Administrative Law

Delegated Legislation in India: Overview, Need, Cases

In this article we will discuss What is Delegated legislation? , Why is Delegated legislation important in India, What are the cases related to Delegated legislation?

Overview: Delegated Legislation

Delegated legislation is the authority vested in a body other than the sovereign power to create laws and regulations. This process involves the delegation of duties from the primary legislative body to subordinate bodies within the government.

Importance: Essential for administrative procedures, it allows for the distribution of legislative duties, reduces the burden on the primary legislature, and brings specialized expertise into policy-making.

Legal Basis: Article 312 of the Indian Constitution grants the power to delegate legislative responsibilities.

Need for Delegated Legislation in India:

  • Burden on Legislature: The constitutional obligations to safeguard citizen rights and formulate policies place significant pressure on the legislature, which lacks the time and expertise for detailed policy formulation in every welfare aspect.
  • Executive Expertise: Delegated legislation involves the collaboration of the executive, utilizing their specialized knowledge to contribute to policy formulation.
  • Socio-Economic Development: Delegated legislation significantly contributes to the country’s socio-economic growth by shaping well-considered policies crucial for citizens’ well-being.

Legal Framework and Case Laws:

  1. Agriculture Marketing Committee Vs Shalimar Chemical Works Ltd: The Supreme Court highlighted reasons for delegating legislative powers, emphasizing the complexity of certain areas, the need for experimentation, and the Executive’s contribution to policymaking.
  2. St. John’s Teachers Training Institute Vs Regional Director, NCTE: The court reiterated the importance of delegated legislation, emphasizing its role in reducing legislative burdens, improving citizen well-being, and shaping constitutional law and administrative systems.
  3. Pre and Post-Constitutional Periods: Pre-constitutional cases like R Vs Burah and Jitender Nath Gupta Vs State of Bihar dealt with delegation confusion, whereas the post-constitutional period clarified conditions for delegation through the In Re Delhi Laws Act case.

Tests for Delegation: The three tests set in the In Re Delhi Laws Act case ensure the delegation remains within the legislative authority’s scope, doesn’t negate legislative powers, and avoids creating a parallel legislative body.

Judicial Opinions: Judges’ views varied on delegated legislation, with some advocating strict delegation control, others supporting wider delegation, and a middle-ground opinion emphasizing regulated delegation.


Controlled Delegation: While delegation is necessary, it must be regulated with checks and balances to prevent misuse or overextension of power.

Safeguards: Implementing strict regulations ensures a balanced administrative system and enhances the effectiveness of enacted statutes and laws.

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  • Jain, MP & Jain, SN. Principles of Administrative Law, Seventh Edition, 2017.
  • Salmond, Jurisprudence, 12th Edition.
  • Case Laws: D.S Grewal Vs State of Punjab, Agriculture Marketing Committee Vs Shalimar Chemical Works Ltd, St. John’s Teachers Training Institute Vs Regional Director, NCTE, R Vs Burah, Jitender Nath Gupta Vs State of Bihar, In Re Delhi Laws Act.

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