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  • 11 January, 2023

  • 7 Min Read

Delegated Legislation

Delegated Legislation

  • The Supreme Court recently confirmed the constitutionality of the delegated law in the Centre's 2016 demonetization decision by a majority ruling.

What exactly is Delegated Legislation?

  • Because the Parliament cannot deal with every area of the governance system on its own, certain functions are delegated to the bodies created by legislation. This delegation is documented in statutes, which are also known as delegated legislation.
  • This transfer of powers is documented in statutes, which are also known as delegated legislation.
  • The delegated legislation would clarify operational specifics, granting authority to those carrying them out.

The Supreme Court's Opinion on Delegated Legislation:

  • The Supreme Court ruled in Hamdard Dawakhana v Union of India (1959) that transfer of powers was unconstitutional since it was unclear.
  • It ruled that the Centre's ability to designate diseases and conditions under the Drug and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act of 1954 is 'uncanalised,' 'uncontrolled,' and exceeds the allowable limitations of lawful delegation. As a result, it was found unconstitutional.
  • In a 1973 decision, the Supreme Court stated that the concept of delegated legislation arose from the practical necessity and pragmatic needs of a modern welfare state.

Excessive delegation of power issues:

  • The Supreme Court threw down the delegation of powers in Hamdard Dawakhana v Union of India in 1959, holding that it was too broad.

What did the Court rule on?

  • The majority decision ruled that because the delegation of authority is to the Centre, which is already accountable to Parliament, the delegation power cannot be overturned.
  • If the Executive does not act reasonably when exercising its delegated legislative power, it is accountable to Parliament, which are elected representatives of the citizens, and there is a democratic procedure for holding elected representatives accountable who act unreasonably in such circumstances.
  • Delegated Legislation in the Demonetisation Case: Section 26(2) of the RBI Act of 1934 empowers the Central Government to notify the cessation of a specific denomination of money as legal tender.
  • The Central government was given the authority to change the character of legal tender by Parliament, which it did by publishing a gazette notification (legislative basis).
  • This transfer of power to the Centre was challenged on the grounds that Section 26(2) does not contain any policy guidelines on how the Centre may execute its powers, making it arbitrary (and unconstitutional).

Delegated Legislation Criticism:

  • It may result in a lack of accountability/transparency in the law-making process because laws enacted by executive agencies/administrative entities are not subject to the same level of public scrutiny and debate as laws enacted by legislative.
  • It may also result in a concentration of power in the executive and administrative departments of government, undermining the notion of separation of powers.
  • However, many types of delegated legislation, such as ordinances, require legislative approval.


  • It allows for greater adaptation and flexibility in the legislative process. The legislature can respond to changing conditions and developing concerns more swiftly and efficiently by delegating some authority.
  • Delegated authority having additional skills, experience, and knowledge (in domains such as technology, the environment, and so on) are better suitable for formulating a law.

Way Forward

  • By being educated about the laws and regulations proposed and implemented by executive agencies and administrative bodies, citizens can ensure accountability and transparency in delegated legislation.
  • They can also take part in public consultations and feedback sessions, as well as call the government to account through their elected representatives.

Source: The Hindu

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