This post is contributed by Vohra Mahee Ashish ,Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad


Ivor Jenning – It is a law that “deals with the administration”.

K.C. Davis – It is dealt with power performed, the procedure followed and judicial review done by administrative officers.

Schwart – It is a branch divided in three aspects- procedure performed, powers performed and remedies available to aggrieved parties.

Basic foundations of Administrative law –

  1. To check arbitary powers of administrative agents.
  2. To ensure impartial determination of disputes.
  3. To ensure officer’s accountability for their actions.
  4. To protect citizens from unlawful encroachment.

There are two types of law in Administrative Law-

  1. Law related to administration – These are the law made by the legislature that governs the functioning of administrative officers. For Example- Article 123 for making ordinances.
  2. Laws made by the administration – It has two powers- a) Rulemaking power – Legislature transfers power to administrative officers at the time of emergencies when quick action is required. b) Adjudicatory Powers – In this Judiciary has the power to make a decision and interpret laws but at the time of emergencies, it can be transferred to the administrative officers.

What is enabling act ?

Statutes that delegate powers to administrative officers is called an enabling act/Parent act/organic act. The statutes that do not delegate power are called null acts.

Nature & Scope – Defined by M P Jain & S N Jain-

  • Powers & functions performed by administrative officers.
  • Procedure to be followed by administrative officers.
  • Method of control with which administrative officers perform their functions and limitations.
  • Remedies.

I. Power & Functions– Quasi- legislative powers,administrative powers and quasi-judicial powers.

Quasi- legislative powers – When authorities other than legislative authorities make laws, they are called quasi-laws.

Difference between Quasi-legislative powers and Administrative powers-

US introduced a test known as Generality and Futurity test.This test has two aspects which are applicability and time. Applicability of quasi legislative power is general whereas applicability of administrative powers are very specific.

Futurity- The future application of quasi – legislative powers exists whereas there is no future application of administrative powers.

Case Law- Union of India Vs. Cynamide India Ltd.

In this case the Supreme Court explained the difference between the legislative and Administrative Powers. The Supreme Court held that Legislative act is a creation and promulgation of a general rule of conduct without reference to a particular case. Administrative Act is making an issue of specific directions or application of a general rule to a particular case.

Case Law- E.P. Royappa Vs. State of Tamil Nadu

In this case it was held that the equality given in the Article 14 of the constitution is against arbitrariness.Art. 14 not only disables the legislature to pass unequal laws but also disables administrative officers from using discretion arbitrarily.

Case Law – Maneka Gandhi Vs. Union of India

It was held that where a statute provides discretionary powers to officers, It has to provide principles and guidelines. In case statute fails to provide principles and guidelines, the entire statute will be considered to be violation of Article 14.

Quasi-Judicial powers and functions- Any authority other than judiciary takes any decision.

II. Procedure to be followed – Example- Natural Justice, Doctrine of Proportionally, Rule of Law, transperancy & Accountability and Checks and balances.

III. Methods of Control – If authorities perform actions beyond the scope or fail to follow the procedure then the legislature and judiciary have methods to restrict or restrict them.

IV. Remedies –Ubi jus ibi remedium means where there is a right, there is a way. There are two types of remedies available –

a) Constitutional remedies – Article 32 and 226 .

b) Non- Constitutional remedies – Injunction, Stay order, Res judicata etc.

Difference between Administrative law and Constitutional Law-

  1. Holland – Constitutional describes the various organs of the government at rest while administrative law utilizes these powers and is in motion.
  2. Jenning- Administrative Law specifically talks about powers, duties, and functions of administrative officers whereas the constitution talks about the general principles of the organization.
  3. Rabson-Constitution specifically deals with the rights of the individuals whereas administrative law applies these rights to solve the public problems.
  4. Garner– Constitutional and Administrative Law maintain harmony with each other.
  5. Constitutional Law deals with legislative, executive and judiciary whereas administrative law specifically deals with the executive.
  6. The constitution is a ground norm ( a theory by Kelson) whereas an administrative law is derived from it.

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