Principles of natural justice are only for those who indulge in fair play, according to the Supreme Court.

Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, was unequivocal in terming Sahara response to SEBI as un-cooperative, leaving the regulator with no alternative but to “garner shreds of information from one or the other source.”

It is apparent, that the two Sahara companies, based on one excuse or another, did not provide the factual details sought by the SEBI. On some occasions, the excuses for not furnishing the information were outrageously absurd, he said.

If the material, gathered by the SEBI must be first provided to the concerned companies and their responses sought under the rules of natural justice, would it not amount to putting a premium on their non-cooperative and unfair stance, he asked.

Do the rules of natural justice have any limitations? Whether fair or not, must the concerned party always enjoy the advantage of procedural prescriptions under the rules of natural justice?

He had no hesitation in concluding “that a party which has not been fair cannot demand a right based on a rule founded on fairness.”

“The rules of natural justice being founded on principles of fairness can be available only to a party which has itself been fair, and therefore, deserves to be treated fairly,” he said.

(This article was published on August 31, 2012)
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