Question:- Define Administrative Law. Describe the importance of Administrative law in a welfare state.

Answer:- Definition and Importance of Administrative Law:

Administrative law is a branch of public law, which deals with the structure, powers and functions of the organs of administration; the limits of their powers and the methods, by which their powers are controlled, including the legal remedies available against them.

The emphasis should be on the exercise of powers as well as on its control. In simple words, Prof. Jennings defines administrative law as the “law relating to administration. It determines the orgainsation, powers and duties of administrative authorities”. In English and American
administrative law, the organisation of administrative authorities is not treated as the subject of discussion, whereas in France, Italy and other continental countries the discussion on organisation of administrative authorities is regarded as one of the essentials of the subject of administrative law.

H.L.A. Hart does not include the discussion on the orgainsation of administrative authorities in the definition of administrative law. He defines: “Broadly conceived, administrative law includes law, that is made as well as the law, that controls the administrative authorities of the Government”.

Various attempts have been made to define administrative law, its nature, scope and content but none is completely satisfactory in the sense that some definitions are too broad whereas some are too narrow.

Dicey-Dicey has defined administrative law as, “it is that portion of a nation’s legal system, which determines the legal status and liabilities of all State officials, and secondly, defines the rights and liabilities of private individuals in their dealings with public officials, and thirdly, specifies the procedure by which those rights and liabilities are enforced”. This definition is narrow and restrictive in so far as it does not take into consideration many aspects of administrative law, such as public corporations etc.

His definition is mainly concerned with one aspect of administrative law, namely, judicial control of public officials.

In England, he says, that the system of administrative law and the very principle on which it rests are, in truth, unknown. The view of Dicey is erroneous. Dicey’s definition does not take into consideration many administrative authorities, procedures of such authorities or their various powers and functions or other controls upon them, for example, Parliamentary control.

A number of definitions have been given by jurists. Prof. Wade has defined it as the law concerned with the operation and control of the powers of administrative authorities with emphasis on function rather than structure.

Also Read Importance of administrative law in a welfare state

Ivor Jennings‘ definition is broad and reflects a balanced approach when he says, “Administrative law is the law relating to the administration. I determines the organisation, powers and duties of administrative authorities”.

Wade and Phillips define administrative law as a branch of public law which is concerned with the composition, powers, duties, rights and liabilities of the various organs of the Government which are engaged in administration”. Thus definition given by Wades and Phillips is similar to
the definition of Ivor Jennings.

K.C Davis defines administrative law as the law concerning the powers and procedures of administrative agencies, including especially the law governing judicial review of administrative action. An administrative agency is a governmental authority, other than a court and other than a legislative body, which affects the rights of private parties through either adjudication or rule-making. Thus Prof. Davis has pointed out the  large segments of administrative law which relate to transfer of power from legislative to administrative agencies, exercise of the powers by the agencies and review of administrative action by the court.

According to Prof. Davis, it does not include the enormous mass of substantive law produced by the agencies, much of which is beyond the understanding of lawyers as such. It includes judicial review of the executive or a Administrative action not involving either adjudication or rule making.

Prof. Wade-According to him since administrative law deals with the exercise of governmental powers, it is itself a part of the constitutional law. The essence of administrative law lies in judge-made doctrines which apply right across the board and which, therefore, set legal standard of conduct for public authorities generally.

Prof. Hart says “Broadly conceived, administrative law includes law that is made by judges as well as the law controls the administrative authorities of a government”. Both these definitions have ignored certain aspects of the subject which strictly fall within the scope of administrative
law today. But, it is true that administrative law in modern times is primarily concerned with techniques of control over the exercise of the multifarious powers of administrative authorities rather than their structure.

Professor Schwartz defines administrative law in the following words: “Administrative law is that branch of law which controls administrative operation of the Government.”

Broadly speaking, administrative law deals with composition and powers of different organs of administration, the limits of their powers; the procedure which the administrative authorities shall adopt in exercise of their powers and the various modes of their control including particularly judicial control over the different kinds of powers exercised by them.

Precisely it deals with the quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial powers of the administrative authorities along with their executive powers and their control.

After considering these various definitions it can be concluded here that administrative law deals with the powers of administration particularly quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial and their control.

Now-a-days, in almost every country of the world, the great importance of the study of Administrative law is recognised. As far as India is concerned. it is of great importance, because the objective of the Constitution is to establish a socialist democratic society.

According to Prof. J.J.R. Upadhyaya, “A developing country like India where the roots of democracy are not deep a strong bureaucracy may have the tendency to ride rough-shod over the rights of people. If exercised properly, the vast powers of the administration may lead to the welfare State, but if abused they may lead to administrative despotism and a totalitarian State”.

The study of Administrative law has become inevitable in view of the fact that it is a potent weapon to control governmental power through judicial process.

Question:- Is it correct to say that Administrative Law aims to controlling the functions of administration?

Answer:- You have to write the same answer.

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