Delegated legislation

Delegated legislation

As mentioned above, delegated legislation is a kind of subordinate legislation.  Generally, the delegated legislation means the law made by the executive under the powers delegated to it by the supreme legislative authority.

One of the significant developments of the present century is the growth in the legislative powers of the executive.  This is due to two reasons: change in the concept of state from police state to welfare state, and due to frequent emergencies declared in countries throughout the world.

As we know the legislature, represented by the will of the people, is the appropriate body to legislate and to make laws.  In the Parliamentary system of government like UK and India, however, the executive plays an important role in initiating legislation.  With the growth in the functions of the State and consequent growth in the number of enactments each year by the legislature, the executive has come to play a much more dominant role. Legislation, therefore, includes law-making by the legislature or subordinate legislation by the executive.

Subordinate legislation or delegated legislation with which we are concerned here must not be confused with the executive legislation.  For instance under Art.123 or 213 of the Constitution the Parliament or the Governor can issue Ordinances which have the force of law. An Ordinance can be issued only when Parliament or the State legislature is not in session.  The nature of such legislation is very similar to subordinate legislation. However, since the Ordinance making power is derived directly from a constitutional provision, it is a kind of original legislation.

Definition and meaning of Delegated Legislation

According to Salmond, delegated legislation is that which proceeds from any authority other than the sovereign power and is therefore dependent for its continued existence and validity on some superior or supreme authority.

Such authority may be the central government or the state government depending upon whether the statute is a central or state law.  The term delegated legislation is used in two senses.  It may mean (i) exercise by a subordinate agency the legislative power delegated to it by the legislature, (ii) the subsidiary rules themselves, which are made by the subordinate authorities.