The most notable and important development of the modern state is the rapid
growth of Administrative law. The growth which took place in the 20th century
can be considered as a radical change. The role and the functions of the state
have undergone an extreme alteration. There is a multiplication of government
functions. The state which is functioning today act as a progressive democratic
state it as to make sure whether the essential needs of the citizens are full
filled by the state. It as to ensure Social peace and security, control the over
production, manufactures and distributes essential commodities, ensures equal
pay for equal work it should work on the improvement of slums, health and
education of the citizens the modern state takes care of its citizen till their
existence inside the state. Such kind of development have increased the reach
and scope of Administrative law. It is the law which governs the duties, powers
and also the manner in which those powers are executed. Administrative law
limits the authorities from using their powers in an abusive manner. Determining
the Reasons for the Growth of Administrative law which helps in Analyzing
whether such growth has witnessed an efficient functioning of the Administrative
authorities. Administrative law developed principles which assist to ensure that
the Administrative or public authorities works in a legal, reasonable and
efficient manner. This article is mainly concentrated on knowing the reasons for
the growth of Administrative law with a brief introduction to the subject as
well as the chronicle of administrative law and it’s functioning, through which
a better understanding of Administrative can be gained and also the need for
administrative law can be known.
In India there present several Administrative bodies appointed by the Central or
the State government to ensure a proper and systematic functioning of Government
Agencies and Public Enterprises established either by the state or the central
governments. Administrative agencies can be shortly classified into three the
Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary All the administrative activities
can be covered under these three main heads. It becomes necessary to keep an eye
on these Administrative Agencies. to regulate the activities of the
Administrative Authorities the concept of Administrative law was introduced.
Administrative law deals with the powers of the Administrative authorities, the
manner in which the powers are exercised and the remedies which are available to
the aggrieved persons when those powers are abused by these authorities.
Administrative law is a part of constitutional law and all concerns of
administrative law are also concerns of constitutional law. The main object of
the study of administration law is to unravel the way in which these
administrative authorities could be kept within their limits so that the
discretionary powers may not be turned into arbitrary powers.1
Chronicle of Administrative Law:
Administrative law is not a codified, document or well-defined law. It is
essentially unwritten, uncodified or a “judge-made” law. The evidence of
administrative law can be evidenced even in the ancient times. The concept of
dharma ruled and observed by the kings and administrators. The basic principles
of natural justice and fair play were followed by the kings and officers as the
administration could be run only on those principles accepted by dharma, but
still there was no administrative law in existence in the sense in which it is
studied today. After the establishment of the East India Company and the rule of
British rule in India, the powers of the government had increased. Many Acts,
statutes and legislations were passed by the British government regulating
public safety, health, morality, transport and labour relations2. The practice
of granting administrative license began with the state with the Stage Carriage
The first public corporation was established under the Bombay Port Act, 1873.
Delegated legislation was accepted by the Northern India canal and Drainage
Act,1873and the Opium Act, 1878. Proper and effective steps were taken to
regulate the trade and traffic in explosives by the Indian Explosives Act,
1884.In many statutes, provisions were made regarding holding of permits and
licenses and for the settlement of disputes by the administrative authorities
and tribunals. In the present century, social and economic policies of the
government had significant impact on private rights of citizens, e.g. housing,
employment, planning, education, health, service, pension, manufacture of goods
etc., Traditional legislative and judicial system could not effectively solve
these problems. It resulted in increase in delegated legislation as well as
tribunalisation. Administrative law thus became a living subject. Since
independence, the activities and the functions of the government have further
increased. Under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Minimum wages Act, 1948,
the factories Act, 1948 and the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948, important
social security measures have been taken those employed in industries. The
philosophy of a welfare state has been specifically embodied in the Indian
constitution. In constitution itself provisions are there to secure social,
economic and political justice, equality of status and opportunity to all
citizens. The ownership and control of material resources of the society should
be so disturbed as to best serve the common good. The operation of the economic
system should not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production
with few. For the implementation of all objects, the state is vested with the
power to impose reasonable restrictions even on the fundamental rights
guaranteed by the constitution. While interpreting all these Acts and the
provisions of the constitution, the judiciary started taking into consideration
the objects and ideals of social welfare3.
In Joseph Kuruvilla Vellukunnel vs RB I4, the Supreme Court held that
under the banking companies Act, 1949, the Reserve Bank was the sole judge to
decide whether the affairs of a banking company were being conducted in a manner
prejudicial to the depositors interest and the court had no option but to pass
an order of winding as prayed for by the reserve bank. In Javid Rasool Bhat
vs state of J&K, the Supreme Court observed that a member of the Selected
Committee can even ask irrelevant questions to explore the candidates capacity
to detect irrelevancies5.
Definitions of Administrative Law:
# Ivor Jennings has defines “ Administrative law is the law relating to the
administration. It determines the Organaisation, powers and duties of the
administrative authorities”. This is the most widely accepted definition6.
# 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 keep powers of the government with in their legal bounce so as to protect
the citizens against their abuse. The powerful engines of authority must be
preventive from running amok7.
# According to 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 action8.
# According to garner also adopts the American approach advocated by K.C.Davis.
According to him administrative law may be describe as those rules which are
recognized by the courts as law and which relate to regulate the administration
# According to Griffith and Street, the main object of administrative law is
the operation and control of administrative authorities.It must deal with three
1.What sought power does the administration exercise?
2.What are the limits of those powers?
3.What are the ways in which the administration is contained within those
Functions of Administrative Law:
The primary function of administrative law is to keep governmental powers within
the limits of law and to protect private rights and individual interests. As
already noted, the scope of activities of the government have expanded. Today
the state is “ the protector, provider, entrepreneur, regulator and arbiter”.
Rulemaking power and an authority and an authority to decide are described as
effective and powerful weapons of administration. All powers have two inherent
characters 1) they are not absolute or unfettered, and 2) they are likely to be
abused. Administrative law attempts to control the powers of the government, and
its agencies. To achieve the object Administrative law provides an effective
mechanism and adequate protection. It helps to bring a balance between two
conflicting forces individual rights and public interest.
Reasons for the Growth of Administrative Law:
The following factors are responsible for the growth of administrative law:
# There is a radical change in the philosophy of the role played by the state.
The negative policy of maintaining law and order and social welfare is changing.
The state has not confined its scope to the traditional and minimum functions of
defense and administration of justice, but has adopted the positive policy and
as a welfare state has undertaken to perform varied functions11.
# The judicial system was proved to be an inadequate to decide and settle all
types of disputes. It was slow, costly, inept, complex and formalistic. It was
already overburdened and it was not possible to expect speedy disposal of even
very important matters. The important problems could not be solved by mere
literally interpreting the provisions of some statutes, but required
consideration of various other factors and it could not be done by the ordinary
courts of law. Therefore, industrial tribunals and labour courts. Were
established, which possessed the techniques and expertise to handle these
# The legislative process was also inadequate. It had no time and technique to
deal with all the details. It was impossible for it to lay down detailed rules
and procedures, and even when detailed provisions were laid down by the
legislature, they have found to be defective and inadequate. Therefore, it was
necessary to delegate some powers to the administrative authorities
# There is scope for experiments in administrative process. Here unlike, in
legislation, it is not necessary to continue a rule until commencement of the
next session of the legislature. Here a rule can be made , tired for some time
and if it is defective, can be altered or modified within a short period. Thus,
legislation is rigid in character , while the administrative process is
# The administrative authorities can avoid technicalities. Administrative law
represents functional rather than a theoretical and legislative approach. The
traditional judiciary is conservative, rigid and technical. It is impossible for
courts to decide cases without formality and technicality. Administrative
tribunals are not bound by rules of evidence and procedure and they can take a
practical view of the matter to decide complex problems.
# Administrative authorities can take preventive measures. Unlike regular courts
of law, they do not have to wait for parties to come before them with disputes.
In many cases, these preventive actions may prove to be more effective and
useful than punishing a person after he has committed a breach of law. As
freeman says, ‘ Inspection and grading of meat answers the consumer’s need more
adequately than does a right to sue the seller after the consumer injured”12.
# Administrative authorities can take effective steps for the enforcement of the
aforesaid preventive measures e.g. suspension, revocation and cancellation of
license, destruction of contaminated articles etc., which are not generally
available through regular courts of law13
The Role of administrative law is to limit the powers of the government agencies
and keep a check in on the administrative authorities. it is not always possible
to rely upon some general statutes for rising disputes between the individuals
and the public authorities thus there should be a proper law to govern such
disputes, Administrative law act as the proper law which governs the
Administrative law is generally a unwritten and uncodified law. Administrative
law is a “judge-made law”. It is recommended to bring an codified form of
administrative law which ensures an complete growth of Administrative law and
also makes the job of administrative tribunals in deciding cases. An written
form of administrative law gives an well-versed recognisation of administration
among the citizens of the country.
1.C.K .Takwani –Administrative law
2.V.G. Ramachandaran, Administartive law (1984) 56-57
3.Administrative law in India (1961) 257.
4.AIR 1962 SC 1371 :1962
5.(1984) 2 SCC 631, 637: AIR 1984 SC 873, 877
6.Principles of Administrative law (1967) 3.
7.Wade & Forsyth, Administration law (2009) 4-5
8.Administrative law text (1959) I.
9.Administrative law (1985) 4.
10.Administrative law C.K. Takwani
11.Administrative law C.K .Takwani
12.Case Materials on Administrative law in India, Vol I (1966) 3-4
13.Harlow & rawlings law and administration (1997) chap 2
# Case Materials on Administrative law in India, Vol I (1966) 3-4
# Harlow & rawlings law and administration (1997) chap 2
# C.K .Takwani –Administrative law
# V.G. Ramachandaran, Administartive law (1984) 56-57
# Administrative law in India (1961) 257.