Adv Sherry Samuel Oommen
This article is authored by Adv Sherry Samuel Oommen. Adv Oommen, who specializes in constitution, tax and corporate laws has also cleared the final exams of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, the Institute of Cost Accountants of India, and the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. He has also completed his Masters Degree in Commerce, apart from obtaining a Post Graduate Diploma in Business and Corporate Laws from Symbiosis Pune. The views expressly are personal and should not be construed as a legal email@example.com.
In the recent past, one has clearly been witnessing a deterioration in the rule of law and upholding its majesty. One of the key aspects of the rule of law has been the need to follow the principles of natural justice. Sadly, despite surfe it judgments of the Hon’ble Supreme Court on this count, authorities find it below their dignity to follow these principles in its true spirit. I would dare state that these principles ought to be followed if one does respect the rule of law. As one would agree, no one is above the law.
Rules of natural justice – What do they mean?
The rules of natural justice are not embodied rules. The phrase “natural justice” too is also not capable of a precise definition. The underlying principle of natural justice has evolved in common law as a means to check the arbitrary exercise of power by the State or its functionaries. Therefore, the principle of natural justice implies a duty to act fairly.
The Supreme Court in the case of AK Kraipak Vs Union of India (1969) 2 SCC 262 has held that the rules of natural justice are to secure justice or put it negatively to prevent a miscarriage of justice. These rules do not supplant the law but supplement it. To understand, the true meaning of the said rule, I am tempted to borrow a few paragraphs from the leading judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Swadeshi Cotton Mills Vs Union of India  1 SCC 664. Hon’ble Justice Sarkaria, J, speaking for the majority in a three-Judge Bench lucidly explained the meaning and scope of the concept of “natural justice”. Referring to various decisions, his Lordship observed as follows:
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It is now judicially settled that orders passed against the principles of natural justice is a nullity. Despite the existence of these rules, it is quite disconcerting how authorities display their growing hegemony and a totally disregard to the rules. The faith of the citizenry can only be restored if those that execute the law, follow it in its true spirit.
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