Analysis of the priniciple: Nemo Judex In Causa Sua

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Natural justice is a concept of common law and represents higher procedural principles developed by the courts, which every judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative agency must follow while taking any decision adversely affecting the rights of a private individual. Natural justice implies fairness, equity and equality. In a welfare state like India, the role and jurisdiction of administrative agencies is increasing at a rapid pace. The concept of Rule of Law would lose its validity if the instrumentalities of the State are not charged with the duty of discharging these functions in a fair and just manner.

The principle of natural justice encompasses following two rules:

Nemo judex in causa sua – No one should be made a judge in his own cause or the rule against bias.

Audi alteram partem – Hear the other party or the rule of fair hearing or the rule that no one should be condemned unheard.

The first principle of natural justice consists of the rule against bias or interest and is based on three maxims:

  • No man shall be a judge in his own cause
  • Justice should not only be done, but manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done and
  • Judges, like Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion.

Nemo Judex In Causa Sua is popularly known as the rule against bias. It is the minimal requirement of the natural justice that the authority giving decision must be composed of impartial persons acting fairly, without prejudice and bias. According to the ‘Lectric Law Library’s Lexicon, “Any mental condition that would prevent a judge or juror from being fair and impartial is called bias. A particular influential power which sways the judgment; the inclination or propensity of the mind towards a particular object. It may be ground for disqualification of the judge or juror in question.” It is also defined as, “A predisposition or a preconceived opinion that prevents a person from impartially evaluating facts that have been presented for determination; a prejudice.” But we have to keep in mind the observations of Justice Frank of United States in re. Linahan : “If, however, bias and partiality be defined to mean the total absence of preconceptions in the mind of the Judge, then no one has ever had a fair trial, and no one ever will. The human mind, even at infancy, is no blank piece of paper. We are born with the predispositions and the process of education, formal and informal, create attitudes which precede reasoning in particular instances and which therefore, by definition are prejudices.”

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