The Supreme Court delivered a split verdict on a matter regarding bias in the selection process and the violation of the principles of natural justice in the selection process for the post of Shiksha Karmi Grade III.

The Bench of Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice KV Viswanathan took divergent views, and accordingly, the matter has been placed before the CJI for the constitution of a larger Bench.

Counsel Neeraj Shekhar appeared for the appellants, while Counsel Mrinal Gopal Elker and Counsel Avadhesh Kumar Singh appeared for the respondents.

The dispute centred on the appointment of the appellants to the position of Shiksha Karmi Grade-III, which was later invalidated because of their close familial ties with committee members. The Collector's decision to annul the selection was contested by the appellants, who argued that they were not included in the initial appeal, alleging a breach of natural justice.

One of the issues raised in this case was this: If indeed there was a violation of the audi alteram partem rule, would the appellants still fail for want of demonstration of any prejudice being caused to them?

Justice KV Viswanathan's Judgment:

Justice KV Viswanathan noted that this ‘prejudice’ exception has no application in a case of no notice and no hearing in breach of an express rule.

It was observed that, "the breach of principles of natural justice in the proceedings before the Collector did not stand cured on account of the proceedings before the revisional authority. Equally so, judicial review proceedings being a review of the decision-making process and not being a merits review, such proceedings also cannot be a cure for the violation of the audi alteram partem rule before the fact-finding authority."

Justice JK Maheshwari's Judgment:

Justice JK Maheshwari that a person who alleges the breach of the principle of natural justice is required to dispute the case against him in order to establish prejudice.

It was observed that, "when the hindsight a reasonable man looks at the action of appellants of not controverting their relationship with the parties and not demonstrating the manner in which they have been prejudiced before the revisional authority and Learned Single Judge Bench and Learned Division Bench of High Court, one would not be hesitant to hold that their representation before the collector would not have improved their case or compelled the collector to arrive at a different finding. Hence, in such a scenario, the plea of non­impleadment is a useless formality and the court should not entangle itself in procedural complexities."


Owing to the divergent views, the Bench directed the Registry to place the matter before the Chief Justice for the constitution of a larger Bench.


Appellant: Counsel Neeraj Shekhar

Respondents: Counsels Mrinal Gopal Elker, Avadhesh Kumar Singh

Cause Title: Krishnadatt Awasthy vs State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors.

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