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Report No. 69

XIII. Natural Justice

6.27. Natural justice.-

There is no doubt that bodies exercising judicial and quasi-judicial powers will be held to the observance of the rules of natural justice. Classification of a power as executive or administrative has sometimes been used as a means of excluding the application of the rules.1 But this approach is inconsistent with the actual decisions, and with dicta in numerous cases. Lord Denning M.R., has said2: "That heresy was scotched in Ridge v. Baldwin, 1964 AC 40 (HL)."

In the Australian case of Banks v. Transport Regulation Board, (1968) 42 ALJR 64 (67, 68), Barwick, C.J., expressed entire agreement with Lord Reid's judgment in Ridge v. Baldwin and also indicated that the prerogative writs may, in appropriate circumstances, be available in respect of an administrative discretion, if the discretion is not an "absolute and unfettered" one.

As Parker J. observed in R. v. Manchester Legal Aid Committee, (1952) 1 All ER 480 (489):

"the duty to act judicially may arise in widely different circumstances which it would be impossible, and, indeed, inadvisable, to attempt to define exhaustively."

1. Nakkuda Ali v. Jayaratne, 1951 AC 66; Testro Bros. Pvt. Ltd. v. Tait, (1963) 109 GLR 353.

2. R. v. Gaming Board for Great Britain: Ex parte Benaim, (1970) 2 All ER 528 (533).

6.28. Evidence not based on surmises.-

For example, decisions of tribunals will not be on surmise. As the Mysore High Court observed:1

1 E. Aswathiat v. I.T.C., (1965) 1 Mys LJ 76; judgment approved in AIR 1968 Mys 36 (38), para..-6.

"Surmises have no place in judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings."

Indian Evidence Act, 1872 Back

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