Question:- Discuss the nature and scope of Administrative Law.

Answer:- Nature and scope of administrative law

Administrative law is a branch of public law, which deals with the administration. This branch of
law determines the organisation, powers and duties of the administrative authorities. According to K.C. Davis, “those rules which are recognised by the courts as law and which relate to and regulate the administration of Government” may be described as Administrative law. (Administrative law,
1985, P.1).

The emphasis on the organisation is only to the extent that it is necessary to understand the powers, characteristics of actions, procedure for the exercise of those powers and the control mechanism provided therein.

The nature of powers of administrative authorities can be studied under three heads:
(1) Legislative or Rule-making,
(2) Judicial or Adjudicative,
(3) Purely Executive.

Now the main consideration of administrative law is the control over the exercise of these powers. Prof. Wade rightly concludes:

“The organisation, the methods, the powers (administrative, legislative or judicial) and the control by judicial authority of all public authorities is the ambit of administrative law in United Kingdom.”

According to Prof. K. C. Davis, “Administrative law, as the term is used, is limited to law concerning powers, procedures of administrative agencies, including especially the law governing judicial review of administrative actions. It does not include the enormous mass of substantive law produced by the agencies much of which is beyond the understanding of lawyer as such.”

The scope of administrative law in India is very much similar to that of United States. With the growth of the powers of administrative authorities the question as how to control these powers became very important. If the finality and exclusive character of administrative action is not subjected to judicial control and legislative responsibility, it would run havoc in society and what Hewart described: “New despotism would prevail over.”

The key function of administrative law is to find the ways, in which the administration could be kept within limits, so that discretionary powers may not become arbitrary powers. The task of administrative law is to reconcile; in the field of administrative action, democratic safeguards and standards of fair play with the effective conduct of government.

Under the province of administrative law the following points are notable:

1. Various administrative bodies-The existence of various administrative bodies such as Wage-Board, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Commission of Inquiry and Advisory Boards, Tariff Commissions, etc.

2. Rule-making power of administrative agencies-i.e., delegated legislation; safeguards against abuse of power and judicial control. Here we reach the pith of administrative law, i.e., power.

3. Judicial function of administrative agencies– Administrative tribunals-It includes administrative agencies like Claims Tribunal, Industrial Tribunal, the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal performing judicial functions. In this regard the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the High Court over them is also worth considering.

4. Remedies-Various remedies, e.g., Mandamus, Certiorari, Prohibition, etc., are available to citizens to prevent excesses and abuse of power. Besides, there are certain equitable remedies such as declaration and injunction available against Government authorities for their misuse of powers.

5. Procedural guarantees-Under it we find the tendency to judicialise administrative acts, to make sure that the fundamentals of proper procedure-openness, fairness and impartiality are observed. The concept of procedural guarantee also includes the rules of natural justice.

6. Governmental liability-Tortious and contractual liability of Union and State Governments for the wrongs committed by their servants and agents.

7. Public Corporation-Liability and legal responsibility of public corporations.

Administrative law is the most growing and important subject because it is basically a judge-made law and the judges have been changing their position very often. This factor is responsible for making administrative law a subject of growing importance and interest. 21st century has become exceedingly complex and governmental functions have multiplied. There has been a vast change in the scope and character of government power in modern times.

The role of the government in modern times may be placed in five categories, as protector, provider, entrepreneur, controller and arbiter. In view of this increase in the governmental power, considerable power has nowadays been concentrated in the executive branch of the government. The direct result of this has been the growth of administrative law.

Arming the administration with such vital functions required some reasonable checks and control over their exercise, because in absence of a check, there is constant danger of its assuming the role of dictator or what Allen described as ‘Bureaucracy triumphant.’ The administrative law tries to prevent things going to such limit. Griffith, in his book ‘Principles of Administrative Law’, says, “Without the control on the administration essential balance between individual liberty and public good is impossible.”

In simple words, the reason behind the growing importance of administrative law is the assumption by the administrative authorities of very wide powers including legislative and judicial, which was the result of the growth of social welfare State. Since administrative law is primarily concerned with the control over the exercise of their powers, i.e., to prevent administrative authorities from abuse and misuse of powers, hence it has become a subject of growing interest.

Question:- ‘Administrative law has emerged as the most important branch of law recently in India.’ Explain.

Answer:- You have to write the same answer.

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