Principles of Natural Justice V

It may be added, every case in which a citizen/person knocks at the doors of the Writ Court for breach of his or its fundamental rights is a matter which contains a Public Law element, as opposed to a case which is concerned only with breach of contract and damages flowing therefrom. Whenever a plea of breach of Natural Justice is made against the State, the said plea, if found sustainable, sounds in Constitutional Law as arbitrary State action, which attracts the provisions of Article 14 of The Constitution of India. See, Nawabkhan Abbaskhan v. State of Gujarat, (1974) 2 SCC 121 at Paragraph 7.

State Bank of Patiala v. S.K. Sharma, (1996) 3 SCC 364 distinguished between ‘adequate opportunity’ and ‘no opportunity at all’ and held, the ‘prejudice’ exception operates more especially in the latter case. The ‘prejudice’ exception must be more than a mere apprehension or even a reasonable suspicion of a litigant. It should exist as a matter of fact, or be based upon a definite inference of likelihood of ‘prejudice’ flowing from the non-observance of Natural Justice.

Hon’ble Justice R.F. Nariman, State of U.P. v. Sudhir Kumar Singh, [Civil Appeal No. 3498 of 2020].