Subordinate Legislation

Subordinate Legislation 

MP/MLAs in Parliament / Legislative Assembly make the law only in a broad skeletal form. After that,  executive make Rules ie  minor technical details. This is known as Delegated Legislation / subordinate legislation.

April 2017 – Issue and Parliament’s Recommendation

  • Issue is – Government doesn’t frame rules and as a result laws passed by Parliament remains inoperational.  Eg:  Benami Transactions Act which was enacted in 1988  to confiscate Benami properties remains inactive even after  25 years
  • Parliament has recommended that government should make rules within six months of a law being passed. Process of rule-making should start in parallel with the drafting of the law.
  • Implementation of these recommendations will ensure that the government cannot bypass the will of Parliament

Advantages of Delegated Legislation

Delegated Legislation is universally recognized and is both desirable and legitimate.

1 . Lack of Time

  • Parliament and State Legislative assembly (SLA) are too busy with Legislative work .

2. Lack of Expertise

  • Modern legislation are very complex dealing with subjects like   IT security, money laundering, clinical research etc.
  • MP/MLAs cant be expected to have such a broad knowledge on all subjects .

3. More flexible

  • Rules / Delegated legislation can be rapidly changed to meet the urgent requirements.

Anti-Arguments of Subordinate Legislation

  • Administrators/ Bureaucrats who make rules are not responsible to public => does not take into account  interests of people. 
  • Goes against Separation of Power
  • Parliament does not have adequate facilities to scrutinize every piece and section of delegated legislation.  


1 . Parliamentary Safeguards

  • Committee on Subordinate legislation => Checks whether it is inline with parent legislation or not

2. Judicial Safeguards

Judiciary can declare a delegated legislative acts as “invalid” if

  • The provisions of subordinate legislation violates the Constitution
  • Subordinate legislation is moving in a different direction than the parent act

3. Public scrutiny

  • Public can also hold government responsible by keen scrutiny.

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