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Delegated legislation

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HomeBrud.gifAdministrative LawBrud.gifDelegated legislation

In Administrative Law, Delegated legislation is law made by an executive authority under powers given to them by primary legislation in order to implement and administer the requirements of that primary legislation. It is law made by a person or body other than the legislature but with the legislature's authority.

Generally, delegation of legislation is necessary because the law can by an expert or a local body which has a better understanding, knowledge and expertise than the Legislature.

It is also known as 'secondary legislation' or 'subordinate legislation'.

It is now firmly established that Excessive delegation is unconstitutional.

Classification of Delegated legislation

Delegated legislation can be classified on the basis of the nature of the power conferred on administrative authorities.

  • Appointment Day Clause: Empowers executive authority to determine the day for the commencement of the Act
  • Skeleton Legislation: Legislature enacts the skeleton and administration has to provide the flesh through subordinate legislation
  • Power of inclusion and exclusion: Application of the Act can be expanded or restricted by making additions or deletions in the schedule through delegated legislation
  • Power of extension and application of existing laws: Some statute confers powers on the Government to adopt and apply laws existing in other states with incidental changes to a new State.
  • Power of suspension: Power delegated to the Government to suspend or to make exemption from all or any of the provisions of the Act
  • Power of modification: Power on the executive to modify the statute itself.
    • Delhi Laws Act case: Power of modification should not be used in such a manner so as to change the essential policy of the Act in question
  • Power to remove difficulties: Nicknamed "Henry VIII Clause", power to modify a statute may be conferred on the Government by a removal of difficulties clause. The King is regarded popularly as the impersonation of executive autocracy.
  • Power to prescribe punishment: In US, the penalty for violation of rules can be fixed by the legislature and not by the authority. However, in England, the power to impose penalty has been delegated in some statute.
  • Power to impose tax
  • Conditional Legislation

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