Law Blogs

What is Administrative Law, it’s Sources and Explain Why Administrative Law is Important for Social Change

1. Introduction
Administrative Law is the law relating to the administrative operation of government. It deals with the powers and duties of administrative authorities and the procedure followed by them in exercising the powers and discharging the duties. This law also deals with remedies available to an aggrieved person when his rights are affected by any administrative action.

There were various reasons such as the change in the concept of the government, the inadequacy of the judicial system, the evolution of the socialistic pattern of society, which has led to the expansion of the Administrative law. This law also originates from the activities of private individuals, corporations, and non-governmental entities. Government agency action can include rulemaking, adjudication, or the enforcement of a specific regulatory agenda. It is considered a branch of public law. It is a body of law administrative law deals with the decision-making of administrative units of government including tribunals, boards, and commission that are part of a national regulatory scheme such as international trade, manufacturing, and so on.

Administrative law, the legal framework within which public administration is carried out. It derives from the need to create and develop a system of public administration under law, a concept that may be compared with the much older notion of justice under law. Since administration involves the exercise of power by the executive arm of government, administrative law is of constitutional and political, as well as juridical, importance.

1.1 The Historical Background of Administrative Law
The earliest administrative procedure was an inquest or inquisition process introduced by the Romans, and the civilians generally, ‘inquisitio’ which became a prominent feature of their legislative activity. Emperor Claudius (A. D. 41-54) was somewhat of a law reformer, he appointed a purely administrative official and vested in him the powers of judicial functions in an important branch of the police power and public revenues and this was fully realized although the ordinary courts continued to function as before.  The very first form of administrative law was laid down by Napoleon Bonaparte known as Droit Administrative also known as the French Administrative law.

1.2 Definition of Administrative Law
Administrative law is the body of law that governs the administration and regulation of government agencies It is the legal framework within which public administration operates. Administration involves the exercise of power by the executive arm of government and it is of constitutional, political and, juridical importance. There is no universally accepted definition of administrative law but we can say that it may be held to cover the organization, powers, duties, and functions of public authorities of all kinds engaged in administration along with their relations with one another and with citizens and non-governmental bodies. It is also implied as to the legal methods of controlling public administration and the rights and liabilities of officials.

Administrative law is complemented by constitutional law and we observe that from the organization of a national legislature, the structure of the courts, the characteristics of a cabinet, and the role of the head of state are generally regarded as matters of constitutional law, whereas the substantive and procedural provisions relating to central and local governments and judicial review of administration are reckoned matters of administrative law. The basic object of administrative law is to ensure efficient, economical, and just administration. Administrative law is that branch of public law which deals with the organization and powers of administrative and quasi administrative agencies and prescribes the principles and rules by which official action is reached and reviewed concerning individual liberty and freedom. Administrative law caters to the following concerns that it studies the powers of administrative agencies.

The nature and extent of such powers are relevant to determine whether any administrative action is ultra-vires or there is an abuse of power. Furthermore, it studies the rules, procedures, and principles of exercising these powers. We observe that the Parliament, when conferring legislative or adjudicative power on administrative agencies, usually prescribes specific rules governing the manner of exercising such powers. In some cases, the procedure may be provided as a codified Act applicable to all administrative agencies. It also studies rules and principles applicable to the manner of exercising governmental powers such as principles of fairness, reasonableness, rationality, and the rules of natural justice.

We can term administrative law as a controlling mechanism of power that is administrative agencies while exercising their powers may exceed the legal limit abuse their power or fail to comply with minimum procedural requirements, therefore, administrative law studies control mechanisms like legislative & institutional control and control by the courts through judicial review. Lastly, it studies remedies available to aggrieved parties whose rights and interests may be affected by unlawful and unjust administrative actions. Administrative law is concerned with effective redress mechanisms to aggrieved parties.

1.3 Legal aspects of Administrative Law
The following are the legal aspects dealt with by Administrative Law

1.3.1 Rulemaking
In administrative law, rulemaking refers to the process that executive agencies use to create or promulgate, regulations. Legislature first set broad policy mandates by passing laws, then agencies create more detailed regulations through rulemaking. The rulemaking process has powered the success of some of the most notable government achievements of the twentieth century.

For example, science-based regulations are critical to modern programs for environmental protection, food safety, and workplace safety. However, excessive growth in regulations has fueled criticism that the rulemaking process reduces the transparency and accountability of a democratic government.

1.3.2 Adjudication
Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbiter or judge reviews evidence and argumentation including legal reasoning set forth by litigants to come to a decision that determines rights and obligations between the parties involved. Three types of disputes are resolved through adjudication:
1. Disputes between private parties, such as individuals or corporations.
2. Disputes between private parties and public officials.
3. Disputes between public officials or public bodies.

1.3.3 Enforcement
Enforcement or enactment refers to the date and process by which legislation or part of legislation comes to have legal force and effect. However, the process whereby a Bill becomes an Act is well prescribed in general constitutional or administrative legislation. This process varies from country to country, and from the political system to the political system. Typically, the process by which a Bill becomes an Act would include that the Bill be signed by the head of state and that it be published in the Official Gazette. It is for the people to know the law exists and generally releases it in the public domain.

1.4 Sources of Administrative Law
Source means the origin of the material content of rule or the formal stamp of authority as law. With the view to control the administrative operation of the government, it is necessary to know
the sources of administrative law and powers.  In common law countries like India and Pakistan, there is no ‘droit administrative ’ in the sense of there being a different or separate system, and administrative law is a part of the ‘ordinary law’ of the land. The sources of American Administrative Law are common law that is statutes and implied powers of the administration. Therefore, in this branch of public law, we are concerned with the Constitution, statutes, subordinate legislation, and case law. However, administrative law is very closely allied to the study of the government. Ideas about governmental changes influence administrative law. It is, therefore, that administrative law is concerned with the study of documents, orders, and decisions which are not true sources of law. The following are the sources of administrative law.

1.4.1 The Constitution as a Source of Administrative Law
Constitutions of the democratic nations are the supreme law of the land countries, for example, Pakistan, India, and America. Constitution being the grundnorm of the legal system of the country, it conditions and overrides all legislative and administrative actions. Besides providing for functional organization and consequential growth in the administrative process, the Constitution has also provided for an elaborate control mechanism. The Constitution demarcates the legislative and administrative power of the Union and the States conferring on the courts, the power to review legislative and administrative action and adjudge their constitutionality. All the legislative actions of the administration have been expressly brought by the Constitution within the purview of it by defining ‘Law’ as including ‘order’, ‘bye-law’, ‘rule’ and ‘notification’ etc. having the force of law. All these features of the Constitution influence and shape the nature and content of administrative law in states having the constitution as the supreme law of the land.

1.4.2 Statutes as a Source of Administrative Law
Statutes are the principal source of administrative power. Statute emanates from the Constitution and the legislature. Generally, the law-making power is entrusted to Parliament and State Legislatures. The administration is given powers by statutes. All the statutes have to conform to the constitutional patterns. Exercise of administrative powers has to conform to statutory patterns. In England as well in the United States, a good deal of legislation has been enacted to provide for administrative procedures, composition and procedures of tribunals, the liability of state and its bureaucracy. Ultimately it contributes towards the strengthening of the control on the exercise of administrative powers.

1.4.3 Ordinances as a Source of Administrative Law
The ordinance-making power relates to the legislative powers of the Chief Executive and in Pakistan, the power to promulgate ordinances is with the President of Pakistan. These provisions have secured considerable flexibility to the State to enact laws to meet emergent situations as also to meet circumstances created by-laws being declared void by courts of law. Grave public inconvenience would be caused if an Act being declared void and there is a requirement of machinery whereby a valid law could be promptly promulgated. Further, it must be noted that the Ordinance making power of the Chief Executive is not unlimited or unbridled and the power is subjected to legislative control. The question of whether the ordinance can be challenged if made on collateral grounds remains open to be struck down by courts.

1.4.4 Delegated Legislation as a Source of Administrative Law
Law-making is the primary function of the Legislature. And the legislature cannot monopolize the whole of legislative power by placing certain checks and balances on it. A good deal of legislation is made by the administration under the powers conferred by the Legislature and this type of administrative legislation is called delegated or subordinate legislation. The delegated legislation is subject to Judicial and Parliamentary control. In this way, delegated legislation is an important source of administrative law.

1.4.5 Case Laws as a Source of Administrative Law
The case laws created by courts and new norms of administrative law which are discussed in various cases serve as a source of administrative law in common law as well as constitutional states. This means that Administrative law is affected by the strengths and frailties of judicial law-making. In the absence of special administrative courts, new norms of administrative la have been evolved. The judgment of Administrative courts serves as a source of Administrative principles and the rules laid for controlling the actions of administration by various devices namely, reasoned decisions, quasi-judicial function, rules of natural justice have been developed. The new principles laid down by courts form guidelines for the future course of action in administrative law regimes.

1.4.6 Reports of Committees and Law Commission as a Source of Administrative Law
The counter-balancing responsibility on the functional government to control the problems associated with social, economic, and political stigmas of the society demanded growth of administration and law regulating administration. In the context of the increasing powers of administration two particular factors were selected for an attack on the growth of administrative

1. The extent to which the executive was given freedom by Parliament to make delegated legislation, and
2. Complementary evil of freedom from control by the courts over the exercise of executive discretions because of extremely wide powers given by the legislature.

The general principles of the procedure followed by administrative tribunals and inquiries, and also provided for their supervision by the courts of law and certain committees are created to serve the very purpose of checks and balances within the administrative actions.

These committees were established to scrutinize and closely examine the delegated legislation made by the Executive. The reports submitted by such committees play an important role in evolving Administrative Law. Parliamentary control is exercised over delegated legislation through these committees in an effective way because the administration takes necessary steps on their recommendations to avoid discussion in Parliament.

1.5 Why Administrative Law is Important for Social Change and Reasons for Expansion of Administrative Law
The rapid growth of administrative law during the twentieth century owes much to the change in the concept of role and function of the modern government. The doctrine of laissez-faire has given place to the doctrine of the welfare state and this has led to the proliferation of administrative powers and functions. It is demanded by the people that the government must solve their problems rather than merely define their rights and it is felt that it will be sterile only to give rights to citizens unless the government comes forward to actively help the weaker sections of the society to bring about equality in reality and adapt to the societal changes. The regulation of the patterns of ownership, production, and distribution are considered the responsibility of any good government to ensure the maximum good of the maximum number. With the growth of society there is an ardent need of new avenues to be administered within a state and governments must ensure adequate laws to administer such avenues in form of administrative law This again has led to the growth of the administrative process and administrative law.

A welfare state has necessarily to undertake legislation on an ever-widening front if the ultimate aim of a socialistic pattern of society operating within the domain of the rule of law is to be evolved by a democratic process. The inadequacy of the traditional type of judicial system to give that quality and quantity of performance which is required in the twentieth century for the functioning of welfare and the functional government is the biggest single factor that has led to the growth of administrative process and law and is necessary to take care of the societal changes emerging in the present time.

In the light of the above discussion it is concluded that Administrative law is the branch of public law which deals with the administrative processes and the sources of this law provide a legal basis for its enforcement within the states. Secondly it is to say that the changes in the society have led to the need of the administrative law ever-lasting to maintain the rule of law.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *