Natural Justice – concept, Principle, meaning in Hindi, etc.

Natural Justice - concept, Principle, meaning in Hindi, etc.

Natural Justice – concept, Principle, meaning in Hindi, etc.




Natural Justice means a sense of justice which appeals to the reason of a common prudent man. In any civilized society, there ought to be set norm of laws emanating from the competent authority, applicable to everybody.

A most important aspect of such applicability is that one is subjected only to set of laws emerging from that competent authority and none other.

Hence, a proper justice system will be that which ensures reasonability of laws as well as the certainty of laws. Therefore, we may say that natural justice is the antithesis to arbitrariness. It is a relationship of sorts, between law and morality. Moreover, it shouldn’t be confused with natural law, though they are closely related as natural justice is all about reason and so is natural law.


Magna Carta, or the great charter, is an important historical document as far as common law is concerned. This charter declared that everyone, right from the last individual to the King is subject to the law. And that, the law guarantees everyone equal justice and fair trial. Clause 39 of the Magna Carta 1215[1] states that no free man shall be subjected to any legal depravity or disability except by procedure established by law.

Later on, in Clause 29 of the Magna Carta of 1354[2], the phrase Due Process appeared for the first time – No man shall be divested of his possessions, subjected to corporal punishment or deprived of life except by the due process of law.

Due Process lays down duty on the state to respect the legal, constitutional and statutory rights of everyone. If the government acts to the detriment of a person without following the prescribed course of law then it is said that due process is not followed.

The principles of Natural Justice discussed later in this writeup, forms part of due process. Constitution of India does neither mentions natural justice nor due process. It provides for Procedure Established by Law, instead.

Natural Justice - concept, Principle, meaning in Hindi, etc.


Natural Justice is based on two principles; Nemo Judex in Causa Sua and Audi Alteram Partem. Earlier one means that no one can be a judge in his own cause while the latter means nobody should be condemned unheard. With the advent of principles of natural justice, it was considered that only judges and judicial officers ought to be functioning in consonance with them.

But as time progressed and the administrative structure of governance changed, several administrative authorities were empowered with many judicial and quasi-judicial functions. Hence, it has now become a norm by default, for all the judicial and administrative authorities to adhere to the principles of natural justice.

Now both in case of judicial adjudication and administrative execution, the principle of natural justices is a standard norm as a safeguard against judicial inequity or administrative impropriety.


This is the first of the two principles of natural justice, also known as Rule against Bias. It means that a person who is adjudicating a dispute should not be involved in that issue in any way. Being a judge in one’s own cause should not be taken literally. It is likely that the judge may be having an interest in the topic of dispute.

Under such circumstances, he should recuse from the case in the interest of justice because this would render him akin to judging in his own cause while he adjudicates the case. Thus, if the presiding officer of a court has an interest, direct or indirect, in the subject-matter of the case or the disputing parties, it is said that there exists a bias in the judge.

It is immaterial how impartial the judge is. This principle, Nemo Judex in Causa Sua aims at minimizing even the far-off possibility of any bias in the mind of the judge.

Such bias may be personal in nature or monetary in nature. Sometimes the judge may be so placed that even the sheer subject-matter of the case may create a bias in his mind. In Mineral Development Corporation Ltd V. State of Bihar (SC 1960 AIR 468)[3] it was held that political rivalry of general election comes under the purview of personal-bias and the decision-making authority was considered to be in violation of Nemo Judex in Causa Sua, therefore, the order was quashed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

In Dimes V. Grand Junction Canal[4], House of Lords 1952, Lord Cottenham presided over the case. Later, it was discovered that Lord Cottenham is a shareholder in a company who was a party in the case. The Lord Chancellor disqualified Lord Cottenham from presiding over the case on account of monetary-bias and the judgement was quashed.


It means that everybody should be given a fair opportunity to speak before the judge or presiding authority. Unless he gets a chance to present his case decision should not be taken which may be detrimental to that person. Every accused has a right to defend himself. Every person party to a dispute should be given a reasonable opportunity of putting up his case.

Even if there is a situation where an administrative or judicial officer is going to pass an order relating to only one person or party, administrative propriety calls for giving the person an opportunity to explain his case. It gives the party an opportunity to respond to allegations against him and defend the evidences placed against him.

This principle is also known as the Rule of Fair Hearing. Service of notice is very important as far as this rule is concerned. When we say that, everyone is entitled to the fair opportunity of being heard, it means that person has to be notified of the fact that a decision is about to be taken concerning him. This notification becomes the duty of the presiding officer. There are two aspects of notice.

Firstly, Service of Notice and secondly Content of Notice. Notice may be served in person, maybe sent by Registered Post, can be served by Affixing at a conspicuous place on Outer Door or by Publication in News Paper. As far as the content of the notice is concerned, the notice should contain the issue in Clear and Explicit terms and the matter should be explained with Sufficiency.


Canadian legal and administrative system is a strong believer in the principles of natural justice. In Canada, Natural Justice is a safeguard for citizens and expatriates in their interplay with state or its instrumentality. Both, Audi alteram partem and Nemo judex in sua causa are given due place in administrative setup. In Baker V. Canada Minister of Citizenship and Immigration[5] held that fairness is the basis of justice and laid down a long list of factors influencing natural justice.


Broadly speaking, Common Law is referred to as the legal system prevalent in England since the middle ages[6]. In CE 1215, the great charter Magna Carta declared the supremacy of procedure established by law. Later in CE 1354, the necessary basis of law enforcement was declared to be due process.

If the government acts to the detriment of a person without following the prescribed course of law then it is said that due process is not followed. Due Process is an embodiment of principles of natural justice and is comprehensively followed in English Common Law.


The term Civil Law is referred to as the system of law prevalent in mainland Europe. Hence the European countries under the influence of Roman Law were adherents of civil law. The term Natural Justice is derived from the Roman concept of Jus Naturale. In the IIIrd century CE, Roman Emperor Justinian caused all the laws organized and written down[7]. Roman law therefore is sometimes referred to as Justinian Code. The core of this philosophy is that the actions of authorities should be reasonable, objective and fair.

Natural Justice - concept, Principle, meaning in Hindi, etc.


A.21 of the Constitution of India declares that State cannot deny personal liberty to anybody and cannot take away the life of anybody, without adopting the procedure established by law[8].

This article finds a place in Part III of the Constitution under the marginal heading ‘Right to Freedom’. Part III of the Constitution provide for Fundamental Rights. These fundamental rights are rights available to citizens (in some cases non-citizen as well) against the State. Meaning thereby, State, despite being in possession of plenary legislative and executive powers, cannot take away these rights except of course, subject to certain exceptions mentioned in the Constitution itself.

Law of the land, as we know comprises of two constituents; one, the Substantive Law as legislated by the legislature and two, the Case Law as declared by the Apex Court. To put it simply, the judiciary often interprets, explains or widens the meaning of enacted law for expediency. Most elemental activism of our Supreme Court in this regard has been the compassionate, caring and the liberal interpretation is given to the Right to Life and Personal liberty.

Hon’ble Supreme Court has declared that right to life and personal liberty includes right to live with human dignity and all that goes along  (SC 1981 AIR 746[9] and SC 1984 AIR 802[10]), right to livelihood (SC 1986 AIR 180[11]), right to education (SC 1992 AIR 1858[12] and SC 1993 AIR 2178[13]), right to privacy, which emanated from Kharak Singh[14] and culminated in Justice KS Puttaswamy (Rtd.) Vs. Union of India (SC 1963 AIR 1295 and WP(C) No. 494 of 2012[15]).

The list is unending, but any discussion on the expansion of A.21 would be incomplete without mentioning of landmark seven judge-bench judgement of Hon’ble Supreme Court in Maneka Gandhi V. Union of India[16] (SC 1978 AIR 597).

As discussed above, though Constitution of India does not make an express provision for natural justice, in Maneka Gandhi judgement, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India held that A.21 mentions procedure established by law, but the constitutional requirement is that procedure must be free from arbitrariness and irrationality.

When we call for the procedure which is free from arbitrariness and irrationality, undoubtedly, we ask for due process of law.   Hence, this judgement spelt out what was intrinsic in the constitution. Due Process, therefore is the process established by law. Impartiality of the Court, and Opportunity of being heard, therefore, become a compulsory requirement for every judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative hearing in India. Hence, both the principles of natural justice and their components thereof, now stand to be the law of the land.


It is a well-settled and widely accepted that, when any authority does not adhere to the principles of natural justice in his actions or proceeding, then his orders are void in law. In Ridge V. Baldwin[17], an English case, the decision was taken by the officer was held to be void due to non-compliance of rules of natural justice.

In Managing Director, U.P. Warehousing Corporation v. Vijay Narayan Vajpayee[18], the Supreme Court of India held that dismissal of an employee of the undertaking was unlawful because and wrongful for failing to follow principles of natural justice.



[1] Clause 39 of the Magna Carta 1215,   Access 11JAN2021

[2] Clause 29 of the Magna Carta 1354,   Access 11JAN2021

[3] Mineral Development Corporation Ltd V. State of Bihar (SC 1960 AIR 468)

[4] Dimes V. Grand Junction Canal, House of Lords 1952,   Access 11JAN2021


[5] (1999) 2SCR 817

[6]  Access 30JAN2021

[7]  Access 30JAN 2021

[8] A.21 Constitution of India

[9] Francis Coralie Mullin vs The Administrator, Union Territory of Delhi,   SC 1981 AIR 746

[10] Bandhua Mukti Morcha vs Union of India & Others, SC 1984 AIR 802

[11] Olga Tellis Vs. Bombay Municipal Corporation, SC 1986 AIR 180

[12] Mohini Jain Vs. State of Karnataka, SC 1992 AIR 1858

[13] Unni Krishna Vs. state of Andhra Pradesh, SC 1993 AIR 2178

[14] Kharak Singh vs The State of Uttar Pradesh, SC 1963 AIR 1295

[15] Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Rtd) V. Union of India, SC WP(C) No. 494 of 2012   Access 11JAN2021

[16] Maneka Gandhi V. Union of India, SC 1978 AIR 597

[17] (1964) AC 40

[18] AIR 1980 SC 840


Article by
Yusuf Afzal Khan

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