A party cannot be condemned unheard

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Sanjay Karol, acting CJ. and Ajay Mohan Goel, J., decided a letters patent appeal, wherein the Court quashed the order passed against the appellant by the learned Single Judge, on grounds of violation of principles of natural justice.

Earlier, a writ petition was filed before the learned Single Judge directing the appellant to release certain compensation and benefits to the writ petitioner therein. However, it remains an undisputed fact that the appellant was not arrayed as a party by the writ petitioner in the writ proceedings. Before filing the instant appeal, the appellant had also filed a review petition before the learned Single Judge, which was dismissed.

Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court was of the view that this was a classic case where the petitioner was condemned unheard. The order was passed against the appellant without notice and without inviting his comments or reply. The Court held that in such a situation, principles of natural justice and audi alteram partem in particular, stood violated. The Court was of the view that the said order of the learned Single Judge was liable to be quashed on this ground alone.

Accordingly, the order of the learned Single Judge condemning the appellant unheard was quashed by the Division Bench. [NTPC Ltd. v. Gopal Dass, LPA No. 66 of 2010, order dated 2.2.2018]

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