The Principles of Natural Justice

    The term is derived from the expression ‘Jus Natural’ of the Roman Law, which are laws not implemented by a statute but are necessarily be followed. Today, in almost all civilised societies, the principle of natural justice is adhered and is of supreme importance for the judicial bodies for determining disputes between two parties.
    In other words, the principle of natural justice are the minimum protection of rights that is provided to an individual against whom an order is being passed affecting his rights. These principles prevent the authority from doing any injustice.

    Initially the Roman Law provided for 2 principles under natural justice;

    1. Nemo debet essc judex in propria causa;
    2. Audi alterem partem,
      However there are some more principles which have taken shape during the recent developments of law;
    3. the order which is passed affecting the rights of an individual must be a speaking order;
    4. the party, against whom an order is passed, in fair play, must know the reasons of passing the order.

    I. Nemo debet essc judex in propria causa

    The first principle states that t ‘No man shall be a judge in his own cause’ which means that, the deciding authority must be impartial and without bias. It implies that no man can act as a judge for a cause in which he himself has some interest. This principle is also popularly known as the ‘Doctrine of Bias’ meaning that the sitting judge should be unbiased and impartial. Such a principle instils confidence in the judiciary system and ensures that justice is not just merely done but seen to be done. There can be various elements of ‘bias’;

    a. Personal Bias
    In some cases it might so happen that the parties affected may be known to the sitting judge(s). They might be related or friends, enemy or rivals. In such cases there is a high possibility of showing favouritism or biasness towards a party which might prejudice the decision making.

    b. Pecuniary Bias
    If the sitting judge have monetary interest in a said matter that in obvious that the said matter will get prejudiced due to biasness.

    c. Official Bias
    In come case the judge is some vested inclination towards a particular side. Such an inclination might affect ate fair decision making and the predisposition might overpower the neutrality of the order.

    II. Audi alterem partem

    The second principle means that no man should be condemned unheard or that both the sides must be heard before passing any order. No man can be denied his/her personal liberty or (property) in a judicial hearing until he is given a fair opportunity of the presenting / arguing his case.
    Another principle which follows the above is ‘qui aliquid statuerit parte inaudita alteram actquam licet dixerit, haud acquum facerit’ that is, he who shall decide anything without the other side having been heard, although he may have said what is right, will not have been what is right, basically meaning that justice should not only be done but be manifestly be seen to be done.
    The opportunity to provide hearing before making any decision was considered to be a basic requirement in the court proceeding. Denial of opportunity may make an order void. Limitation of time cannot stand in the way of not giving adequate opportunity. The principle is inviolable.

    III. Order must be a speaking order

    This principle excludes the possible arbitrariness from an order. The judgement should show how and why such an order has been passed and the basis of passing such an order. The principle state that an order without giving any reason will be a violation of principle of natural justice. This brings the 4th principle;

    IV. Reasoned decision

    The refusal to give a reason for passing a said order might give rise to suspicion. Another aspect is that the party against whom the order is passed must be given sufficient reason as to why such an order is passed. The parties have the right to know the reason for passing an order.