Exceptions to Principles of Natural Justice: Part IV

By Adv. Shriya Maini.

First Part of this Series, can be accessed here.

Second Part of this Series, can be accessed here.

Third Part of this Series, can be accessed here.

  • Where no right of the person is infringed

Where no right has been conferred on a person by any statute nor any such right arises from Common Law, the Principles of Natural Justice are not applicable. This can be illustrated by the decision of the Supreme Court in J.R. Vohra v. Indian Export House (P) Ltd., wherein the Delhi Rent Control Act made provisions for the creation of limited tenancies. More specifically, Sections 21 and 37 of the Act provided for the termination of limited tenancies. The combined effect of these Sections was that after the expiry of the term a limited tenancy could be terminated and warrants of possession could be issued by the authority to the landlord without giving any notice of hearing to the tenant. Upholding the validity of warrants of possession without complying with the Principles of Natural Justice, the Supreme Court held that after the expiry of the period of any limited tenancy, a person had no right to stay in possession and hence, no right of his was prejudicially affected which could warrant the application of the Principles of Natural Justice. (more…)

Exceptions to Principles of Natural Justice: Part II

By Adv. Shriya Maini.

First Part of this Series, can be accessed here.

  • Exclusion in Emergency: Hurry versus Hearing

Whether it is for public safety, public interest, public health or public morality- the action, preventive or remedial, that is needed, is the requirement of notice and where a hearing may be obviated, would be exceptional cases of Emergency. The reasoning here is that a plausible hearing could delay the Administrative Action, thereby defeating the very purpose for which it was constituted. But if the right to be heard was to paralyze the process, the law would inevitably exclude it. Hence, if to condemn unheard is wrong, it is wrong except where it is overborne by dire social necessity. Therefore, examples such as where a dangerous building is to be demolished, or a company has to be wound up to save depositors, or there is imminent danger to peace, or a trade dangerous to society is to be prohibited, dire social necessity requires exclusion of the elaborate process of fair hearing. In the same manner, where power theft was detected by officials, immediate disconnection of supply was said to be non-violative of the Principles of Natural Justice. (more…)

Judicial Review over Presidential Pardon: Analysing the case of Epuru Sudhakar v. State of Andhra Pradesh

By Sandhya Shyamsundar, WBNUJS, Kolkata.

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” – Abraham Lincoln

Since time immemorial, the principles of Justice and Mercy have seemed incompatible. After all, the notion of justice involves dispensing of deserved punishment befitting the crime whereas Mercy is all about pardon and compassion for the offender.[1] The significance and need for clemency is paramount today, as it bestows an equal opportunity for all to correct their deviant behaviour.

This principle of absolution has been codified under Article 72 of the Indian Constitution and vests with the President to grant pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of sentences of persons convicted of any offence extending to all cases where the sentence is by a Court Martial and one of death, in addition to the commutation of sentence. Inclusion of Executive Clemency in the Constitution is seen as both a safety valve due to its ability to secure public welfare when the legal system fails to deliver a morally acceptable verdict and, a unilateral and virtually impregnable power due to questions of the extent of granting presidential pardon, to whom should it be granted or what is the procedure for granting, etc being left unanswered.