Legislative & Judicial control over administration: various methods and techniques of legislative & judicial control.

Public administration exercises a large volume of power to meet the citizens need in modern democratic welfare state. Today administration is not concerned with only pure administrative function but also involved with a large number of quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial functions. For this respect they have a number of chances to become arbitrary or master of the citizens. So it is very necessary to control them. The existing control systems are legislative, executive and judicial.

There are many ways in which administration can interfere with the liberty of people. Friedman cites three typical examples .

  • In the first place, the state interferes with the free and untrammelled conduct of individuals through a multitude of restrictive instruments.
  • Second types of interference consist of orders for the compulsory acquisition of land.
  • A third type of administrative interference is the fixing of minimum standards and inspections.

In India the assumption in the context of democracy, is that the civil servants work for the people. But the problem of locating accountability therefore becomes acute because of the nature of the job performed and power exercised by the civil servants. Today they are no longer confined to the job of implementing the policies and executing the laws framed by the legislature. Now they consciously make laws and even adjudicate laws. In fact the laws made by the legislature lay down only the broad objectives, and the task of providing the details of making rules, regulations and bye-laws for filling up the gaps left in the legislation, is given to the administrators in order to facilitate the process of executing the laws.

The system of judicial control or Judicial review of Administrative actions came into India from Britain.Article 32 of Constitution of India proves the right to move to Supreme Court of India for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights while Article 32(2) allows the Supreme court to issue directions, orders or writs for the enforcement of the rights.Judicial Review is not about the decision taken by the administrator but about the decision-making process.

In Article 14 of the Indian Constitution there is a mandate that the State shall not deny equality before law and equal protection of laws to any person within the territory of India.The higher judiciary  examine administrative acts as well as legislations and decide whether they are compatible with the fundamental rights guaranteed to all citizens under Part III of our Constitution. It is the Court’s role of protecting fundamental rights, which has lead to the evolution of some innovative remedies that have been created by harmoniously reading in long-established principles of administrative law.

In mediating the relationship between the state and its citizens, the Courts have given due weightage to principles such as proportionality, reasonableness and fairness. Furthermore, the principles of natural justice have also been recognised as dimensions of ‘personal liberty’ and thereby applied to a wide variety of administrative settings.

Indian judiciary has undertaken the judicial control by:-

  • Encouraging public interest litigation (PIL).
  •  Relaxating its juristic procedures through suo motto cognitions.
  • Building broad constructions of public law through liberal interpretations especially in the area of social justice and environment protection.
  • Forcing executive to compensate the victims of administrative arbitrariness through liberal provisions of victimology.
  • Widening the horizons of constitutional law through liberal democratic interpretations of the text to inspire popular faith in the rule of law system against administrative secrecy, privileges and discretion.

Legislative control over administration in India is carried out by following methods and techniques:-

  • Control of Administrative Policy:-Legislation is the most important function of legislature. By laying down rules through legislative enactments, the legislatures limit as well as influence the authority and policies of the government.
  • Control of Appropriations:The executive is at the mercy of legislature for all aspects of revenue and expenditure. No revenue can be levied nor can any expenditure incurred without the sanction of the legislature. Moreover, the budgetary discussion provides opportunity to the representatives of the people to criticize the government on aspects that are unwarranted.It is the most effective means of legislative control over executive.
  • Audit and Report:In India, the report of CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) of India helps exercising legislative control. CAG audits all government accounts to ensure that the money has been spent on items for which it was granted and does not exceed the sanctioned amount.
  • Parliamentary Questions:The proceeding of the Parliament start with one hour duration question answer session. Wherein the minister of respective department gives reply to query of members the effectiveness of this measure is highlighted by Mr. Atlee, who observes that “I always consider that question time in the house is one of the finest examples of real democracy.”
  • Zero hour discussion:Zero hour discussion is an extra regular method that is entirely an Indian innovation since 1962. It is invoked after question hour (with the consent of presiding officer) to incite opinions on matter of public importance which have not been listed in days business.
  • Calling Attention Motion:This device is used to bring the matters of urgent importance on the floor of the house.
  • Short Notice Discussion:Short notice discussion is discretion of the speaker in case of matters which does not satisfy a member’s question. It is resorted only with the consent of the government, not otherwise.
  •  Adjournment Motion:A device to raise discussion on any specific question of an urgent nature however, this device is usually not preferred by the speaker.
  • Debates and Discussion:Apart from the measures cited above, there are number instances that provide opportunity to members to discuss and debate on government policies.

i. inaugural speech of the President

ii. budget speech of the Finance Minister

iii. general discussion on the budget

iv. Full scale discussion of Government policies.

  • Parliamentary Committees:There are a number of committees that help exercise legislative control over executive. They are as follows:Public Accounts Committee (PAC) & Estimates Committee


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