Parliamentary control of delegated legislation

This article has been written by Harsimran Kaur, a 4th-year law student from New Law College, BVDU (Pune).


The legislature reflects the will of its people and acts as a custodian of the interests of its community. It exercises control over the administration to hold it accountable and responsible for its activities.

However, the system of legislative control over the government in a parliamentary form of government differs from such control in a presidential form of government.

Parliamentary control of delegated legislation is also called a control mechanism for administrative rule-making in India. It has three components:-

  1. Parliamentary Control or Legislative Control.

  2. Procedural Control or Administrative or Executive Control.

  3. Judicial Control

Parliamentary or Legislative Control

In India, “Parliamentary Control” is a constitutional function because the executive is responsible to the legislature at two stages of control i.e Initial stage and Indirect stage.

  • Initial stage: In this stage, it is to decide about how much power is required to be delegated for completing a particular task. It is also observed if the delegation of power is valid or not.

  • Direct control (General): Direct but general control over the delegated legislation is exercised. The debate on the Act which contains delegation, through questions and notices, or through a vote on grants. It is also exercised via moving resolutions & notices in the Houses, or when a private member’s bill is seeking modification in the parent Act or through a debate.

  • Direct Special Control: Direct Special Control is exercised through a technique of “Laying” on the table of the House; on the rules and regulations framed by the administrative authority.

Forms of Laying

Laying with no further direction

Rules & regulations come into effect as soon as they are laid.

It is simply to inform the house about the rules & regulations.

Laying subject to negative resolution

Rules & regulations come into effect as soon as they are placed on the table of the House but shall cease to have effect if annulled by a resolution of the House.

Laying subject to affirmative resolution

This technique may take two forms:

  1. Rules shall have no effect or force unless approved by the resolution of each house.

  2. Rules shall cease to have effect unless approved by affirmative resolutions.

Procedural control or Administrative or Executive control

A procedural control is meant to be done under instructions. That is, under Parent Act certain guidelines are given which need to be followed to determine whether it is mandatory or directory to follow it or not. It includes three components:

  1. Advance publication and consultation with expert authority.

  2. Publication of delegated legislation.

  3. Laying of rules.

It determines if it’s either Mandatory or Directory, certain specified parameters are given:

  1. Scheme of the Act.

  2. Intention of Legislature.