In Council of Civil Service Unions v. Minister for the Civil Service, 1985 AC 374, it was 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,
- 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 have been communicated to him some rational grounds for withdrawing it on which he has been given an opportunity to comment; or
- He has received assurance from the decision maker that they will not be withdrawn without giving him first an opportunity of advancing reasons for contending that they should not be withdrawn.
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.
In Ram Pravesh Singh v. State of Bihar, (2006) 8 SCC 381, it was held that legitimate expectation is not a legal right. Not being a right, it is not enforceable as such. It may entitle an expectant:
- To an opportunity to show cause before the expectation is dashed; or
To an explanation as to the cause for denial. In appropriate cases, the courts may grant a direction requiring the authority to follow the promised procedure or established practice. Kerala State Beverages (M & M) Corporation Ltd. v. PP Suresh, (2019) 9 SCC 710.