Relation between constitutional law and administrative law

Relation between Constitutional Law and Administrative Law

Introduction

In the modern era, It is considered that administrative law is a separate branch of legal studies from constitutional law but the disciplines of the constitutional administrative law may overlap with each other at a particular place. It can include the whole control mechanism that is provided in the constitution for control of administrative authorities which is under various articles of the Indian Constitution like Article 32, 136, 267, 227, and 311. It somewhere also include inter-state council; Article 263 talks about finance commission, Article 280 talk about interstate water dispute authorities and Article 262 talks about public service commission. It also includes the limitation which is imposed by constitutional laws on delegations of powers to the administrative authorities. So It indicates under administrative law that administrative law is not independent of the constitutional laws. But it is interrelated somewhere to each other. The difference between the two itself indicates that both are supplementary and complementary to each other. It is not possible to distinguish administrative law from constitutional law. The constitutional law shows that the various organs of government in the rest while on the other hand administrative law describes them in motion.

So, It will not be wrong to say that the structure of both legislature and executives is the subject matter of constitutional law but on the other hand, its functions are the subject matter of administrative law. Both constitutional law and administrative law are closely connected and as a result, it creates the platform for which the government is responsive and accountable for its actions. Constitutional law is a core law that gives life to law and also gives blood to the administrative law. Anything which is found derogatory to the words and spirit of the constitutional law in ultra vires and void ab initio. So we can say that if we want to comprehend constitutional law and administrative law then we must have a strong understanding of that.

Relation between administrative and constitutional Law

There is a deep relationship between both administrative and constitutional law. We can say that both are parallel to each other, this means in the absence of any law out of two then it is not possible to stand another law on his feet. They are interdependent. Because we can say that Administrative law deals with the organizations, powers, functions, and duties of administrative authorities while constitutional law deals with the basic principles which are relating to the organization and powers of various organs of the state and the relationship between these organs with the individuals. We can say that the relationship between administrative law and constitutional law is not very watertight because sometimes we can see that administrative law invades into the area of constitutional law.  But it is very necessary for jurists, scholars, and law students to develop a clear understanding of the relationships between both. It is true that both constitutional law and administrative law are parts of the public law which indicates that the constitutional law is the mother of administrative law and as a result, it cannot be possible to separate from each other.

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In constitutional law, arbitrary action is limited up to their norms and principles of administrative law of fairness that are reasonable. Administrative law deals with those organizations, powers, functions, which indicate the duties of administrative authorities while on the other hand constitutional law deals with the general principles that are relating to the organization and powers of various organs of the state and also the relationship of these organs with the individuals. It is true that Constitutional law and administrative law are both important legislation that helps to govern the various affairs of any State. To early English jurists, there was virtually no difference between the two.[1]  Various authors, scholars try to give their views on the relationship between administrative law and constitutional law based on their thoughts and understanding. We will take some examples, these are given as below:-

According to Keith, it is not logically possible to distinguish between administrative and constitutional law and all attempts to do so are seems to be artificial. Some jurists like Felix Frankfurter went a step ahead to call this exercise but they found its result as illegitimate and exotic.

According to Holland, constitutional law describes the various organs of the government and on the other hand, administrative law describes it in motion. And as a result, the executive and legislative structure come under the purview of constitutional law while their working is indicated as it governed by administrative law. [2]

We can take another view that is propounded by Ivor Jennings, who says that administrative law deals with the organization, functions, powers, and duties of administrative authoritative but the general principles dealing with organization, powers of various organs, and their mutual relationship is dealt with constitutional law. Locke said that an individual can do anything but it should not be forbidden by law.

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Despite the various definitions that were given by various jurists, we can say that there exists a grey area between the two laws. This show that in India this exists in the mode of constitutional mechanism for governing the administrative authorities and keeping them in check under the various article of Indian Constitution 32, 136, 226, 227, 300 and 311. The study of administrative agencies that is commissioned by the Constitution and constitutional regulations for the proper delegation of legislative powers and restriction of administrative actions.[3] Today administrative law is considered a separate and independent branch of law. It will not be wrong to say that when we draw two circles at a place then some area of both circles will be common and this common area is known as the watershed in administrative law.

The Genus-Species Relationship

There is a genus-species relationship that tells us that the Administrative law has been defined as the law which is relating to the administration which helps us to determines the organization, powers, and duties of administrative authorities separately. This definition of the laws does not make any distinction from administrative law to constitutional law. Along with this, this definition is much wide because it shows that the law which determines the powers of administrative authorities in dealing with the substantive aspects of these powers. It also deals with such matters as public health, housing and country planning, etc. which are not included under the scope of administrative law. Administrative law, however, deals with these matters like as the Constitution has embodied these laws for the welfare of the State.  According to Prof. Sathe  “Administrative law is a part of constitutional law that is why all the concerns of administrative law are also the concerns of constitutional law.”

It can therefore be inferred that constitutional law has a wide sphere of jurisdiction, with administrative law occupying a substantive part. In other words, constitutional law can be termed as the genus of which a substantive portion of administrative law is the species.

The doctrine of watersheds in administrative Law

This doctrine of the watershed is very necessary because it gives a base to establish a proper demonstration of the particular boundaries for the proper functioning of both laws. It defines the relationship between both the law that were defined by various authors like Locke, Holland, and many more. The definitions of these authors clearly indicate that these laws are interconnected with each other.

Expansion

It is considered that Administrative law came into existence for fulfilling the needs and the demands of both the people and the state. So, as a result, both Constitutional law and Administrative law are separated from each other but they both depend on each other. But even we can see that they still overlap at certain places 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.

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Conclusion

After seeing the entire concept of the relation between Administrative law and Constitutional Law, I would like to conclude that Even both administrative law and constitutional law are separate from each other but they both depend on each other. The doctrine of the watershed in administrative law indicates that administrative law and constitutional law are dependent as well as interconnected with each other. The watershed act as a bridge for both law. It is not possible to work alone out of them both. It will not be wrong to say that constitutional law is the mother of administrative law which give a type of way to administrative law to act according to the rules and regulation which are made for the people and the state. Because Administrative law deals with the organizations, powers, functions, and various duties of administrative authorities but constitutional law deals with the general principles relating to the organization and powers of various organs of the state and this also shows the relationship of these organs with the people. The constitution describes the various organs of the government at rest, while administrative law describes them in motion. In other words, we can say that constitutional law deals with the rights and various principles while administrative law focuses on the needs of people. Different sources of this law show that constitutional law is the main while Administrative law is nothing without the constitution because its origin is deeply rooted in the womb of the constitution law.

[1]  Felix Frankfurter, The task of administrative Law, 75 U. PA. L. REV. 614, 616 ( 1927 )

[2] Williams David, Law and Administrative Discreation, 2 Ind.  J. Global Legal Stud. 191, p. 192 ( 1994 )

[3]  Sathe, S.P., Administrative Law ( 7th Edn., 2004 ), p.7.

Author: AMIT SHEORAN,
Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur

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