"The main argument on behalf of the Respondents was that the Government was bound by its promise and could not have resiled from it. They had an indefeasible legitimate expectation of continued employment, stemming from the Government Order dated 20.02.2002 which could not have been withdrawn. It was further submitted on behalf of the Respondents that they were not given an opportunity before the benefit that was promised, was taken away. To appreciate this contention of the Respondents, it is necessary to understand the concept of legitimate expectation.

14. The principle of legitimate expectation has been recognized by this Court in "Union of India v. Hindustan Development Corporation & Ors." If the promise made by an authority is clear, unequivocal and unambiguous, a person can claim that the authority in all fairness should not act contrary to the promise.

15. M. Jagannadha Rao, J. elaborately elucidated on legitimate expectation in "Punjab Communications Ltd. v. Union of India & Ors." He referred to the judgment in 2 (1993) 3 SCC 499 "Council of Civil Service Unions and Ors. v. Minister for the Civil Service" in which Lord Diplock had observed that for a legitimate expectation to arise, the decisions of the administrative authority must affect the person by depriving him of some benefit or advantage which, (i) he had in the past been permitted by the decision- maker to enjoy and which he can legitimately expect to be permitted to continue to do until there has been communicated to him some rational grounds for withdrawing it on which he has been given an opportunity to comment; or (ii) he has received assurance from the decision-maker that they will not be withdrawn without giving him first an opportunity of advancing reasons for contending that they should not be withdrawn.

Rao, J. observed in this case, that the procedural part of legitimate expectation relates to a representation that a hearing or other appropriate procedure will be afforded before the decision is made. The substantive part of the principle is that if a representation is made that a benefit of a substantive nature will be granted or if the person is already in receipt of the benefit, that it will be continued and not be substantially varied, then the same could be enforced.

16. It has been held by R. V. Raveendran, J. in "Ram Pravesh Singh v. State of Bihar" that legitimate expectation is not a legal right. Not being a right, it is not enforceable as such. It may entitle an expectant:

(a) to an opportunity to show cause before the expectation is dashed; or

(b) to an explanation as to the cause of denial. In appropriate cases, the Courts may grant a direction requiring the authority to follow the promised procedure or established practice."

Source: Excerpt taken from the judgment delivered by the bench of L. Nageshwar Rao & Hemant Gupta, J.J. in Kerala State Beverages (M and M) v. P P Suresh & Ors.,(2019) 9 SCC 710.

Question 48

In which of the following cases, Hegde J observed that, "Whenever a complaint is made before a court that some Principle of Natural Justice had been contravened, the court had to decide whether the observance of that rule was necessary for a just decision on the facts of that case."?

Create a FREE account and get:

  • Download Maths Shortcuts PDF
  • Get 300+ previous papers with solutions PDF
  • 500+ Online Tests for Free


Boost your Prep!

Download App