Provision of Appeal and Opportunity to be Heard

India– The argument that the provision of appeal was a complete safeguard and cure against any insufficiency in the original proceeding, and that it was not mandatory that an opportunity to be heard be given before a finding is recorded did not find favour with court. The court cited with approval that if natural justice is violated at the first stage, the right of appeal is not so much a true right of appeal as a corrected initial hearing: instead of fair trial followed by appeal, the procedure is reduced to unfair trial followed by fair trial. The court also observed, that another way of looking at the matter lies in examining the consequences of the initial order as soon as it is passed. There are cases where an order may cause serious injury as soon as it is made, an injury not capable of being entirely erased when the error is corrected on subsequent appeal. For instance, where a member of a highly respected and publicly trusted profession is found guilty of misconduct and suffers penalty, the damage to his professional reputation can be immediate and far-reaching. In such a case, after the blow suffered by the initial decision, it is difficult to contemplate complete restitution through an appellate decision. Such a case is unlike an action for money or recovery of property, where the execution of the trial decree may be stayed pending appeal, or a successful appeal may result in refund of the money or restitution of the property, with appropriate compensation by way of interest or mesne profits for the period of deprivation.
Please see the following judgment on this topic: Institute of Chartered Accountants of India v. L.K. Ratna (Supreme Court of India, 1986)


Author: Vikrant Narayan Vasudeva
Photo by Nick Kenrick/ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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