The Principles of Natural Justice cannot be applied in straitjacket formula especially where opportunity of hearing would have made no difference to the outcome.
The contention of the Petitioner that he was entitled to a notice and opportunity of being heard before communicating to him to the order of rejection of his candidature is also liable to be rejected for the reason that even as per his own case the petitioner did not have the requisite balance in the savings bank account as per the eligibility criteria mentioned under clause 7.1.v, and in view of the same issuance of a notice or grant of an opportunity to the petitioner, in the present case would have made no difference to the conclusion drawn by respondents with regard to the ineligibility of the petitioner as on the date of filing of his application.
We may reiterate the legal position that the principles of natural justice cannot be applied in straitjacket formula and in a case where opportunity of hearing would have made no difference to the outcome, it may not be necessary to strike down the decision. The law in this regard has been summarized by the Supreme Court in Dharampal Satyapal Limited Vs. Deputy Commissioner of Central Excise, Gauhati & Ors.1 in the following terms:-
“39. We are not concerned with these aspects in the present case as the issue relates to giving of notice before taking action. While emphasising that the principles of natural justice cannot be applied in straitjacket formula, the aforesaid instances are given. We have highlighted the jurisprudential basis of adhering to the principles of natural justice which are grounded on the doctrine of procedural fairness, accuracy of outcome leading to general social goals, etc. Nevertheless, there may be situations wherein for some reason–perhaps because the evidence against the individual is thought to be utterly compelling–it is felt that a fair hearing “would make no difference”–meaning that a hearing would not change the ultimate conclusion reached by the decision-maker–then no legal duty to supply a hearing arises. Such an approach was endorsed by Lord Wilberforce in Malloch v. Aberdeen Corpn. (1971) 1 WLR 1578 : (1971) 2 All ER 1278 (HL), who said that: (WLR p. 1595 : All ER p. 1294)”.
Judgement link : https://indiankanoon.org/doc/199268040/