In an effort to find the correct balance between administrative effectiveness
and individual fairness, the concept of a post-decisional hearing has developed
over time. Pre-decisional hearings are those held by the authorities prior to
the making of a decision or judgement, and post-decisional hearings are those
held by the authorities following the making of the decision (Provisional). The
idea of a post-decisional hearing provides individuals.
The authorities can only make a preliminary decision-not a final one-without
consulting the party in issue, which is one of the most crucial things to keep
in mind at a post-decisional hearing. In order to undermine the goal of
delivering a fair hearing and make it less effective than a Pre-Decision
Hearing, the objective is to make it harder for the authorities to change their
minds after the Final Decision (similar proposition was held by the Apex Court).
In order to prevent the despot's merciless use of power, the courts have devised
the principles of natural justice to regulate the activity of power regulation.
One of these principles is the principle of Audi Alteram Partem, which mandates
that no one will be condemned without being heard. This principle has flourished
the most in the recognition and application of the idea of post-decisional
hearing. A post-decisional hearing should be substituted for an earlier hearing
in cases where doing so would undermine the intent and rationale behind the
exercise of authority.
The Right To Hear
A person's innate feelings serve as the foundation for the ethical and legal
idea known as "natural justice." Natural justice principles were developed
together with civilization, and their substance is frequently seen as a suitable
ratio of the level of civilization and Rule of Law that predominates in the
Unquestionably crucial to judicial and quasi-judicial tasks are the principles
of natural justice, and this is a matter of recognized law. However, the key
question is whether these principles also apply to administrative activities. In
the past, courts had adopted the position that administrative demands did not
fall under the purview of natural justice.
In Kishan Chand v. Commissioner of Police
, the Supreme Court was
represented, and it was determined that the legal principle of hearing before
passing judgement, or Audi Alteram Partem, only applies to judicial or
However, recently, as a result of A.K. Kraipak v. Union of India
was found that the courts had previously assumed that applying the principles of
natural justice was not required by law. Additionally, it was decided that if
the Rules of Natural Justice were just intended to prevent injustice, there was
little reason why they couldn't also apply to administrative decisions.
Right to Hearing is also a component of Natural Justice. The reasoning behind
this is that because the right to a hearing is protected by a Code of Procedure,
it applies to all stages of an administrative order's development. The right to
a hearing is a crucial line of defence against abuse of administrative
The equivalent of American "due process" is Natural Justice. Everyone must be
given notice and a chance to be heard in accordance with the law. Similar
emphasis is given to the Constitution's natural justice standards in India.
Article 311 emphasises the right to a hearing as a fundamental tenet of natural
justice. Courts have made references to the rule of natural justice while
determining the legality of reasonable constraints. The procedural reasonable
limitation is comparable to the due process of law in the United States.
Examples of natural justice principles can be found in Articles 14 and 21 of the
When an individual is deprived of his life and individual freedom, Article 21 of
the Constitution, which includes "due process," upholds all the reasonableness
that is cherished in the principles of natural justice. As for the other
sectors, Article 14 exemplifies natural justice's tenets.
According to the argument, Article 14 covers tyrannical or harmful state conduct
in addition to discriminatory class-based legislation. The argument is that
natural justice violations lead to arbitrary behaviour, and all things
considered, natural justice violations violate the tenet of uniformity enshrined
in Article 14.
In this way, the Indian Constitution is based on the ideas of natural justice.
Finally, it's safe to say that the skyline of fairness and the right to a fair
trial, whether as a component of natural justice or another concept, is
expanding. Any time an action has been performed that affects the rights of the
parties, procedural fairness along with natural justice should be recommended.
Audi Alteram Partem
This guideline emphasises that no one should be censured without being heard. In
a civilised society, it is assumed that everyone who is the target of legal
action or whose privilege or right is in jeopardy will be given the opportunity
to defend themselves.
Natural justice requires that, before taking any action, the person who would be
impacted be given notice to object and be given the opportunity to explain. It
is a requirement for fair hearing. Any order made without prior notification is
deemed to be void from the start and is in direct violation of the principles of
Regardless of whether the request negatively impacts a person's entitlements,
notice must be made even if it is not specifically included in the legislation.
Furthermore, it's crucial that the notification is unequivocal, specific, and
obvious, and that the accusations aren't murky or uncertain. Notice must be
satisfactory in addition to being given in a specific circumstance. The
certainty and circumstances of each instance are what determine whether or not
the notice was sufficient.
The communication must also include a reasonable deadline for agreeing to the
instructions it references. As a result, it is inappropriate and insufficient to
give a structure 24 hours to disintegrate after it has been determined to be in
a broken-down state.
The second criterion of the Audi Alteram Partem maxim is that the party in
question must be given an opportunity to be heard prior to any adverse action
being taken against him.
The Term "Post-Decisional Hearing" And What It Means
Before making a decision or approving an order, a pre-decisional hearing is
held. In contrast to its counterpart, a post-decisional hearing is one that the
adjudicating authority has after reaching a decision.
A hearing should typically be provided before an authority makes a decision.
A Constable was suspected of conspiring and prosecuted by the government in the
well-known case Ridge v. Baldwin, which is frequently considered to be the
pinnacle of Natural Justice, but in the end, he was found not guilty and
absolved of culpability. While making his decision, the judge made some comments
about the constable's character that resulted to his dismissal from the police
The Court of Appeal determined that the committee that dismissed the Constable
from his position due to the judge's criticism of his character had used both
administrative and judicial or quasi-judicial power, negating the application of
natural justice principles in this case. The order of dismissal was not
sustained since the House of Lords swiftly reversed this decision with a 4:1
The Supreme Court established the post-decisional hearing principle in Maneka
Gandhi v. Union of India
. In this case, the Supreme Court established the
rule that, if swift action was essential for the sake of the public and managing
the expense of a hearing before the decision was impossible, it should be
managed after the ruling. The Indian government confiscated the petitioner's
passport because it had a righteous concern for the general welfare.
Interestingly, the petitioner was indeed a journalist.
Before making the contested move, the petitioner received no opportunity. When
the legality of the impoundment request was examined, the government argued that
applying the Audi Alteram Partem criterion would have violated the passport's
Although the Supreme Court rejected the dispute, it did uphold the practise of
post-decisional hearings in cases of lingering importance. It outlined the idea
that, in cases when an urgent situation necessitates immediate action and
advance notification of the hearing is impractical, the preliminary action
should be swiftly followed by a complete remedial hearing.
The Supreme Court adopted a comparable strategy in Swadeshi Cotton Mills v.
Union of India
, when a void administrative decision was upheld during a
post-decisional hearing. The Audi Alteram Partem norm was abused by an order in
which the government assumed control over the management of an organisation
without prior notice or hearing. Regardless, the Court upheld the contested
order since the Government had agreed to a post-decisional hearing.
A request for examination was put to the test in Liberty Oil Mills v. Union
 because the natural justice standards were violated. The
Supreme Court recognised that in cases when the risk that needs to be avoided is
imminent or where immediate action is required, the opportunity to be heard may
not be pre-decisional at all but rather post-decisional.
A request to merge some nationalised banks with other banks was made in
Shepherd v. Union of India
. Working in the Nationalized Banks was prohibited
for some Private Bank representatives. Thus, without allowing them to express
themselves, their mission was completed. The Supreme Court rejected the request
for a post-amalgamation hearing, stating that "there was no basis to consider a
A governmental entity published a circular in the case of Trehan V. Union of
Without giving its employees an opportunity to be heard, changed the terms and
circumstances of employment in a way that was detrimental to them. On the basis
of a violation of the natural justice standards, the circular's legitimacy was
The organisation argued that after the circular was issued, employees were given
the opportunity to comment on the changes the circular had made. A
post-decisional hearing plea was advanced in this manner. The Supreme Court
rejected the argument, saying: "In our opinion, the post-decisional possibility
of hearing does not subscribe to the principles of natural justice.
There is typically no chance of gaining a meaningful consideration of the
representation at such a post-decisional hearing because the authority that
starts the hearing will typically proceed with a closed mind. The legislature
approved the petitioner bank's request for a bank under the Banking Regulations
Act of 1949 in Bari Doab Bank v. Union of India. The Supreme Court ruled that
applicants were ineligible for pre-decisional hearings prior to passing a
request because post-decisional hearings at the stage of filing issues with the
draught plan would suffice.
The Bhopal Gas Disaster (Processing of Claims) Act, 1985, was the subject of the
case Charan Lal v. Union of India
, in which the teaching of
post-decisional hearing was given a very sincere justification. The Supreme
Court ruled that a resolution of this kind would be interpreted in such a way as
to preclude the use of the Audi Alteram Partem
rule at the pre-decisional
hearing stage where the statute does not reject the pre-decisional hearing rule
but instead takes into account post-decisional hearing that adds up to a
thorough review of the advantages of the original order.
If the rule is silent regarding the justification for conducting a
pre-decisional hearing, administrative action taken after the hearing is
appropriate. It is stated that each adjudicator must continually remember the
observations made by Sarkaria J in Swadeshi Cotton Mills regarding
pre-decisional and post-decisional hearing. The key argument in this case was
that a post-decisional hearing cannot serve as a pre-decisional hearing's
replacement. This shows that post-decisional hearings are recognised and
approved; they should, however, only be used in the right situations.
This notion is not applied in a rigid manner; rather, it is dependent on the
particulars of each case and its particular facts. If pre-decisional hearing is
not an option, post-decisional hearing may be used instead.
In the conclusion, I'd like to say that its applicability depends on the
circumstances. In situations where the party cannot be given the option for a
pre-decisional hearing, a post-decisional hearing may be used. The central
argument in Swadeshi Cotton Mills v. Union of India
was that "post
decisional hearing is not an adequate substitute for pre decisional hearing."
Similarly, Canara Bank v. Debasis Das
"While post decisional hearing is not accepted as an adequate substitute for pre
decisional hearing, pre decisional deficiency can be compensated by post
decisional hearing in the absence of prejudice to the party." It has been
determined that the principle of natural justice was not violated in this
These two instances demonstrate that the "Doctrine of Post Decisional Hearing"
is acknowledged as being effective. It must be used whenever necessary and
taking the circumstances into account. When applying this approach, the court's
goal is to treat the parties to the lawsuit fairly. No party shou
- Kishan Chand Arora v. Commissioner of Police, Calcutta (1961) 3 SCR 135
- A.K. Kraipak & Ors v. Union Of India (1969)
- Ridge v. Baldwin (1964) AC 40
- Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India  AIR 597
- Swadeshi Cotton Mills v. Union of India  AIR 818
- Liberty Oil Mills v. Union of India  AIR 1271