Constitutional & Administrative Law

Rule Against Bias

Previous Year Question(s):

Q. The rule against bias strikes at such factors which may improperly influence in arriving at a decision. Comment. 

Important Observations:

  • The principle of ‘rule against bias’ means that the adjudicator should be disinterested and unbiased.
  • The prosecutor himself should not be a judge; that the judge should be a neutral and disinterested person; that a person should not be a judge in his own cause; that a person interested in one of the parties to the dispute should not, even formally, take part in the adjudicatory proceedings.

Important Case Laws:

  • Centre for Public Interest Litigation v. Union of India – The basis of this principle is that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.
  • S. Parthasarathi v. State of Andhra Pradesh – Actual existence of bias is not necessary. The test of bias is real likelihood of bias. “If a reasonable man would think on the basis of the existing circumstances that he (i.e. adjudicator) is likely to be prejudiced, that is sufficient to quash the decision”.
  • State of Uttar Pradesh v. Nooh – In a departmental inquiry against N., the person presiding over the inquiry himself gave evidence against N., and thereafter continued to preside over the inquiry. This clearly evidences a state of biased mind against N.
  • G.N. Nayak v. Goa University – A senior officer expresses appreciation of the work of a junior in the confidential report. It does not amount to bias nor would it disqualify the senior officer from being a part of the departmental promotion committee to consider the junior officer along with others for promotion. The Supreme Court has stated that every preference does not vitiate an action. “If it is rational and unaccompanied by considerations of personal interest, pecuniary or otherwise, it would not vitiate a decision”.

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