Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 67 : Article from Mr. K.V.Shridharan, Ex General Secretary, AIPEU Group C
CCS Rules & Principles of Natural justice
1. What Reasonable Opportunity means
i. In several decisions of the Supreme Court the question has arisen : What does the expression "reasonable opportunity" mean? It has been said that what is reasonable is not necessarily what is best but is fairly appropriate under all the circumstances of the cases. It implies an opportunity to deny the guilt alleged, to establish innocence by cross-examining the prosecution witnesses and by examining himself and his witnesses.
ii. The Supreme Court of India has said that reasonable opportunity envisaged to the Government servant by the provision contained in Art. 311 (2) includes;
(i) an opportunity to deny his guilt and establish his innocence which he can only do if he is told what the charges levelled against him are and the allegations on which such charges are based.
(ii) an opportunity to defend himself by cross-examining the witnesses produced against him and by examining himself or any other witness in support of his defence.
[Khem Chand v. Union of India, AIR 1958 SC 300]
2. Personal hearing part of reasonable opportunity
i. The right to argue is a part of personal hearing and since personal hearing is part of reasonable opportunity, denial of right to argue is violative of Art 311 (2) of the Constitution.
[C.S. Sharma v. State of U.P, AIR 1961 All 45]
ii. Personal hearing enables the authority concerned to watch the demeanour of the witnesses and clear up his doubts during the course of the arguments, and the party appearing to persuade the authority by reasoned argument to accept his point of view.
[Gullapallai Nageswar Rao v. APSRTC, AIR 1959 SC 308]