Legal Correspondent

Right to be heard is most elementary protection: court

  • Right to litigation is paramount
  • Even God did not pass sentence before Adam made his defence

    New Delhi: The Supreme Court has deprecated the tendency of courts to pass orders without giving the parties concerned an opportunity of being heard. This will amount to violation of the principles of natural justice, said a Bench consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Lokeshwar Singh Panta.

    Right to litigation

    "The right to litigation is paramount. The right of a man to be heard in his defence is the most elementary protection. Natural justice is the essence of fair adjudication, deeply rooted in tradition and conscience, to be ranked fund amental. The purpose of following the principles of natural justice is prevention of miscarriage of justice." Natural justice is an inseparable ingredient of fairness and reasonableness. It is even said that the principles of natural justice must be read into unoccupied interstices of the statute, unless there is a clear mandate to the contrary."

    Quoting the principle enunciated in the celebrated case of Cooper vs. Wandsworth Board of Works, the Bench said: "Even God did not pass a sentence on Adam, before he was called upon to make his defence." Since then the principle had been chiselled, honed and refined, enriching its content.

    Review petition rejected

    In the instant case, appellant Suresh Chandra Nanhorya is aggrieved that the Madhya Pardesh High Court did not issue him notice before passing an adverse order in a civil revision petition filed by respondents Rajendra Rajak and others.

    The court also rejected his review petition. Allowing the appeal against this order, the Bench said that only the applicant's advocate was heard.

    Violation

    "There is no mention that notice was issued to the present appellant and/or it was served. Adjudication adverse to him was done by disposal of the civil revision petition without issuance of notice." It is a clear violation of the principles of natural justice."

    The Bench set aside the order and remitted the matter back to the High Court for fresh consideration on merits after due notice to the appellant.