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THE PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL JUSTICE UNDER CPC

Author: Rashmi Kumari, IV year of B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from ICFAI Law School, ICFAI University, Dehradun


INTRODUCTION

Natural law principles are the standards set by courts that serve the very minimum purpose to preserve such rights whenever judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative authorities make decisions that have an impact on an individual's rights. All legal actions concerning a party's civil rights must adhere to natural justice's basic tenets. Natural justice is essential because it has a strong foundation in both tradition and conscience The ultimate goal is to prevent miscarriage. For the proper conduct of enforcement proceedings, the principle of natural justice must be applied.


NATURAL JUSTICE'S ORIGIN

Below is the current definition of this concept of natural justice, as originally advanced in the McLean v The Workers’Union case[i] In the past, offences like killing with a weapon and theft of property may result in an unsorted immediate death sentence among our own ancestors. The country's mechanism for inspecting water forhundreds of years, floating denoted wisdom while sinking symbolised immaturity. It indicates guilt and has little to do with contemporary ideas of justice. During the course of time, the idea of justice has changed. It varies significantly from country to country and is now frequently seen as civilised.


HISTORY

Natural justice has a long history and has been recognized as a fundamental principle of justice and fairness. In the past natural justice gained importance throughout the Middle Agesidentified with God and viewed as a moral imperative fairness of court proceedings; nature's justice.When the Renaissance and the Enlightenment were recognized as cornerstones. The fundamental foundation of modern democracy and the rule of law.


Since the middle-ages, the tenets of natural justice have served as the cornerstone of English common law. An Act of Parliament is unlawful if it makes a person judge in his own cause or is in any other way at odds with common sense or right, according to COKE J.'s ruling in the Dr. Bonham's Case (1610).


In the contemporary period, natural justice is a significant element of both common and statutory law as well as of international law. In the areas of arrest and custody, trial and sentence, appeal and review, and execution and enforcement, natural justice concepts are frequently used.


INDIAN POSITION

The Indian Constitution's Articles 14, 19, and 21 guarantee that natural justice is properly administered in India. In E. P. Royappa v. State of Tamil Nadu[ii], the Supreme Court decided that an authenticated ruling might be contested on the grounds that natural justice standards were not upheld.


PRINCIPLES

The audi alteram partem principle and the nemo judex in causa sua principle are the two essential pillars of natural justice. The first principle of natural justice is the audi alteram partem principle, which states that a person should have an opportunity to be heard before a decision is made that affects their rights or interests.


The audi alteram partem principle, for instance, stipulates that the person who is about to be executed must be given the chance to be heard, to present their case before a judgement is made, to offer arguments, and to object to the execution. This gives them the chance to voice any concerns or offer proof to back up their claims. This implies that if the person thinks the enforcement action is unfair or improper, they must be informed and given the chance to oppose it.


The audi alteram partem principle, for instance, stipulates that the person who is about to be executed must be given the chance to be heard, to present their case before a judgement is made, to offer arguments, and to object to the execution. This gives them the chance to voice any concerns or offer proof to back up their claims. This implies that if the person thinks the enforcement action is unfair or improper, they must be informed and given the chance to oppose it.


This theory holds that the person making the decision throughout the execution process must be impartial and have no stake in the outcome of the case. The Code of Civil Process has a few clauses that address the need for an impartial and open trial. The ex parte decree "shall be set aside in case the summons is not duly issued, or if enough justification exists," according to Order IX Rule 13. The benefit of such a clause is that it guarantees that both parties have the opportunity to present their views to the court and have a fair trial that complies with the court's procedures, even in situations when an ex-parte judgement has been issued.


Such a principle was articulated in the Supreme Court's ruling in the significant case of Jolly George Varghese v. Bank of Cochin[iii]. The third natural justice principle is the idea of reasonableness, which holds that the verdict must be fair and appropriate given the facts of the case. By making sure that the execution is neither exorbitant or disproportionate to the debt due, this concept is followed throughout the execution process. For instance, if the debt is only a modest sum, it could be seen unfair and excessive to seize the debtor's whole assets.


The notions of bias, fairness, and proportionality are some additional natural justice criteria that could be pertinent in execution processes, the notion that one should not decide one's own case. In other words, justice must both be carried out and be seen to be carried out. In Section 100 A of the CPC, which states that a Single Judge of a High Court has the freedom to have a firm and constant opinion on the issues if an appeal from an original or appellate decision is heard and decided by him, this right to an impartial hearing is included. His viewpoint is shielded from further harm because there hasn't been any further appeal of the Single Judge's decision.


According to the natural justice concept, the enforcement action must be carried out in a reasonable and proportionate way, taking the person who is the target of the enforcement action into consideration.


According to the principle of proportionality, the enforcement action must be reasonable in relation to the debt or obligation that is being enforced, and the person whose rights are being violated shouldn't be put through excessive hardship or hardship that is out of proportion to the debt or obligation that is being enforced.


A fair and just legal system must adhere to natural justice principles, however this is not always the case in practise. The applicable legal system, the particular circumstances of the case, and the decision-discretion makers are just a few examples of the many variables that may affect how these principles are implemented. To guarantee fairness and impartiality in the execution process, it is crucial that the principles of natural justice be upheld to the fullest degree feasible.


THE FAIR TRIAL CONCEPT

The interests of a decree holder are defended and protected under Order 41 Rule (2) and (3) of the Code of Civil Procedure. It stipulates that in order for the Court to authorise custody, it must first make sure that such a detention was not ordered in bad faith. This custody was not given just as a result of a mistake. Natural justice ideals are upheld in this way. According to the Supreme Court's ruling in State of Punjab v. Baldev Singh[iv], "an unfair trial resulting to conviction is against the basic notion of justice."


LEGAL AID

Legal assistance is one aspect of the Indian justice system that sets it apart. The right to consult with an advocate is protected under Articles 21 and 22 of the Indian Constitution. Particularly in a nation like India, where there are many impoverished people, it looks to be exceedingly unjust to economically disadvantaged individuals and low classes for someone to be unable to defend their case simply because they lack the financial capacity to do so. According to Article 39A of the Constitution, the State Government must forcibly carry out a programme that aids those in need of legal assistance in order for justice to continue to be both impartial and efficient.


The CPC's Order XXXIII, Rule 9A, discusses the idea of free legal assistance. All facets of government must work together to prevent financial inequality between the affluent and the poor. The state is urged to pay for an advocate if a low-income person cannot afford one. "The poor must not be priced out of the justice market by insistence on court-fee and reluctance to utilise the exemptive provisions of order XXXIII, CPC," the court said in the case of State of Haryana v. Darshana Devi[v].


RIGHT TO SPEEDY TRIAL AND LOK ADALATS

The right to swift trials and other means of delivering justice should be codified into the Civil Process Law due to the high number of cases still outstanding and the time it takes to render a fair and just verdict. With the permission of both parties, civil issues may also be resolved outside of court using lokadalats, arbitration, and other processes described in Section 96. The judgements made in accordance with these processes are not subject to appeal.


According to Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, a speedy trial is once again emphasised. The pursuit of justice shouldn't be delayed by legal disputes. Section 89 of the Civil Procedure Code, which has been included, allows disputes to be resolved outside of court through arbitration, mediation, and conciliation, which reduces the workload on the courts and is advantageous for all parties in terms of time and money. The Legal Services Authority Act of 1987 established Lok Adalats, which provide legal services at reasonable prices. They received the necessary legislative backing for their choices and incentives.


RIGHT AGAINST DOUBLE JEOPARDY

The Indian Constitution's Article 20(2) offers protection against double jeopardy. According to the principle of double jeopardy, a person cannot be prosecuted twice for the same offence. The similar problem is addressed by the "res judicata" concept. The initiation of suit itself is prohibited by Section 11 of the CPC.


CONCLUSION

A fair and just judicial system must adhere to the principles of natural justice. These are a group of rules that guarantee impartiality and justice in all decision-making processes, including executions. to guarantee that the rights of those who are the target of enforcement action are safeguarded and that the execution processes are fair and impartial. These values are founded on the notions that people should be treated equally and given the chance to be heard, and that justice must be done and seen to be done. By using these guidelines, the executing authority can come to choices that are reasonable, proportionate, and founded on the case's facts. The integrity of the legal system and the protection of individual rights are maintained to the greatest degree feasible notwithstanding the challenges that can be encountered when applying these principles.


To ensure fair trials and advance natural justice, legislators and constitutional writers have devoted countless hours to amending the Civil Process Law and its materials. Natural justice is governed by Articles 12, 21, and 20(2) of the Constitution as well as Sections 100, 89, 26, and 27 of the Civil Process Law. Many amendments have been made, law reforms have been supported, and numerous law reports have proposed changes in civil proceedings in order to implement the principles of fair trial and natural justice, such as equal opportunity to be heard, one cannot be his own judge, speedy trials, and other methods to deal with minor cases outside of court to advance justice. As a result, our lawmakers have worked very hard to make the Civil Procedure Code of 1908 more effective and equitable.

[i]Maclean vs. The Workers' Union [1929] 1 Ch. 602 [ii]E. P. Royappa v. State of Tamil Nadu AIR 1974 SCC 555 [iii]Jolly George Varghese v. Bank of Cochin [1980] AIR 470 (SC) [iv]State of Punjab v. Baldev Singh [1999] AIR 2378 (SC) [v]State of Haryana v. Darshana Devi [1979] 184 SCR (3)

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