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Comparative Constitutional Law And Administrative Law

As said by Justice PN Bhagwati, "Government alone will never be able to do it. It is only the people themselves who must utilize law for the purpose of bringing justice at the doorstep of the large masses of the people of the country." The backbone of any improvement of governance, its development and protection from any form of wastage, is a technique to place laws under microscope of revision and to modernize it until it resonates in a tune with development and administrative technologies. The Constitutional law and Administrative law are connected with the functions of the government and are part of the public law in the modern state.

For relationship between Constitutional law and administrative law, it can be stated that- "It is logically impossible to distinguish administrative from constitutional law and all attempts to do so are artificial.[1]The constitutional law describes the various organs of government at rest, while administrative law describes them in motion."

Constitutional law and the Administrative law both are related with each other. The relationship between both of them is very complicated to understand as the Constitution is the core law, which gives very life and blood to the administrative law. Constitution law gives birth to the administrative law.

The court in Suk Das v. Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh (1986) held that in the relationship between Constitutional Law and Administrative Law, there lies a rational nexus between both the laws as Administrative Law functions to preserve the sanctity of principles, duties, rights, obligations etc. laid down by Constitutional Law. But thereafter, there is pressing need to draw distinction between the both laws to cater the idea of jurisdiction

But in the present era, administrative branch is recognized as different as that of the constitutional ones, but some parts of the administrative law overlap the constitutional law.


Constitutional Law:

It is the body of law which defines the powers, rules and regulations and structure of the different entities namely the Legislature, Executive, and the Judiciary as well as the basic rights of the citizens and in the federal countries like Canada, USA and even India it consists of the relationship between the central government and the State Government (Not an executive definition though).

According to Holland, the constitutional law describes the various organs of the government at rest while administrative law describes them in motion. Therefore according to this view, the structure of the legislative and executive comes within the preview of the constitutional law but their functioning comes within the sphere of administrative law.

It is of the utmost importance that all the activities are to be performed in accordance with the rules and regulations established in the Constitution as the Constitution is the supreme body, all other agencies derive its authorities from Constitution

Administrative Law:

Administrative law deals regarding the administration of the agencies of the government such as police areas, environment etc.

It is the body of law that governs the activities of administrative agencies of government. Government agency action can include rule making, adjudication, or the enforcement of a specific regulatory agenda.

According to Mait Land, constitutional law deals with structure and the broader rules which regulate the function while administrative law deals with the details of those functions. The dividing line between the constitutional law and administrative law is a matter of convenience because every researcher of administrative law has to study some constitutional law.

Doctrine Of Watershed

This doctrine defines the relationship between the Constitution and the administrative law as defined by the dicey and Holland. This doctrine establishes a proper demarcation between both these laws.

With regard to this doctrine when one draws two circles marking one as Constitutional law and other as the administrative law, they may overlap at some areas and these overlapping areas are known as watersheds.

Administrative law traces back its relation to the time of independence the history of the Administrative law can be traced back to the time of the Mauryas and Guptas whose administration was based on the rule of dharma, as the rule of dharma was the basis of the administration the same is accepted and followed by all.

For the better understanding of the working, functions etc. of the administration law it is important to understand the source its source of origin.

Different Countries had different source of origin of the Administrative law like in America it is originated from the statutes, common laws etc whereas in England the source is common laws, significant cases etc.

But in India, Constitutional law is the mother of the administrative law. It is the origin and soul of the administrative lawwhich is ordinary law of the Land.

So, without a constitution, administrative law cannot perform its functions and work properly because it totally depends on the soul of our country's constitutional law.

It is well recognized that the administrative law came into existence after fulfilling the needs, demands and aspirations of the people. Both the Constitutional and Administrative law are separate from each other, but in some parts, it still overlaps but cannot be completely separated from each other because it is considered that the origin of Administrative law takes place from Constitutional law.

But there is a need for this law as a separate legal discipline to control the arbitrary action of administration and to protect the rights of both an individual and the public at large. Its essence is found in every branch of law that we cannot be ignored in any way.

The Genus Spieces Relationship

According to Prof. Sathe "Administrative law is a part of Constitutional Law that id why all the concerns of Administrative law are also the concerns of constitutional law"

Under this relationship Constitutional law is the genus and the Administrative law is the species. In other words, Constitutional law is of wider jurisdiction than the administrative law which in its jurisdiction includes the Administrative law. In more simple words Administrative law is the law which determines the administration of the countries in other words, this law determines the powers, functions etc of the authorities with regard to the matter such as public health, housing etc.

In Bank Nationalization Case, Supreme Court held that:
"If the ordinance is constructed on collateral grounds then it can be challenged before the Apex Court". Further in S.R. Bommai v. Union of India, the court clarified that "proclamation of emergency under Article 356 on ground of failure of constitutional machinery is subjected to judicial review". So, it can be said that the Constitutional law embodies the Administrative law.

Relationship Between The Constitutional Law And The Administrative Law

India exists in the mode of Constitutional mechanisms for governing the administrative authorities and keeping them in check under the various articles of Indian Constitution 32,136,226,227,300 and 311. The relation between the Constitutional and Administrative law is indisputable, both are a part of public law, it is logically impossible to distinguish between both these laws. But many efforts have been made by the renowned jurists, scholars etc.

Some Definitions are as follows:
Ivor Jennings, says that:
Administrative law deals with the organization, functions, powers, and duties of administrative authorities while general principles dealing with organization, powers of various organs and their mutual relationship is dealt with by constitutional law.

Another view which can be taken into the consideration is of the Holland, according to Holland, "Constitution law describes various organs of the Government and the Administrative law describes them in motion". The executive and the legislature structure come in the purview of the Constitutional law and their working is governed by other".

Mait land was not the supporter of the view of Holland, He Said:
Constitutional Law deals with the structure and regulates the function and Administrative Law deals with the details of the function.

Administrative law regulates institutions whose powers are delegated that are 'administrative institutions'. Constitutional law regulates those that do the delegating, i.e. institutions whose powers are not delegated but are, as it is sometimes put, inherent or original that is 'constitutional institutions'.

It can be said that the Indian has written Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. Administrative law is the subordinate to the Constitution. There is an additional ground on which administrative action can be challenged in special cases where legislative act if comes under purview of administrative order made in itself is unconstitutional as held in State of Mysore v. H. Srinivasmurthy.[15]

The court also in Ram Narayan Singh v State of Delhi[16] held that, when the orders are made in cases of quasi-judicial questions it can be challenged to be unconstitutional and legislative provision to be against constitution.

Administrative law is recognized as separate independent though they both may overlap and are part of pubic law which shows that the Constitutional law is the mother of the administrative law.

It is a necessity of time to draw a line of between these two laws in order to define the territory of the functioning of the jurisdiction of both the laws as with the passage of time and the changing needs the separate development of the Administrative law is important for the protection of public rights and duties

Case Laws
A.R. Antulay v. R.S. Nayak [1]
It was held that any aspect of administrative law does not differentiate between both the laws. the aspects are so broad to include various substantive aspects like public health, education etc. since, the Constitutional Law reflects such ideas for public welfare at large and hence, administrative law deals with them to further help in implementation. Constitutional Law has power to monitor the three branches of the government and set a benchmark to the extent in which policies, rules and regulations can be formulated as substantiated in Sunil Batra II v. Delhi Administration[2].

State of Bombay v Bombay Education Society
It was held that Executive action established in India is protected through various ways. Considering example of subordinate legislation which is considered within the meaning of Article 13 which includes bye-laws regulations etc. but if it is ultra vires of Constitution then it can be struck down as held in Chandrakant Krishnarao Pradhan v Jasjit Singh.

Rashid Ahmed v Municipal Board, Kairana
It was held that any administrative action with no statutory basis can be held void and therefore, court has power to declare it void if any administrative policy or action violates Constitution.

  1. A.R. Antulay v. R.S. Nayak, (1988) 2 SCC 602
  2. Sunil Batra (II) v. Delhi Admn., (1980) 3 SCC 488.

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