6 thoughts on “150. Legislative Control of Public Administration 1

  1. 1.Ramsay Muir said,” Bureaucracy thrives under the cloak of ministerial responsibility”. The legislature controls the political executive i.e. ministers, who are directly responsible to the legislature and therefore indirectly to the people. The administration (government officials) are accountable only to their political masters and not the people. Therefore, they cannot be summoned by the parliament in case of an enquiry. At the same time they also forfeit their due credit of appreciation to the ministers.

  2. 2. Though delegated legislation assumes the form of “new despotism’ as enunciated by CJ Hewart of the US, the rules so made under the framework of the law should not be ultravires. SInce the law is always in accordance with the constitution and the rules are framed keeping in mind the law of the land, it is a rarity that such a rule may be instantiated. However, the court can strike down the rules if they are found not to be in accordance with the constitution.

  3. 2. This is in response to the question asked in box 3 under “legislature’s control is indirect”.

    Legislature’s control of the administration is indirect. Administrators are responsible to the ministers who in turn are responsible to the legislatures. Legislatures make decisions on the character of the work to be undertaken and hence employ people (committees) who control the administrators to ensure work is done efficiently.

    Legislature empowers the executive to make rules under the law-Delegated Legislation. A minister, official or autonomous bodies are given powers to make rules under the law. These rules bind on the citizens just like any other law. Legislatures today are overworked and hence delegate their authority to the officials. The outline of the law (major policy) is drafted by the law makers and authorities of the concerned departments are given the power to fill in the details (minor policy).

    Chief Justice of USA Hewart, describes delegated legislation as “New Despotism” meaning, evasion of the legislatures and courts and increasing quasi-legislature and quasi-judicial decision making by the civil servants.

    Legislature has the authority to either accept or reject the rules made by its subordinates. The copy of the rule is placed on the table of the house. Since parliament does not function for 365 days a year and legislatures are focused on major policy making, they usually accept the rules made by the authorities.
    (Please correct me if I am wrong on Delegated Legislation and New Despotism)

    1. The Parliamentary committees do not control the executive. The executive is simply accountable to them and indirectly to the legislature. A civil servant cannot be summoned in the parliament while it is the opposite in case of a parliamentary committee.

  4. 3. Question Hour

    Question hour is the first hour of every session of the Houses of the People devoted to questions asked by the members of the parliament on any administrative activity. The concerned Minister is obliged to answer to the question in writing or orally depending on the type of questions asked. This is one of the ways the parliament can hold the Executive accountable.

    There are two main types of questions-Starred and non-starred. Starred question are those which require an oral answer from the concerned Minister. In his absence his deputy or other Minister can answer. Supplementary questions can be asked upon completion of the answer. Non starred question expect a written reply. No supplementary question can be asked after the reply. However if a member seeks to ask a question urgently and cannot wait for the duration of the notice period, then the member can do so provided it is accepted by the speaker. Such questions are called supplementary question.

    Zero hour in the Parliament starts at 12.00 noon during which members raise matters of public interest and importance especially that cannot be delayed. Any issue of public interest without prior notice can be brought up.

    When there has been a loss 1.36 lakh crore to the exchequer due to coal allocation without auction, the loss incurred due to dysfunctioning of the parliament is meagre. The parliament was dysfunctional due to the protest of the opposition MPs who wanted to showcase the culprits and avoid such scams happening in the future. The dysfunction of the parliament cannot be justified as any matter must be sorted out in a peaceful manner without entering a protest stage. This would not only the save the exchequer from incurring loses but save itself from embarrassment.

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