisfy the mandate of natural justice The same technique of validating void administrative decision by post decisional hearing was adopted in Swadeshi Cotton Mills Vs. Union of India 4. Under section 15 of IDRA, an undertaking can be taken over after making an investigation into its affairs. But u/s 18-AA, a take-over w/o an investigation is permitted where `immediate' action is required. The court validated the order of the govt. which had been passed in violation of the rule of Audi Alteram Partem because the govt. had agreed to give post-decisional hearing. The ratio of the majority decision was as follows: 1. Pre-decisional hearing may be dispensed with in an emergent situation where

immediate action is required to prevent some imminent danger or injury or hazard to paramount public interest. 2. Mere urgency is, however, no reason for exclusion of Audi Alteram Partem rule. The

decision to exclude pre-decisional hearing would be justiciable.


4

1981 SCR (2) 533

3.

Where pre-decisional hearing is dispensed with, there must be a provision for post-

decisional remedial hearing. In K.I.Shephard Vs. Union of India5 certain employees of the amalgamated banks were excluded from employment. The Court allowing the writs held that post-decisional hearing in this case would not do justice. The court pointed out that there is no justification to throw a person out of employment and then give him an opportunity of representation when the requirement is that he should be given an opportunity as a condition precedent to action. Thus in every case where pre-decisional hearing is warranted, post-decisional hearing will not validate the action except in very exceptional circumstances.

CASE STUDY ON EMERGING TRENDS IN NATURAL JUSTICE


Ravi Yashwant Bhoir Vs. District Collector, Raigad and Ors.6 FACTS: The Bombay High Court affirmed and upheld thr judgment of Chief Minister, declaring that conduct of Appellant was unbecoming of President of Municipal Council and declared him to be disqualified for remaining tenure of municipal councillorship and further declared him disqualified for a period of six years under Section 55B of the Maharashtra Municipal Councils, Nagar Panchayats and Industrial Townships Act, 1965. The Appellant contended that the impugned order had been passed without affording any opportunity of hearing to the Appellant and thus, the said order was passed in utter disregard of the principles of natural justice and cannot be sustained in the eyes of law. JUDGEMENT: The Supreme Court observed that removal of a duly elected Member on the basis of proved misconduct is a quasi-judicial proceeding in nature... Therefore, the principles of natural justice are required to be given full play and strict compliance should be ensured, even in the absence of any provision providing for the same. Principles of natural justice require a fair opportunity of defense to such an elected office bearer.7

AIR 1988 SC 686 AIR 2012 SC 1339 23

The Court further observed that In a democratic institution, like ours, the incumbent is entitled to hold the office for the term for which he has been elected unless his election is set aside by a prescribed procedure known to law or he is removed by the procedure established under law. The proceedings for removal must satisfy the requirement of natural justice and the decision must show that the authority has applied its mind to the allegations made and the explanation furnished by the elected office bearer sought to be removed...an elected member can be removed in exceptional circumstances giving strict adherence to the statutory provisions and holding the enquiry, meeting the requirement of principles of natural justice and giving an incumbent an opportunity to defend himself, for the reason that removal of an elected person casts stigma upon him and takes away his valuable statutory right. In the present case, the court observed that no reasoning had been given by Statutory Authority for reaching its conclusions. Since a duly elected member/chairman of council could not be removed in such a casual and cavalier manner without giving strict adherence to safeguards provided under statute which had to be scrupulously followed, the disqualification was set aside by the Apex Court. K.T. Plantation Pvt. Ltd. and Anr. Vs. State of Karnataka8 Dr. Svetoslav Roerich, a Russian born, was an internationally acclaimed painter, and Smt. Devika Rani Roerich, grand niece of Rabindranath Tagore had made valuable contributions and outstanding services to the Indian Motion Pictures and Film Industry. Dr. Roerich and Mrs. Devika Rani Roerich had owned an Estate called Tatgunni Estate covering 470.19 acres at B.M. Kaval Village of Kengeri Hobli and Manvarthe Kaval Village of Uttarhalli Hobli, Bangalore South Taluk, out of which 100 acres were granted to them by the State Government in the year 1954 for Linaloe cultivation. When the Land Reforms Act came into force, they filed declarations under Section 66 of the Act before the Land Tribunal, Bangalore South Taluk-II stating that they had no surplus lands to surrender to the State since the entire area held by them had been used for the cultivation of Linaloe which was exempted under Section 107(1)(vi) of the Land Reforms Act. Some of the persons who were associated with the couple, had an eye on their properties, including the land used for linaloe

(2011) 9 SCC 1

cultivation, valuable paintings, jewellery, artefacts etc., and began to create documents to grab those properties The Chief Secretary of the State of Karnataka noticing the above facts and circumstances convened a meeting on 1.4.92 in the presence of the Director of Archaeology to take effective and proper steps to preserve the paintings, artefacts and other valuables. For that purpose, they met Smt. Devika Rani and Dr. Roerich on 03.04.92 and a letter was handed over to Dr. Roerich on behalf of the State Government expressing the Government's willingness to purchase the paintings and other valuables so as to set up a Roerich Gallery. The Department of Law and Parliamentary Affairs opined that the exemption given under Section 107 of the Land Reforms Act, 1961 could be withdrawn by the Government by issuing a notification as per Section 110 of the Land Reforms Act. Consequently the Commissioner and Secretary to the government proposed to issue a notification to that effect for which approval of the Cabinet was sought for. The Cabinet accorded sanction and the Government issued a notification in exercise of powers conferred by Section 110 of the Land Reforms Act, withdrawing the exemption granted for the lands used for cultivation of Linaloe under Clause (vi) of Sub-Section 1 of Section 107 of the Act. Thus the issue was whether Section 110 of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961, as amended by the Karnataka Land Reforms amendment Act, 1973, (Act 1 of 1974), which came into effect from 01.03.1974, read with Section 79B of the said Act, introduced by amending Act 1 of 1974, violated the basic structure of the Constitution, in so far as it confers power on the Executive Government, a delegate of the Legislature, of withdrawal of exemption of Linaloe plantation, without hearing and without reasons? JUDGEMENT The Court while upholding the validity of Section 110 held that ..(There is)no force in the contention that opportunity of hearing is a pre-condition for exercising powers under Section 110 of the Act. No such requirement has been provided under Section 107 or Section 110. When the exemption was granted to Roerichs' no hearing was afforded so also when the exemption was withdrawn by the delegate. It is trite law that exemption cannot be claimed as a matter of right so also its withdrawal, especially when the same is done through a legislative action. Delegated legislation which is a legislation in character,

cannot be questioned on the ground of violation of the principles of natural justice, especially in the absence any such statutory requirement. Legislature or its delegate is also not legally obliged to give any reasons for its action while discharging its legislative function Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation and Anr. Vs. Bal Mukund Bairwa9 Appellant - Corporation, was constituted in terms of the provisions of Road Transport Corporations Act, 1950 (for short, the 1950 Act). Section 45 of the 1950 Act provides for the Regulation making power. Pursuant to or in furtherance of the said power, the Corporation made Regulations known as Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation Employees Service Regulations, 1965. Chapter V of the said Regulations provided for suspension, termination, dismissal, removal and/or compulsory retirement, etc. The Corporation was also an industry within the meaning of Section 2(j) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The Parliament enacted Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 (for short, "the 1946 Act"). In the year 1965, the Corporation framed its Standing Orders known as Rajasthan State Road Transport Workers and Workshop Employees Standing Orders, 1965, which were certified under the 1946 Act. The said Certified Standing Orders deal with suspension, termination, dismissal, removal and/or compulsory retirement, etc. The respondents were terminated by the corporation. Thus, the main issue was regarding the jurisdiction of the civil court to entertain suits questioning orders of termination passed by the appellant Corporation against the respondents. The suits were filed by the respondents, inter alia, on the premise that termination of their services was in violation of the principles of natural justice. JUDGEMENT The court observed that an employee charged with grave acts of misconduct must be held to be entitled to a fair hearing in the departmental proceeding. The common law principles of natural justice must also be complied with. The Appellant is a State within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India. If an act on its part is found to be wholly unreasonable or arbitrary, the same would be violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of
9

(2009) 4 SCC 299

India. In certain situations, even gross violation of the principles of natural justice has been held to come within the ambit of Article 14. Any orders passed in violation of the principles of natural justice save and except certain contingencies of cases, would be a nullity. Thus, the Appellant - Corporation was bound to comply with the mandatory provisions of the statute or the regulations framed under it as a subordinate legislation when validly framed becomes a part of the Act and is also bound to follow the principles of natural justice. Hence, the termination of the respondents was set aside. Kesar Enterprises Ltd. Vs. State of U.P. and Ors.10 FACTS: On 20th December 1988, the Appellant executed an indemnity bond in favour of the Governor of Uttar Pradesh in relation to permission for removal by rail 67.77 lac bulk liters of rectified spirit of any strength ranging between 91.68% V/V @ 15.60C to 95% V/V @ 15.60C, on the basis of an order issued by the Excise Commissioner, Uttar Pradesh. One of the conditions in the indemnity bond was that if the said quantity of rectified spirit, after deducting such allowance for dryage and wastage, was not delivered at the warehouse at Kandla, the authorised nominee, the Appellant herein, would indemnify the Governor for any loss of duty, which the Governor would suffer by reason of such non delivery or short delivery, by paying him on demand the duty @ ` 40/- per alcoholic liter, on spirit not so delivered, after making the allowances aforesaid. On 8th January, 1989, M/s Daurala Sugar Works consigned a rake of 15 tank wagons, loaded with 3,54,413 bulk liters of rectified spirit under PD-25 pass for export against order dated 15th October, 1988. The said consignment was dispatched through the Northern Railway to Kandla Port. However, out of 15 tank wagons only 14 tank wagons reached the Kandla Port. On 16th January, 1989, it was discovered that the 15th tank wagon was lying empty at Gandhi Dham Railway Station and thus, penalty was imposed in appellant. The Appellant pleaded that since the entire rake of 15 tank wagons was handed over to the Railway authorities at Daurala station for its delivery at Kandla Port, it was the responsibility of the Railways to make safe delivery of the goods at the destination and, therefore, the

10

(2011) 13 SCC 733

Appellant was in no way responsible for the disappearance of rectified spirit contained in one of the tank wagons and, thus, no Excise duty was payable by the Appellant. However, the High Court came to the conclusion that although the State Government had no authority to levy Excise duty under Section 28 of the U.P. Excise Act, 1910 (for short "the Act") on rectified spirit (industrial alcohol) in question but it could impose penalty on the Appellant under Rule 633(7) of the Uttar Pradesh Excise Manual, (for short "the Excise Manual"). The appellants however, pleaded that since an order under Rule 633 entails serious consequences, the principles of natural justice and fair play are required to be observed and consequently, an opportunity of hearing has to be afforded before an order under the said Rule is made, which was not done in the instant case. JUDGEMENT The Supreme Court deliberated on the point whether the principles of natural justice demanded that an opportunity of hearing should be afforded before an order under Rule 633(7) of the Excise Manual is made? The Court observed that Rules of "natural justice" are not embodied rules. The phrase "natural justice" is also not capable of a precise definition. The underlying principle of natural justice, evolved under the common law, is to check arbitrary exercise of power by the State or its functionaries. Therefore, the principle implies a duty to act fairly i.e. fair play in action. With regard to the current case, the court went on to observe that keeping in view the nature, scope and consequences of direction under Sub-rule (7) of Rule 633 of the Excise Manual, the principles of natural justice demand that a show-cause notice should be issued and an opportunity of hearing should be afforded to the person concerned before an order under the said Rule is made, notwithstanding the fact that the said Rule does not contain any express provision for the affected party being given an opportunity of being heard. Undoubtedly, action under the said Rule is a quasi-judicial function which involves due application of mind to the facts as well as to the requirements of law. Therefore, it is plain that before initiating any step to recover any penalty, there has to be an adjudication as regards the breach of condition(s) of the bond. Moreover, the penalty amount has also to be

quantified before proceedings for recovery of the amount so determined are taken. In the instant case, the Excise Commissioner called upon the Appellant to deposit an amount of ` 14,20,943/- towards Excise duty and interest on account of default on their part to furnish PD-25 pass duly certified by the competent authority at Kandla Port. The letter /notice did not indicate the exact quantity of rectified spirit. Thus before imposing the impugned demand of penalty and interest, there was absolutely no adjudication by any authority as regards the breach committed by the Appellant, except the allegation that the Appellant had failed to furnish the PD-25 pass certified by the Collector. Therefore, the action of the Respondents for the recovery of penalty and interest, being volatile of principles of natural justice, was declared null and void by the Supreme Court. Dr. Mahachandra Prasad Singh Vs. Hon. Chairman, Bihar Legislative Council and Ors.11 FACTS: The petitioner was elected as a member of the Bihar Legislative Council (MLC) from Tirhut Graduate Constituency as a candidate of Indian National Congress. The notification for holding elections to Fourteenth Lok Sabha was issued in March, 2001. The petitioner contested the said election from Maharajganj Parliamentary Constituency as an independent candidate. Shri Salman Rageev, a member of Bihar Legislative Council, sent a petition to the Chairman of the Legislative Council on 10th June, 2004 stating, inter alia, that the petitioner, who was a member of the Congress Party, had contested the parliamentary election from Maharajganj Constituency as an independent candidate and consequently in view of the provisions of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution he had become disqualified for being a member of the House. The petitioner was asked to submit his explanation vide letter dated 12th June, 2004 of the Secretary of the Council. After considering the explanation offered by the petitioner, the Chairman of the Legislative Council passed the impugned order dated 26th June, 2004 holding that the petitioner had contested the election for Bihar Legislative Council in the year 1998 as a candidate of the Congress Party and was a member of the said political party and that he had contested the Lok Sabha Election, 2004, as an independent candidate, and thus he had voluntarily given up his membership of the Congress party and, therefore, he was disqualified for being a member of the House in view of paragraph 2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule read with Article 191(2) of the Constitution and the seat held by him
11

(2004) 8 SCC 747

in the House has become vacant. One of the grounds pleaded by the petitioner against this order was that there was violation of principles of natural justice as the material relied upon by the Chairman was not disclosed to the petitioner nor a proper opportunity of personal hearing was afforded to him. JUDGEMENT The Supreme Court while going through the facts of the case observed that enough opportunity of hearing was provided to the petitioner. The facts showed that the Chairman of the Bihar Legislative Council had afforded ample opportunity' of personal hearing to the petitioner but he himself did not avail of it. Regarding the complaint of non-supply of the copy of the letter sent by Prof. Arun Kumar, leader of Indian National Congress in Bihar Legislative Council, whereby he had informed that the petitioner Shri Mahachandra Prasad Singh had ceased to be a member of Indian National Congress for violating the party discipline was concerned, the only relevant fact stated therein was that the petitioner had been elected as a member of the Bihar Legislative Council on a Congress ticket but he had contested the parliamentary election as an independent candidate. Therefore, the non-supply of copy of the letter of the leader of the Congress Legislative Party had no bearing at all as no prejudice could be said to have been caused to the petitioner and consequently in the facts of the present case, no principle of natural justice could be said to have been violated. Manohar S/o Manikrao Anchule Vs. State of Maharashtra and Anr. 12 The Appellant, was working as Superintendent in the State Excise Department and was designated as the Public Information Officer. Thus, he was discharging the functions required under the provisions of the Act. After receiving the RTI application from Respondent No. 2 asking for certain information, the Appellant forwarded the application to the concerned Department for collecting the information. As Respondent No. 2 did not receive the information in furtherance to his application dated 3rd January, 2007, he filed an appeal within the prescribed period before the Collector, Nanded on 1st March, 2007, under Section 19(1) of the Act. Respondent No. 2, without awaiting the decision of the First Appellate Authority (the Collector), filed an appeal before the State Information Commission at Aurangabad regarding non-providing of the information asked for. The said appeal came up for hearing before the Commission at Aurangabad who directed issuance of
12

2012(12)SCALE601

the notice to the office of the State Excise at Nanded. The Nanded office informed the Appellant of the notice and that the hearing was kept for 26th February, 2008 before the State Information Commission at Aurangabad. On 25th February, 2008, the applicant forwarded an application to the office of the State Information Commissioner bringing to their notice that for official reasons he was unable to appear before the Commissioner on that date and requested for grant of extension of time for that purpose. The State Information Commission, without considering the application and even the request made by the Officer who was present before the State Information Commission at the time of hearing, allowed the appeal vide its order dated 26th February, 2008, directing the Commissioner for State Excise to initiate action against the Appellant as per the Service Rules. Thus, the main contention of the Appellant that the order of the State Information Commission, as affirmed by the High Court, was in violation of the principles of natural justice and contrary to the very basic provisions of Section 20 of the Act. JUDGEMENT The Supreme Court in its judgment observed that It is a settled principle of law and does not require us to discuss this principle with any elaboration that adherence to the principles of natural justice is mandatory for such Tribunal or bodies discharging such functions... The State Information Commission is performing adjudicatory functions where two parties raise their respective issues to which the State Information Commission is expected to apply its mind and pass an order. The adjudicatory process essentially has to be in consonance with the principles of natural justice, including the doctrine of Audi Alteram Partem. Hearing the parties, application of mind and recording of reasoned decision are the basic elements of natural justice. In the current case, it was observed by the court that if the Appellant was given an opportunity and had appeared before the Commission, he might have been able to explain that there was reasonable cause and he had taken all reasonable steps within his power to comply with the provisions. The Appellant had shown that the default, if any on his part, was not without reasonable cause or result of a persistent default on his part. On the contrary, he had taken steps within his power and authority to provide information to Respondent No. 2. It was for the department concerned to react and provide the information asked for. Hence, the order of the commission was set aside.

Haryana Financial Corporation and Anr. Vs. Kailash Chandra Ahuja13 The respondent herein Kailash Chandra Ahuja was appointed as Technical Officer in the Corporation in June, 1979. On August 17, 1999, while he was working as Branch Manager at Branch Office, Rewari, the Corporation initiated proceedings against the writ-petitioner in accordance with Regulation 41 (1) and (2) of Punjab Financial Corporation (Staff) Regulations, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as `the Regulations') on the allegations enumerated in the Statement of Charges. The statement related to commission and omission on the part of the writ-petitioner. The writ- petitioner submitted a reply on December 14, 1999. An Inquiry Officer was appointed who submitted his report on December 15, 2000 and exonerated the writ-petitioner of all the charges. According to the Corporation, however, the report of the Inquiry Officer suffered from certain deficiencies. Hence, the Managing Director of the Corporation asked the Inquiry Officer vide a communication dated June 19, 2001 and sought clarification. The Inquiry Officer called the delinquent to appear before him on August 7, 2001. The Inquiry Officer then submitted his findings vide his report dated September 5, 2001 holding the delinquent guilty. A notice was thereafter issued by the Managing Director of the Corporation to the delinquent on December 18/20, 2001 to show cause why he should not be dismissed from service under Regulation 41 (1) (e) of the Regulations. The delinquent filed his reply on February 8, 2002. He was granted personal hearing and was dismissed from service by a speaking order dated April 4, 2002. The delinquent preferred an appeal before the Board of Directors of the Corporation which was also dismissed by the Board by an order dated January 27, 2005. The delinquent, therefore, filed a writ petition in the High Court of Punjab & Haryana contending that the Disciplinary Authority i.e. Managing Director did not furnish a copy of the inquiry report before recording a finding that he had accepted the finding of guilt recorded by the Inquiry Officer in his inquiry report dated September 5, 200 and that supply of inquiry report after the respondent had been found guilty by the Inquiry Officer was mandatory, in view of the fact that the writ-petitioner had been exonerated by the Inquiry Officer earlier vide his report dated December 15, 2000 The Writ Petition was allowed by the High Court setting aside the order dated April 4, 2002 passed by the Corporation. It was this order which was challenged by the Corporation in the Supreme Court.
13

(2008) 9 SCC 31

JUDGEMENT The court observed that It is settled law that principles of natural justice have to be complied with. One of the principles of natural justice is Audi Alteram Partem ("Hear the other side"). But it is equally well settled that the concept `natural justice' is not a fixed one. It has meant many things to many writers, lawyers, jurists and systems of law. It has many colours, shades, shapes and forms. Rules of natural justice are not embodied rules and they cannot be imprisoned within the strait-jacket of a rigid formula. In the present case, while failure to supply Inquiry Officer's report had resulted in violation of natural justice and the order was, therefore, liable to be quashed, no finding was recorded by the High Court that failure to supply Inquiry Officer's report had resulted in prejudice to the delinquent. Thus the court held that it is clear that though supply of report of Inquiry Officer is part and parcel of natural justice and must be furnished to the delinquent- employee, failure to do so would not automatically result in quashing or setting aside of the order or the order being declared null and void. For that, the delinquent employee has to show `prejudice'. Unless he is able to show that non-supply of report of the Inquiry Officer has resulted in prejudice or miscarriage of justice, an order of punishment cannot be held to be vitiated. And whether prejudice had been caused to the delinquent- employee depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case and no rule of universal application can be laid down. Hence, as the employee had not faced any prejudice due to the non compliance of natural justice, the appeal was allowed and his dismissal was held to be proper.

CONCLUSION
The recent trends that have emerged from the above cases are: 1. No elected member can be removed unless the requirement of principles of natural justice and giving the incumbent an opportunity to defend himself are met. 2. Delegated legislation which is a legislation in character, cannot be questioned on the ground of violation of the principles of natural justice, especially in the absence any such statutory requirement.

3. Gross violation of the principles of natural justice has been held to come within the ambit of Article 14. 4. Issuing a show cause notice has been held to be part of Natural Justice. 5. Even when a Quasi Judicial Body is performing a adjudicatory function, it must adhere to the principles of Natural Justice. 6. Even if the principles of natural justice are not met with, if the aggrieved person does not face any major prejudice due to the non observance of these principles, it would not automatically result in quashing or setting aside of the order.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Jain, M.P. & Jain, S.N.; Principles of Administrative Law, 6th Ed., Vol. II, Wadhwa Nagpur, 2007. 2. Kumar, Narender; Nature and Concepts of Administrative Law, 1st Ed., Allahabad Law Agency, Faridabad, 2011. 3. Massey, I.P., Administrative Law, Eastern Book Company, (Lucknow)