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Administrative Law

Reviewed by Anjaneyulu | Updated on Sep 30, 2020



Administrative law is the legislation which regulates administrative actions. According to Ivor Jennings, administrative law is the law concerning administration. This law defines the administrative authorities, organisation, powers, and duties.

It includes legislation relating to administrative bodies, rule-making powers, administrative agencies' quasi-judicial duties, public authorities' legal responsibilities, and ordinary courts powers to supervise administrative bodies. This controls the executives and guarantees fair treatment of the public by the executives.

Understanding Administrative Law

Administrative law is a branch of public law, which deals with people's relationship with the government. This law defines the framework and power structure for enforcing the law through administrative and quasi-judicial authorities. This law focuses primarily on official acts and practices and provides a control mechanism by which government entities remain within boundaries.

Administrative Law in India

Ancient India's Mauryan and Gupta dynasties had a centralised administrative system. It was with the arrival of the British that a few changes were made to the administrative law in India. In British India, the law governing administrative actions was passed.

After independence, India adopted to become a welfare state, which subsequently increased the activities of the State. When the government and administrative authorities' actions and power grew, the need for Rule of Law and Judicial Inspection of State acts also increased.

Henceforth, if the laws, regulations, and orders issued by the administrative authorities are found to exceed the legislative powers of the authorities, then such orders, rules, and regulations were to be declared ultra-vires, unconstitutional, illegal, and void.

Through regulating delegated legislation and subjecting administrative discretionary acts to judicial review, administrative law in India seeks to govern administrative actions. It also makes provision for the structure and composition of tribunals.


Administrative law is the law governing the government, controlling its operation, and protecting the common citizens against any abuse of power exercised by the executive or any of its instruments. It is a new branch of law that has evolved over time and will continue to evolve according to society's changing needs. The purpose of administrative law is not to abolish the executive's discretionary powers, but to put them in line with the rule of law.

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