Thought for Today, 29 th June 2020

Life is a trip. The only problem is that it does not come with a map. We have to search our own routes to reach our destination.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Disciplinary Proceedings & Natural Justice

Natural Justice is not defined anywhere. Justice Krishna Iyer has defined Natural Justice in case of Deaprtmental Inquiry as ," Vocate, Interogate and then adjudicate.It is cardinal principle of Law that no person can be held to be guilty unless chrages are informed to him and he is given reasonable  opportunity to defend himself. The  said principle finds a place in Article 311 of the Consttution. The Courts and the Tribunals interfere in case there is violation of principles of Natural Justice while conducting a departmental Inquiry and the imposing penalty on the basis of findings of the Inquiry officer.

Non supply of relevant documents, Not allowing the assistance of Defence Assistant, no opportunity to cross the witnesses of  disciplinary authority, not allowing the employee to examnine the witnesses are obvious examples of Violation of principles of Natural justice. However non observance every aspect procedure prescribed does not amount to  violation of principles of natural justice. In case of procdural violation , the employee has to show what prejudice is caused to him because of non obsevance of procdure by the inquiry and disciplinary authority. It depends upon the facts and circumstances in each case.

The Superme Court in well known case of  State Bank of Patiala v/s  S. K. Sharma , AIR 1996 SC 1669 has  explained in detail  the concept of natural Justice vis-a vis Disciplinary Inquiry. The said judgement is available on this blog at S.N. 1 in the list of judgments, under " Disciplinary Proceedings - Judgements ". It is suggested the senior officers who are the disciplinary authorities, the Inquiry Officers and the advocates dealing with the cases of disciplinary proceedings may get the said judgement downloaded for their study and use. 

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