What is the principle of Audi Alteram Partem?

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What is the principle of Audi Alteram Partem? Blog Image


The Supreme Court recently held that the principles of "audi alteram partem" must be read into the circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India on the classification of bank accounts as fraud accounts.

About Audi Alteram Partem:

  • The literal meaning of  Audi Alteram Partem is to “hear the other side”. 
  • It denotes that every party shall get an opportunity of hearing and no one shall go unheard in a case. 
  • Under this doctrine, every party shall get an opportunity to plead and assert evidence to support his case.
  • This ensures a fair hearing and fair justice to both the parties
  • No decision can be declared without hearing both the parties. The aim of this principle is to give an opportunity to both the parties to defend themselves.
  • The doctrine is the basic concept of the principle of natural justice.
  • The following are the key components of this doctrine:
  • Notice:
    • Before any action is taken, the affected party must be given a notice to show cause against the proposed action and seek his explanation.
    • A notice must contain the time, place and date of hearing, jurisdiction under which the case is filed, the charges, and proposed action against the person.
    •  Any order passed without giving notice is against the principles of natural justice and is void.
  • Hearing:
    • The order passed by the authority without providing the reasonable opportunity of being heard to the person affected by it adversely will be invalid and must be set aside.
  • Evidence:
    • It is an important part which is to be brought properly before the Court in the presence of both the parties and a judicial or quasi judicial authority must have to act on the evidence produced as in the case .
  • Cross-Examination:
    • Every person has the right to contest or object to the evidence presented by the other party. 
  • Legal Representation:
    • Every person is not able to present his case assertively. Thus, he needs some assistance from a specialised legal attorney to present his case. 
    • The Indian Constitution also provides that every person has a right to get legal assistance.
  • Exceptions to the doctrine of Audi Alteram Partem:
    • The word exception doesn’t mean the principles of natural justice and fair play will not be there. 
    • These exceptions only denote those conditions in which nothing unfair will occur, even if certain conditions of this maxim are relaxed. 
    • Some conditions for exceptions are:
      • Emergency;
      • Confidentiality;
      • Impractibility;
      • Statutory Exclusion;
      • Legislative Function


Q1) What are the principles of Natural Justice?

Natural justice is an expression of English common law, and involves a procedural requirement of fairness. The principles of natural justice have great significance in the study of Administrative law. It is also known has substantial justice or fundamental justice or Universal justice or fair play in action. The principles of natural justice are not embodied rules and are not codified. They are judge made rules and are regarded has counterpart of the American procedural due process.

Source: Banks Must Give Opportunity Of Hearing To Borrowers Before Classifying Their Accounts As Fraud : Supreme Court