PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL JUSTICE AND PRINCIPLE OF EQUITY
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We often hear
the terms “Principles of Natural Justice” and “Principle of Equity”. But
without knowing their full meaning and implications, we liberally use them in
Let us see
what they are.
Principles of Natural Justice
of Principles of natural justice arise only in the following relationships.
Employer - Employee
Lender – Borrower
Service Provider - Consumer
Prosecution – Accused
Government – Citizens
This list is
only illustrative and there are many other similar relationships in which there
is a need to apply ‘principles of natural justice’.
speaking, one of the parties is in a dominant position and the other at the
receiving end. So, with a view to avoid exploitation of the latter and to
prevent meting out injustice to him/her, the principles of natural justice
evolved over a period of time.
Natural Justice deal with two aspects –
the dominant party to act fairly
the other party
discuss them one by one here. For the sake of convenience and to introduce more
clarity in description and understanding, the dominant party may be described as
‘A’ and the party at the receiving end as ‘B’.
Duty of ‘A’ to act fairly
must fulfil these conditions at any cost.
nurture any bias or pre-conceived notions
utmost responsibility, sincerity of purpose and circumspection
with dignity and respect
confine one’s action to a limited period, place/s or person/s
exhibit arrogance and rudeness
coerce or threaten ‘B’
nurture any mala fide intention or grudge against ‘B’
take any hasty step without waiting for the whole truth to come out
Not to go
by the version of one or a few individuals that may change the course of the
unlimited opportunity to ‘B’ to produce more evidences, more witnesses and
to submit amended/additional written statements, as the case progresses
(of course, within the time limit fixed)
bring in points that are not at all connected to the case, but may turn
prejudicial, unfavourable and adverse to ‘B’
importantly, be open, transparent, fair and objective in all one’s actions
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Rights of ‘B’
given the following rights automatically, without his/her asking for them.
be provided with basic amenities and comforts
be heard adequately
speak through a Defence Representative, if necessary
question the motives of ‘A’
demand the change of the counsel for ‘A’, if such counsel acts in an
call for certified copies of all documents and records felt relevant
be treated on an equal footing with others, without any discrimination
be issued advance notice, if physical presence is warranted
appear at a venue which does not pose any risk or threat
be consulted on the date and time for the next meeting/hearing
produce written submission, along with documentary evidences to support and
explain each and every Defence Exhibit and take such explanations on record
cross-examine the Management Witnesses
produce Defence Witnesses
demand full investigation to cover all the dimensions and perspectives of
point out if any other person/agency is left out from the purview of the
probe deliberately, resulting in selective targeting of oneself
ask for fixing a specific time horizon to investigate and conclude the case
demand detailed reasons for any decision taken and conclusion arrived at by
appeal if it is felt that injustice has been done at the end
us now see what ‘Principle of Equity’ means.
Principle of Equity
Equity’ is a body of legal
doctrines and rules developed to enlarge, supplement, or override a narrow rigid
system of law. Where the strict application of common law results in
injustice or inappropriate remedy,
courts adopt ‘Principle of Equity’ to mitigate the rigour of the
legislated laws and Acts and to protect the personal liberty and fundamental
rights of individuals or groups.
of ‘Principle of Equity’ lies in following ‘Principles of Natural Justice’.
Equity’ can be said to be characterized by the following distinct features.
no favouritism or preferential treatment to anyone
Similarly, there is no subjectivity, bias, prejudice or discrimination
realize that in order to achieve what one wants, he/she must invest
necessary resources and put in necessary efforts
labour are distributed in the right proportion of contribution made by
be convinced that merit alone takes one to the ultimate goal
large, the system works efficiently without being influenced by external
No person should be allowed to profit at another's expense without making
restitution for the reasonable value of any property, services, or other
benefits that have been unfairly received and retained
For the onlookers, there is fair play that is quite evident by its dominant
We may say
with total confidence and absolute conviction that where Principles of Natural
Justice and Principle of Equity are fully present, there will be everlasting
peace, happiness and pride.
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