It is settled that natural justice is guaranteed under Article 14 of the Indian constitution. However article 14 explicitly mentions that "The State shall not deny to any person ...". Thus if a person is subject to arbitrary discrimination on grounds of religion or has been denied natural justice, he/she may not be able to invoke article 32 to seek remedy unless the violator is 'State' within the meaning of article 12. However the jurisdiction of High courts under article 226 is much wider and includes any society/corporation which is performing 'public function' even if it is not controlled by the state. To rephrase, the test for determining amenability under article 226 is the 'function test' which is much wider than the more restrictive 'control test' for article 32.

Now my question is

Suppose a person has been discriminated on grounds of religion or has been denied natural justice by an authority/society which is amenable to writ jurisdiction under article 226, but not under 32, then what is the analog of article 14 which shall be invoked in a writ petition under article 226 ?

My understanding is that even though the body is amenable to writ jurisdiction under 226, it could argue that article 14 does not place any obligation on it to not discriminate on the grounds of religion or to follow the principles of natural justice since it is not State.

Which public remedy is available to a citizen in such a situation ?

  • 2
    A somewhat more factually specific example would make it easier to follow your question. But, my first thought is that not every ground for hauling a party into court and obtaining a remedy from that party, needs to be enshrined in the constitution. The legislative branch can pass laws that can be enforced in court as well, and probably has, even if the constitution doesn't directly provide a remedy.
    – ohwilleke
    Dec 5, 2016 at 15:03

1 Answer 1


In common law countries, natural justice must be provided by any arbiter to the extent provided for in the law that places the arbiter in that position. Therefore, every decision maker is appointed by the state even if they are a non-government appointee.

For example, an arbitration is a private dispute resolution mechanism that ostensibly has no involvement by the state. However, binding arbitration can only occur because there is a law made by the state that enlivens them. An arbitrator appointed in accordance with that law must afford natural justice (to the extent the law contemplates - full natural justice may be limited by the law itself); if they do not then there will be grounds to have the arbitration set aside by the courts.

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