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Administrative Law Nature and Scope

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I. Introduction.

Administrative Law developed in the 20th Century. The functions of the State drastically changed and have increased from before. This has lead to an increase in the scope of Administrative Law.

II. Definition:

(i) Ivor Jennings “Administrative Law is the law relating to the Administration. It determines the organization, powers and duties of the Administrative Authorities.”

According to Griffith and Street, there are two difficulties with this definition:
(a) it does not distinguish Administrative Law from Constitution Law.
(b) it has a very wide definition.
A law which provides the power and functions of Administrative Authorities may also provide substantive aspects of such powers, for e.g., laws relating to Public Health Services, Town and Country Planning, etc. Such laws are not included in the ambit of Administrative Law.

(ii) Wade

According to Wade, Administrative Law is the law relating to the control of Governmental power. According to him the primary object of Administrative Law is to limit the powers of the Government to protect citizens against their abuse.

(iii) K. C. Davis.

Administrative Law is the law concerning the powers and procedures of Administrative Agencies, including especially the law governing Judicial Review of Administrative actions.

III. Nature and Scope of Administrative Law.

Administrative Law deals with the powers of Administrative Authorities, exercise of such powers, remedies for aggrieved persons by such law, etc.

Administrative process is considered as a necessary evil in all progressive Societies, particularly in a Welfare State. Such process may affect the right of citizens.

It has been observed by Lord Denning, “properly exercised the new powers of the Executive lead to the Welfare State, but abused they lead to the totalitarian state”.

Administrative Law deals with the following aspect:

(i) Who are Administrative Authorities?

(ii) The powers exercised by such Authorities.

(iii) Limitations of such powers exercised by such Authorities.

(iv) Procedure for using Administrative powers.

According to Friedman the scope of Administrative Law is as under:

(i) It deals with lawmaking powers of Administrative Authorities under common law and various statutes.

(ii) Judicial and Quasi-Judicial powers of Administrative Authorities i.e. Court and Tribunal to deal with problems and remedies (Article 136 and 227 of the Constitution of India).

(iii) Executive power of Administration i.e. concentration of power.

(iv) Power of the Court to supervise Administrative Authorities.

(v) Legal liability of public servant.

According to M. C. Jain the scope of Administrative Law is as under:

(i) Delegated Legislation, indispensability, permissibility, and constitutionality, modes of delegation, procedural formality required to be observed by Administrative Agency, safeguard against abuse of power, judicial control.

(ii) Judicial function: Judicial function of Administrative Agencies, Administrative Tribunal, procedural guarantee, finality of decision, jurisdiction of Supreme Court, the High Court over the Administrative Agencies and Tribunals.

(iii) Government liabilities: Immunities of Administrative Agencies and bodies from suits, remedies available against the Union of India and the State instrumentalities.

IV. Reasons of Growth of Administrative Law.

(i) Change in the nature of State :
The Police State has changed to Welfare State in the 20th Century. The traditional functions of State i.e. defence and administration of justice has undergone a drastic change. The State undertakes various functions for the benefit of the people in the 20th Century.

(ii) Shortcomings of the judicial system: The judicial system has proved to be inadequate to decide all types all disputes. It was slow, expensive, complex and having various other drawbacks.

(iii) Inadequate legislative process: The legislative process is not capable of laying down detailed rules and regulations for the functioning of the State.

(iv) Reform in social life:
The social aspect has undergone a drastic change amongst the citizens of the State. More and more laws were required to deal with complex situations amongst the daily life of citizens.

(v) Increasing demand from people:
Merely defining rights of citizen was not sufficient but also solving their problem was important for the State.

(vi) Scope for experiment: The present lawmaking process is time-consuming and cannot deal with all problems of the Society therefore it is necessary for a different aspect for making laws.

(vii) Preventive measures:
Administrative Authorities also implement preventive measures like licensing to liquor shops, rate fixing, etc.

(viii) State economy:
The Administrative Authorities frame national policies and plans for achieving goals contemplated in the Constitution of India.

(ix) Regulatory measures:
Administrative Authorities implement regulatory measures in relation to industrial production, manufacturing and distribution of essential commodities.

(x) Population:
Increase in population creates a burden upon the legislative process to implements various laws for various needs of growing population.

(xi) Industries:
Industrialization lead to various labour issues. The Administrative machinery was needed to solve such issues.

V. Functions of Administrative Law.

The primary function of Administrative Law is:

(i) Resist Government powers within the limit of law.

(ii) Protect rights and interests of individuals. Administrative law aims to control the power of Government, its instrumentalities and agencies.

VI. Red Light Theory and Green Light Theory.

According to C. K. Takwani, Red Light Theory states the primary object of Administrative Law is to control governmental power. It is based on the assumption that power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. Red Light Theory has emerged from a fear of State absolutism. Since State regulates and controls various activities of its subjects, there is every possibility of misuse and or abuse of powers. The Red Light Theory seeks to protect private rights and individual interest. Its object is to keep governmental agencies and Administrative Authorities within the bounds of law through judicial control.

Advocates of Green Light Theory, on the other hand, believe in ground reality and favor regulatory measures. This theory does not concede arbitrary, unrestricted or absolute power to Administrative Authorities either. But whereas the Red Light Theory supports judicial control, the Green Light Theory puts emphasis on the political process. Control of Administrative Agencies under this theory is direct and internal rather than indirect and external. Both the Theories according to C. K. Takwani have their own merits and pitfalls. In most legal systems, therefore, there is a combination of two theories. In other words, the right part lies somewhere between the pure Red and Green Light models, in an “Amber Light Theory”.

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