Administrative Law Content
Reasons and Type of Control
Reasons for Control
Separation of Power. Representativeness. Constitutional supremacy. Rule of law. Not arbitrary or discriminatory.
Constitutional and Parliamentary Control
Other Control Mechanisms
Constitution of Nepal 2015, Article 133. Judicial review and extraordinary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court:
Any Nepali citizen may file a petition in the Supreme Court to have any law or any part thereof declared void on the ground of inconsistency with this Constitution, because it imposes an unreasonable restriction on the enjoyment of the fundamental rights conferred by this Constitution or on any other ground, and extra-ordinary power shall rest with the Supreme Court to declare that law void either ab initio or from the date of its decision if it appears that the law in question is inconsistent with the Constitution. . .
The principles on which the constitutionality of statutes is judged and that of subordinate legislation, are different.
Judicial review grounds:
(i) Enabling act is ultra vires the constitution
If the enabling Act is ultra vires the Constitution which prescribes the boundaries within which the legislature can act, the rules and regulations framed thereunder would also be void. The enabling Act may violate the implied or express limits of the Constitution.
Mithilesh Kumar Singh v. PM Girija Prasad Koirala et al (NKP 2056) (certain sections of Land Act 2021 declared ultra vires)
(ii) Administrative legislation is ultra vires the constitution
It may happen that the enabling Act may not be ultra vires the constitution, yet the rules and regulations framed thereunder may violate any provision of the constitution.
Padam Kumar Nepali v. Council of Ministers Secretariat (NKP 2052) (some rules of Police Rules 2049 ultra vires)
Ramchandra Gautam v. Ministry of Information and Communication NKP 2052 (certain bylaws of the Gorkhapatra Corporation Employees Service Bylaws ultra vires).
(iii) Administrative legislation is ultra vires the enabling Act
– It is in excess of power conferred by enabling Act
– It conflict with enabling Act
– It is in conflict w/ the prescribed procedure of the enabling Act
– It is in conflict with the terms of some other statute
E.g. Rule 3(4) of Nepal Citizenship Rules, 2049 which prescribes additional mandatory criteria than that was prescribed by the Citizenship Act 2020, has been held invalid on grounds of conflict with the parent Act and the constitution.
(iv) If delegated legislation is mala fide
Administrative rule-making can be challenged on the ground of bad faith or ulterior purpose.
Mala fide is generally not a ground against legislature or an administrative authority exercising rule making powers
In the US, challenge on the ground or bad faith can be sustained under the Due Process clause of the constitution.
(v) Though delegated legislation as such does not attract the principles of natural justice, but it applies in the case of conditional legislation where a person is deprived of his statutory rights.
(vi) Excessive delegation: Legislature cannot delegate its essential legislative functions, it must lay down policies and principles and may delegate power to fill in details and execute policy.
Court will examine: (a) scheme of statute including preamble, (b) facts, circumstances and background under which statute was enacted, (c) history of legislation, (d) complexities of problem which State has to face, (e) liberal construction to be given to statute, its policies and guidelines.
(vii) Unreasonable, arbitrary and discriminatory
(viii) Vagueness. E.g., does not mention the commencement date.
– Parliamentary control
Every delegate is subject to the authority and control of the principal. The exercise of delegated power can always be directed, corrected or canceled by the principal.
(i) Direct general control – through debates, questions, notices, resolutions and votes in the house
(ii) Direct special control – through ‘laying’ (presentation of) the delegated legislation before the parliament
(iii) Indirect control – parliamentary committee recommendations
-Other Control Mechanisms
To provide effective vigil over administrative rule-making, and guarantee effective people participation for better social communication, acceptance and effectivity of the rules.
Procedural control mechanism provides for specific audit of rules by those for whose consumption they are made.
The drafting of delegated legislation by an expert draftsmen who are, at the same time, in a position to advise whether the proposed rules and regulations are ultra vires is a valuable safeguard.
(ii) Antenatal publicity
Before rules are passed, the proposed/draft rules to be published in order to inform the public and take their feedback. Practice in democratic countries.
Nepal: no clear provision in law for antenatal publicity, no precedent in this regard by Nepal SC
US: Federal Administrative Procedure Act provides for the publication of proposed rules in the Federal Register.
England and India: no general provision by law, parent Act may make provisions.
(a) Consultation with affected persons
This control mechanism makes administrative rule-making a democratic process and increases its acceptability and effectivity.
(b) Consultation with experts
Nepal: Gov of Nepal or concerned authority authorized by the Act make laws, and they do not consult with relevant experts.
(iv) Postnatal publicity
– Ignorance of law is no excuse.
– It is mandatory to publish laws, including delegated legislation made by the executive by exercising powers delegated by the legislature.
Rules, orders, notices, etc. made under delegated legislation is mandatorily published in Nepal Gazette.
Sec. 5 of Evidence Act, 2031 provides that judicial notice shall be taken of such published rules, orders and notices.
England- Statutory Instruments Act- Rules shall not come into force unless published.
US- Federal Register Act- Unless rules are published in the Federal Register, it cannot be enforced against any person except the one who has actual notice of it.
India- No general law prescribing the mode of publication of rules. Publication is necessary in either the Official Gazette or any ‘recognizable’ or ‘customary’ manner.