Administrative Law: What is it and its Scope?

Administrative Law: What is it and its Scope?
Administrative Law: What is it and its Scope?


The goal of every Indian parent is to mold their child into an IAS or IPS official. The abilities and duties of these authorities are only dimly known, though. The distinction between constitutional law and administrative law will be covered in this article. How the two are connected, and what are the potential applications of choosing Administrative Law as an optional subject on the UPSC test.


What is Administrative Law?

The legislation that controls administrative actions is known as administrative law. Ivor Jennings claims that the law about administration is known as administrative law. It establishes the structure, authority, and responsibilities of administrative authorities. It covers the legal obligations of public authorities, the authority of regular courts to oversee administrative authorities, the rule-making authority of administrative bodies, and the quasi-judicial function of administrative agencies. It controls the executive branch and makes sure that it deals fairly with the people.

A subset of public law is administrative law. It discusses how people interact with the government. It establishes the administrative and quasi-judicial agencies’ organizational framework and power structure to implement the law. It establishes a control system through which administrative agencies maintain their boundaries and is primarily concerned with official acts and processes.


Reasons why it was developed

  1. Concept of a welfare state – Government activities expanded as the States transitioned from being laissez-faire to a welfare state, necessitating more regulation of those activities. Consequently, this area of law evolved.
  2. Inadequacy of Legislature – The daily, ever-changing requirements of society cannot be addressed by the legislature in its limited time. Even if it does, the drawn-out and laborious legislative process would make the regulation useless since the needs would have changed by the time it was put into effect.
  3. The inefficiency of the Judiciary – The court process for making decisions is extremely slow, expensive, complicated, and formal. Furthermore, it is impossible to quickly dispose of suites due to the overwhelming number of cases that are already scheduled. There was a demand for tribunals as a result.
  4. Scope of Experiment – Administrative law can be modified to meet the needs of the State apparatus because it is not a codified law. It is hence more adaptable. The strict legislative processes do not need to be followed again.


Indian Administrative Law 

In India, it makes an effort to restrict administrative acts by limiting delegated legislation and judicially reviewing administrative discretionary decisions. It also outlines the composition and structure of tribunals.

  1. Delegated Legislation – Legislation created by an organ other than the legislature that has had the duties of the legislature delegated to it is known as delegated legislation. The executives and administrators are given this ability to address the day-to-day practical problems they encounter. Although the practice of delegated legislation is not unfavorable, there is little chance of power abuse, hence protections are required.

  2. Judicial Review – Judicial review of administrative action becomes a crucial component of administrative law. An administrative authority must possess the freedom to make decisions at the moment. The choices made while using these discretionary powers must be sound, though. The ‘Rule of Law’s answer to the problem of discretion is reasonableness. It brings ideals of openness, uniformity, and predictability associated with the “rule of law” closer to discretionary authorities. Administrative activity and discretion are monitored and regulated through the judicial review procedure.
    The validity of the administrative action is ensured by judicial review, which also helps to maintain the administrative authority within reasonable limits. The Court questions whether the administrative body followed the law when acting. However, the courts are unable to and do not replace the administrative authority’s judgment with their own.
    Courts will therefore consider whether there was a failure to exercise judgment, whether there was an abuse of discretion if there was any illegality, and/or whether there was any procedural irregularity, in a case challenging administrative acts.
  3. Tribunals – Tribunals are established to settle complaints and handle conflicts more quickly. In a tribunal, cases are decided by a Bench made up of members who are both judicial and non-judicial. But tribunals don’t take the place of courts. Numerous tribunals in India were established using Central Acts.


Scope of Administrative Law 

It is currently the most notable phenomenon in the welfare state and is expanding in relevance and attention. For the individuals in charge of carrying out administration as well as for law students, knowledge of administrative law is crucial.

  1. Unlike the IPC or the law of contracts, administrative law is not codified. The foundation is the constitution.
  2. It is essentially a judge-made legislation and a subset of public law that addresses the constitution and the delegation of authority.
  3. It is concerned with the structure and authority of administrative and quasi-administrative authorities.
  4. The official action and the process by which it is obtained are the main topics of administrative law. Examples include creating rules, implementing rules, monitoring actions, and simple administration.
  5. It has a judicial review control structure that ensures the effectiveness and confinement of administrative powers.
  6. Administrative law derives its authority from statute and constitutional law.
  7. Administrative law fosters transparency, openness, and honest government that is more populist and related to both individual rights and public interests.
  8. The study of administrative law is a tool, not a goal in itself.
  9. Everywhere and whenever a person is the victim of the arbitrary use of governmental authority, administrative law begins and develops. Administrative law is a subfield of the sociology of law rather than the philosophy of law.
  10. It is the body of legislation that controls how the government’s administrative authorities operate. Rule-making, rule adjudication, the enforcement of certain regulations, and the associated agenda are all examples of government agency activity.



Administrative law is the body of legislation that controls how the Executive functions and guards against any abuse of authority on the part of the Executive or any of its agents. It is a relatively young area of law that will keep developing by the shifting demands of society. The goal of administrative law is to bring the Executive’s discretionary powers into compliance with the “Rule of law,” not to eliminate them.

Written by Ananya Das

Hi I’m Ananya, currently training to become a lawyer. I am a big reader with a love for writing poetry or any sort of creative writing for that matter. I’m also passionate about photography which usually means that I’m the one behind the camera! Quite basically anything related to art, film, music and literature would pique my interest.

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