The Principle of Natural Justice and the CrPC

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This article has been written by Aabha Bara, a student of 3rd year pursuing B.A.,LL.B.(H) from Amity University, Chhattisgarh

The origin of principle of natural justice is an old concept and ancient. As different jurists have defined principles in their own ways. Some called it unwritten law i.e. jus non scriptum or the law of reason.

 If we turn the pages of Biblical words, we can find the history of Garden of Eden i.e. The story of Adam and Eve, by the influence of Satan they both ate the fruit which was told to not to be consumed by God. They didn’t follow the words of God and hence were being punished. Later the concept of natural justice became broader and more complex.

In the case of Union of India & Anr. v. Tulsiram Patel & ors.[1], the constitutional bench observed the first rule of principles of natural justice i.e.

  1. Nemo judex in causa sua or nemo debet esse judex in propria causa

Which means “no man shall be a judge in his own cause”. Coke used the form “aliouis non debet esse judex in propria causa quia non potest esse judex et pars” i.e. “no man ought to be a judge in his own cause, because he cannot act as a judge and at the same time be a party”. The form “nemo potest esse simul actor et judex” i.e. “no one can be at once judge and suitor”. These terms are also sometimes used.

The second rule which particularly deals with Appeals and writ petitions i.e.

  1. Audi alteram partem

Which means “hear the other side”. At times particularly in continental countries the term audietur et altera pars is being used, which gives the similar meaning.

A collolary has been removed from both the rules and specifically from “audi alteram partem” rule, namely, qui alliquid statuerit parte inaudita altera, aequum licet haud aqeuum fecerit i.e. “he who shall decide anything without the other side having been heard, although he may have said what is right, will not have done what is right”.But now it is been expressed as “justice should not only be done but has to be manifestly be seen to be done”.

  1. Reasoned decision-

Which means that the decision made must be fair and reasonable. No injustice can be done at any cost. The justice mad must be reasonable to the people and their should not be any partial decision made in any favour, hence it must be just, fair and reasonable.

CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE-

The code of civil procedure lays down the procedures to be adopted in the civil courts and its principles to be based on public policy are applicable in other courts like tribunals and writ court. It provides fair procedure for redressal for the disputes. Some of the procedure are substantive in nature but some of them are not procedural at all, such as section 96, 100, 114, and 115. The other provisions are procedural in nature. The purpose of the code is to provide the fair trial according to the principles of natural justice. Code of civil procedure also codifies the principles of natural justice. It protects specially the rights of accused under Article 20&21 of the constitution-

Under section 207 of CRPC- The supply of copy of the police report and all the documents of accused to be essential.

Under section 228 of CRPC- It provides the opportunity of hearing from the accused side at the stipulated time frame.

Under section 212 of CRPC- The charges should contain such as time, place and person. The charges framed must be specific not vague.

Under section 216& 217 of CRPC- In case If charges are altered at the time of trial and the new charges are framed, the accused is given new charges, the witness is called for re-examination and the new trial is formed.

Under section 232 & 233 of CRPC- If the accused is not acquitted, he is called to make his defence.

Under section 314 of CRPC- The accused has the right to make oral arguments and submit its memorandum.

Under section 318 of CRPC- There is a specific procedure for the accused who doesn’t understand the proceedings.

Under section 191 of CRPC- it provides the transfer of cases on being asked by the accused, if the cognizance is taken by the concerned magistrate (S-190(2)(c).

Under section 352 of CRPC- This provision disqualifies the judge to hear certain cases when committed before himself (NO PERSON CAN BE JUDGE IN HIS OWN CAUSE).[2]

Under section 313(1) of CRPC- The court has the power to examine the accused to ensure compliance with the principle of natural justice. where sub section 1a starts with the word ‘may’, giving the court discretion and in subsection 1b the word ‘shall’ has been used to bring mandatary factor in the clause. sub clause 1a gives the right to question the accused at any time during the time of trial or anytime at the time of enquiry, whereas subclause 1b is applicable when the prosecution has already led its evidence[3]. Principle of natural justice is violated i.e. order voidable not void[4]

Cross examination is the part of principles of natural justice, its is conducted to test the veracity of the deposition of the witness.[i]

In the case of Jones v. national coal board [1957], it has been said that the judge’s part is said to be the most necessary to clear up the any point that has been over ruled or left obscure. Also, to exclude the irrelevancies and discourage repetitions, to make sure by wise intervention that he follows the points that the advocates are making and to analyse their worth at last to intelligently make where dosed the truth lies.

Also, in the case of Brij Mohan Lal v. union of India & Ors[5],  the qualities of the good judge are stated as ‘if he be a good one and that he be bought to do so’. The judges need to have the strength to put an end to injustice and the faculties that are demanded of the historian philosophers and prophets.

[1] 1985 AIR 1416

[2] AIR 1992 SC 2100

[3] AIR 2013 SC 3817, AIR 2015 SC 310

(2014) 13 SCC 531

[5] AIR 2000 SC 2096

[i]AIR 1961 SC 1623

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