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It is also called subordinate, ancillary, delegated,


administrative, secondary or Quasi-legislation. In
modern times, it is not always possible for the
legislatures to make laws providing every detail. In view
of newer areas emerging, law-making today has become
not only time consuming but also an increasingly
complex and technical affair.
Legislature can lay down the policy and purpose of the
legislation and leave it to the executive, experts and
technocrats to provide for working details within the
framework of the enactment by way of rules, regulations,
bye-laws or other statutory instruments.

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Emergence of modern welfare State and the complexity of


law making are the primary causes for the delegated
legislation.
Subordinate legislation contains details necessary to
ensure that the Act will operate successfully.
Subordinateness in subordinate legislation has two
dimensions:

Executive

which is subordinate to the legislature and

nature of the legislation itself.


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In India, legislature meets for about 100 days in a year.


There is pressure on its time. Therefore, it legislates on
the broad principles and leaves marginal and minor
details- essentially operational- to the Executive
Legislation is increasingly becoming technical like
intellectual Property Law, biotechnology, genetically
modified organisms, tax laws etc. Parliament is not
expected to have knowledge over these matters

It can help in adaptability of the law for future conditions


without formal legislative amendments.

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Limitations on subordinate legislation are that it can not


impose any taxation; bar judicial review; can not grant
retrospective application; can not authorize expenditure
from the Consolidated Fund of India and public revenues.
Judicial control over delegated legislation is on the basis
of two grounds

Substantive ultravires
Procedural ultravires

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Substantive ultravires is where the delegating statute


itself is unconstitutional for example being violative of a
fundamental right.
Sometimes, the Parliamentary Act may be constitutional
but the subordinate legislation may be unconstitutional
as it has overstepped the jurisdiction granted to it by the
parent Act.

Where the executive authority does not comply with the


rules for example previous publication or laying the
rules made before parliament etc.

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While subordinate legislation is unavoidable, it is equally


important to see how it can be reconciled with the
democratic principles or parliamentary control.
Legislation is an inherent and inalienable right of
Parliament and it has to be seen that this power is not
usurped nor transgressed under the guise of what is
called subordinate legislation.

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Delegated legislation has a number of benefits


Firstly, it saves time of Parliamentary so that the august
body can focus more on the broader policy aspects.

Secondly, it enables technical matters to be addressed by


experts professionally: detail of a public Sector pension
scheme, precise design of traffic signs etc.

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The criticism is that delegated legislation erodes


parliamentary authority as it is law made by the
executive.
Also, it may potentially be used by the Government in
ways which Parliament has not intended when it
conferred the power. This is particularly the case where
an Act empowers Ministers to use delegated legislation to
amend mother laws.
Delegated legislation may also be abused to remove
controversial matters (for example, immigration rules)
from the purview of Parliament and putting them under
the control of the Government.

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