Constitutional & Administrative Law

Natural Justice in Administrative Law

Previous Year Questions:

Q. “Distinction between Quasi-Judicial and administrative functions is no longer the exclusive criteria for deciding whether or not the rules of Natural Justice apply.” Critically examine this statement. 

Q. “Natural justice is not a made to order formula which has to be fitted to all situations with an iron-bound uniformity.” Comment. Refer to case laws.  

Two elements of ‘natural justice’ have been generally accepted:

(1) that the body in question should be free from bias, and

(2) that it should hear the person affected before it decides the matter. 

Important Observations:

  • Complainant must show that he has suffered some real prejudice.
  • It is not applied in a vacuum without reference to the relevant facts.
  • It is no unruly horse nor could it be put in a strait jacket formula.

Important Case Laws:

State of Orissa Vs. Binapani Dei & Ors. – The distinction between quasi-judicial and administrative decisions was perceptively mitigated and it was held that even an administrative order or decision in matters involving civil consequences, has to be made consistently with the rules of natural justice.

A.K. Kraipak v. Union of India – The demarcation between administrative orders and quasi- judicial orders, with the passage of time, got blurred and thinned out and virtually reached a vanishing point in the judgment of the Supreme Court in this case.

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