Laws are the instruments for regulating the most volatile of all, human behaviour. Based on the basic classification of two laws, namely public Law and private Law, Administrative Law is a branch of public Law. In general, public Law is the Law that regulates the relationship between the public and the state.

Administrative Law – the name itself indicates that this is a law related to public administration. It is mainly concerned with the organizational structure, powers, functions and responsibilities of the state administrative body, viz. The executives and officials of the Government.


Administrative Law was originally part of constitutional Law. Later, in a phase of an increasing need for a welfare state, it was critically not just enough for the state to be on traditional obligations and act limited, such as maintaining internal order and protecting it from external threats.

To meet the need for welfare, the state took significant efforts to improve its citizens’ social and economic conditions. Regarding growth and development, significant changes must be made in health, education, inequality and other areas. This complication, as well as the biggest challenge, can only be resolved by effective administration.

This led to the emergence and development of administrative Law.

Administrative Law tries to provide suitable methods and techniques for controlling administrative action. In other words, they are laws governing the organization, procedures, powers and duties of non-judicial and legislative authorities.


Administrative Law protects actions of individuals from arbitrary and illegal acts by administrative authorities, protecting personal rights and individuals properties.

As for a democracy like India, the country has three organs – the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. Traditionally, it assigned the role of the legislature in drafting laws, the executive in implementing laws, and the judiciary in administering the judiciary and resolving disputes.

At present, it has become impossible for the legislature and the judiciary to address growing administrative needs through legislation or the judiciary alone, which appear to be an inadequate resource. This resulted in the presence of extensive administrative laws for the state.


The core motive of the separate branch as administrative Law is to create and maintain the Law in the states. Their main role is to focus that administrative authorities operate in accordance with the Law while respecting the principles of justice, fairness and good faith. It also ensures the provision of suitable means of protection or assistance for victims.

The main objective of granting significant powers to the Government is to provide a better living environment for the people. Some of the main objectives of administrative Law are:

  • Ensuring the common good by maintaining a balance between the effective functioning of the administration and the protection of individual freedom.
  • Secure, Promote and uphold the Rule of Law.
  • Decentralization of power and equitable distribution of resources.
  • Submit administrative action to judicial control.

Administrative Law is intended to ensure that people who accept state administrative functions are not disadvantaged and can be compensated in the event of a violation. The study of administrative Law is very useful for people and society as it briefly protects individuals from arbitrary and illegal acts by administrative authorities.

Sources of Administrative Law:

Administrative Law is not a precisely defined or codified branch of Law. This has grown beyond the boundaries of the actual situation in court. The main sources of administrative Law are:

1. Constitutional Law: The Indian Constitution is the main source of administrative Law. Article 73 of the Constitution states that the executive powers of the Union include matters over which Parliament has legislative powers. It contains various provisions regarding the powers and functions of administrative authority and provisions regarding the control of powers delegated to administrative authorities.

Article 323-B clearly states that a legally compliant legislative body can provide punishment or litigation by courts, the public sector, and government accountability, which are important aspects of administrative Law.

2. Articles of Association and Delegated Legislation: Statutes and statutes are passed by the state, and central legislatures and the laws are delegated to form the source of administrative Law. The Law specifies administrative responsibilities, limits its powers in some respects, and provides a mechanism to appeal complaints from persons affected by administrative action.

3. Ordinances, Administrative Directives, Notices And Circulars: Administrative bodies receive powers and functions from regulations of the President or Governor of the state. When the legislature does not convene, Article 123 authorizes the President to enforce regulations at the Central level, and Article 213 authorizes Governors to enforce regulations at the state level. The executive branch issues administrative instructions, notices, and circulars to exercise powers conferred under various statutes.

4. Precedent or Jurisprudence: In India, the Constitution is legislation, and the Supreme Court can interpret it. Precedent means the relationship of court decisions. Judges’ decisions made after interpreting the Law are also considered an important source of administrative Law. Judicial precedents have contributed significantly to the development of Law in accordance with changing conditions and needs of society.

In India, the existence and acceleration of the development of administrative Law is highly dependent on court decisions on various administrative law issues. The courts, through their decisions regarding the exercise of administrative power, interpret the responsibility of Government in case of contract breach or misconduct by officials and provide guidance for their future conduct.

5. Reports From Committees, Commissions, And Other Power Control Techniques: Reports from commissions and various committees played a crucial role in the administrative law development. In India, reports of Law and parliamentary committees on regulation are an important contribution.

The higher level of growth in administrative processes has led to increased governance requirements and, to a greater extent, to government conclusions in administration. The right tools and techniques that complement the existing judicial institutions are needed to meet the needs of expanding state power. The need for new tools and techniques paved the way for the creation of new institutions such as the Ombudsman, Lokayukta, LokPal, Central Vigilance Mechanism, and others.

Principles of Natural Justice:

The term natural justice includes procedural requirements for fairness. The principle of natural justice is neither regulated nor codified. These are the rules set by the judge. The equitable exercise of administrative powers is only possible if the powers are exercised in accordance with a fair trial. Courts have always asked administrative authorities to respect minimum fair trial rules, to exercise their powers and carry out their duties.

Ideally, two basic principles should be recognized, namely:

  • Anti-bias rules – no one can judge for their own cause
  • Fair Listening Rules – listen to the other party

State or government Responsibility:

The Indian Constitution allows the central and state governments to enter into contracts. Article 298 of the Constitution grants the executive powers of the central and state governments to conduct trade and business by making contracts as natural persons.

Article 299 regulates contractual obligations. As per the provisions in Indian Constitution, a contract with the central or state Government is only valid and binding if the following conditions are met:

  • Government contracts must be signed on behalf of the President or governor.
  • The contract must be made on behalf of the President or manager. This means that the contract is only valid if it is made in writing.
  • A person who is given full authority by the President or manager must enforce the contract.

However, neither the President nor the Governor, including anyone acting on their behalf, are not personally responsible for any contracts or guarantees made under this provision.

Article 300 regulates the prohibited liability of the state, which talks about lawsuits and legal processes. This relates to the legal status of the central or state Government, which is demanded by its employees in carrying out their duties on behalf of the center or the Government concerned and charged with illegal acts (civil misconduct).

Summing up:

  • Administrative Law initially expanded its various functions, such as
  • Identify who is the managing authority
  • Control over the illegal exercise of administrative power
  • Facilitating fair administration
  • Emphasizes providing accountability and transparency
  • Provides a means of protecting complaints arising from acts of administrative authorities

It should be noted that the most significant and phenomenal development of modernity was assisted by the development and effective functioning of administrative Law.


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June 2021