Judicial Dictionary

Fairness in administrative action

The concept of fairness in administrative action has been the subject matter of considerable judicial debate but there is total unanimity on the basic element of the concept to the effect that the same is dependant upon the facts and circumstances of each matter pending scrutiny before the Court and no straight jacket formula can be evolved therefor. As a matter of fact, fairness is synonymous with reasonableness.

And on the issue of ascertainment of meaning of reasonableness, common English parlance referred to as what is in contemplation of an ordinary man of prudence similarly placed – it is the appreciation of this common man’s perception in its proper perspective which would prompt the Court to determine the situation as to whether the same is otherwise reasonable or not. [ State of Punjab versus V. K. Khanna and others-AIR 2001 SC 343 ]

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