Delegated Legislation | Definition, Types, Merits and Demerits
Meaning of Delegated Legislation
A delegated legislation is a rule or regulation made by a person or body other than the legislature. A delegated legislation therefore has the force of a law. Like every other law, it has the full force of the law and can be enforced and adjudicated like a law made by parliament itself.
It is not possible for parliament to legislate in detail on all matters that are of interest to the people, and it becomes necessary for it to delegate some of its powers to ministers and public corporations that administer public utilities.
Another factor that fostered the growth of delegated legislation was the expansion of the scope and functions of the state at the turn of the 20th century. The state assumed power for some matters, which were previously handled by the private sector.
The state also introduced welfare programmes. The modern state, especially after the two world wars had to assume full responsibility for the provision of certain vital services and to undertake planning for the whole nation-state.
The expansion of the activities of the state means that the legislature can only legislate in broad terms and delegate the power to fill in the details to the bodies concerned. As such, delegated legislation developed out of necessity.
Historical Development of Delegated Legislation
The origin of delegated legislation is usually traced to the reforms carried out in Britain in the 1830s. As a result of the Industrial Revolution of the 17thcentury, several large industries were established which encouraged the migration of people to the manufacturing towns like Manchester and Birmingham.
New laws were therefore necessary to deal with factory conditions and the rapidly expanding cities. Parliament too was faced with the problem of authorizing the development of railways, water supplies, gas and electricity services. The legislature lacked the capacity to make all the needed laws.
But delegated legislation must be laid before parliament for 40 sitting days during which any member may raise a motion to annul it.