Delegated Legislation: Administrative Law Notes

Delegated Legislation: Administrative Law  Notes- Prolawctor

Delegated Legislation – It is not easy to get the exact definition of delegated legislation.

According to Salmond, delegation legislation is the legislation that comes from any form of authority apart from the sovereign power and depends on a supreme authority for the continuance of its existence.

According to Jain and Jain, Delegated legislation is the exercise by a subordinate agency of the legislation powers delegated by the legislature.

According to Donoghourmore Committee, Delegated legislation is divided nto 2 parts

  • Administrative Officer perform certain function delegated by the parliament.
  • When the legislation delegates some powers to authority control of parliament.

Delegated legislation is a kind of subordinate legislation. Generally, the ‘delegated legislation means the law made by the executive under the powers delegated it by the Supreme legislative authority. It comes in the form of orders, bye-laws etc. The Committee on Minister’s power said that the term delegated legislation has two meanings

  1. Firstly, it means the exercise of power that is delegated to the executive to make rules.
  2. Secondly, it means the output or the rules or regulations etc. made under the power so given.

Delegation non potest delegate

Legal rule that an agent to whom an authority for decision-making power has been delegated by a principal or higher authority may not delegate it to a sub agent unless the original delegator expressly authorizes it, or there is an implied authority to do so. It is a fundamental principle of administrative law. It is a principle in constitutional and administrative law that means in Latin that “no delegated powers can be further delegated.” Alternatively, it can be stated delegatus non potest delegare (“one to whom power is delegated cannot himself further delegate that power”).

E.g : Payment of Bonus Act enables “Central Govt”, to exempt certain establishments on certain considerations.

  • The Minimum wages Act has enablled the central Govt to add any other establishment to the schedule, to apply the Act.
  • The exercise of this by Govt is delegated legislative authority and is valid under delegated legislation.
  • Apart from this, delegated legislation also means the rules, regulations, Bye laws, orders etc, made by subordinate Authority.
  • Thus, the parent Act is made by the Parliament or State legislature, and a subordinate authority makes delegated legislation


  1. Pressure on parliamentary time: Parliament is an extremely busy body. It is overloaded and burdened with legislative work. It must enact so many legislations that it can hardly investigate detail of every law. The horizons of state activities are expanding. The bulk of legislation is so great. It is not possible for the legislature to devote enough time to discuss all the matters in detail. Therefore, legislature formulates the general policy- the skeleton and empowers the executive to fill in the details- thus giving flesh and blood to the skeleton so that it may live- by issueing necessary rues, regulation, bye- laws etc.
  2. Technicality: Sometimes, subject matter of legislation is technical in nature. So, assistance of experts is required. Members of parliament may be the best politicians, but they are not expert to deal with highly technical matters. These matters are required to be handled by experts. Here, the legislative power may be conferred on experts to deal with the technical problems. i.e. gas, atomic energy, drugs, electricity etc.
  3. Flexibility: In case of delegated legislation changes in the legislation take place more frequently and without delay, this is not possible in legislation by parliament. Moreover, the implementation of law becomes easier and flexible by means of delegation legislation.
  4. Experiment: The practice of delegated legislation enables the executive to experiment. This method permits rapid utilization of experience and implementation of necessary changes in application of the provisions in the light of such experience.
  5. Emergency: In times of emergency, quick action is required to be taken. The legislative process is not equipped to provide for urgent solution to meet the emergency. Delegated legislation is the only convenient remedy.
  6. Complexity of modern administration: The complexity of modern administration and the expansion of the functions of the state to the economic and social sphere have rendered it is necessary to resort to new forms of legislation and to give wide powers to various authorities on suitable occasions.

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