Delegated Legislation


    In News

    • Recently, the majority ruling of the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the delegated legislation in the Centre’s 2016 decision on demonetisation.

    Delegated Legislation

    • Parliament routinely delegates certain functions to authorities established by law since every aspect cannot be dealt with directly by the lawmakers themselves.
    • This delegation of powers is noted in statutes, which are commonly referred to as delegated legislation.
    • The delegated legislation would specify operational details, giving power to those executing the details. 
    • Regulations and by-laws under the legislation are classic examples of delegated legislation.
    • SC’s view: A 1973 Supreme Court ruling explains the concept as: 
      • “The practice of empowering the Executive to make subordinate legislation within a prescribed sphere has evolved out of practical necessity and pragmatic needs of a modern welfare State. 

     Delegation of power in the demonetisation case

    • Section 26(2) of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 essentially gives powers to the Centre to notify that a particular denomination of currency ceases to be legal tender.

    Issues of Excessive delegation power 

    • A 1959 landmark ruling in Hamdard Dawakhana v Union of India, the Supreme Court had struck down the delegation of powers on the grounds that it was vague. 

    What did the Court decide?

    • The majority verdict held that since the delegation of power is to the Centre which is anyway answerable to the Parliament, the delegation power cannot be struck down.
    • In case the Executive does not act reasonably while exercising its power of delegated legislation, it is responsible to Parliament who are elected representatives of the citizens for whom there exists a democratic method of bringing to book the elected representatives who act unreasonably in such matters.

    Source: IE