January 18, 2022

Administrative Actions: Meaning, Nature, Scope and Significance

administrative law

Meaning of Administrative Actions

Administrative actions are those actions which are carried out in the administrative law and an administrative law deals with the powers and functions of the administrative authorities. An administrative actions are those legal action which are related to the public administrative body. These actions protect the public and maintain law and order in the society. It is an action which is not a legislative and not a judicial action. While exercising administrative powers, principles of natural justice must always follow but depending on the situation of each case. These action forces an authority to do or not to do a thing.

Administrative action can be

(1) quasi-legislative( rule making action ) because when the administrative body exercises the power of law making which has been delegated to it, it is called as rule making action- quasi-legislative action For example – Civil Servant Efficiency rules 1973, Conduct Rules etc.

(2) quasi-judicial (rule decision action) because when an act which is administrative in nature has been performed by using the administrative decision making power but that work involves the judicial characteristics For example – Disciplinary actions against the students or Disciplinary proceedings against an employee for misconduct etc. 

(3)  Fully administrative action (rule application action) because this involves the application of a rule which has been made by legislative to a case. For example – Transfer of a Civil Servant, Appointment of inquiry officer.

Nature, Scope and Significance of Administrative actions

It is not compulsory that the executive authorities that are performing its function is fully administrative, quasi-judicial, quasi-legislative in nature. A lots of activities fall within the area of administrative actions. The action which is neither a legislative nor a judicial in nature is the administrative action. Administrative action can be statutory which is having the force of law or non statutory. If these actions are against the principles of natural justice or violating the rights of the citizens then the courts can remove such actions.

Our judiciary is already being overburdened by lots of cases which are pending in the courts. So it is not possible for the judiciary to solve the problems of administration side by side. So that’s why quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative bodies are given power to reduce the existing load on the judiciary. At the time of emergencies like war administrative action is the best possible remedy because executive has the powers to deal with the the situation.

Administrative authorities have some powers which they use efficiently for the citizen’s good and these powers are used efficeintly by way of various administrative actions. Administrative actions should comply with the basic principles of fairness because if it goes against that then such an action is amenable to judicial review. Administrative actions can be challenged in court of law by any natural person or a body corporate and these actions are controlled by the courts by issuing writs because the Supreme court has the power under article 32 of the Constitution of India to issue writs.

Case Laws

Name of the case – Sat Pal Singh V. Union of India and Ors.

The petitioner was designated as Lance Naik in the Border Security Force, he was even promoted to the rank of Head Constable later. The petitioner along with the other participants in sports was allowed special leave. He proceeded to his home station in Bam Loni, District Rohtak on 6.9.2005 and was to report back for his duty on 17.10.1995. The petitioner fell sick between 30.09.1995 to 6.12.1995. On 7.12.1995, the petitioner, with an intention to join his duties, took lift in a civil truck, but the said truck met with an accident and the petitioner was shifted to the Government Hospital Amrit Kaur Byawar and was admitted there. During this period he could not report to his Unit and was really shocked on receiving an order of removal from service dated 14.3.1996 passed by the Commandant 44 Bn BSF.

Aggrieved from the said order of removal, the petitioner preferred an appeal praying for reinstatement, however, the said appeal was also dismissed by order dated 29.12.1997 stating that there was no merit in the contentions raised in the appeal. Having failed to get any relief at the hands of the respondents, the petitioner has questioned the correctness of the above order before this Court in the present writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.  According to the petitioner, the respondents have not exercised the powers vested in them in accordance with the procedure prescribed under BSF Rule 22 read with Section 11(4) of the Border Security Force Act. The petitioner prays for quashing of the said order and his reinstatement in the service.

Held:  In the present case, the authorities have selected to take administrative action as postulated under Rule 22 of the Rules and required the petitioner to be dismissed from service. The administrative action in terms of Rule 22 is an exception to the regular trial by the Security Force Court and proper application of mind and recording of the requisite satisfaction would be a condition precedent to invoke such provisions. The casual manner in which the respondents have dealt with the case of the petitioner can hardly fall within the category of administrative action supported by proper reasons

and proper application of mind. In fact, it fails to satisfy the basic ingredients which form the very foundation of such an administrative action.  we grant freedom to the respondents to start the Departmental proceedings, if they so desire, by serving a fresh show cause notice upon the petitioner and after giving him opportunity, pass such appropriate orders as they deem fit and proper and as is permissible in law within a period of three months from the date of passing of this order. We allow the writ petition filed by the petitioner.

Name of the case – A.k Kraipak v. Union of  India

In this case, there was an advertisement for a government post which was posted by the government for the post of chief conservative of forest. Many candidates here in applied including the acting chief conservative forest. When the interview was finally conducted the judgement panel who are conducting the interview also included the acting chief conservative officer. There was another candidate A.K Kraipak, he later on filed a case saying that the justice is not being done because the acting chief conservative officer was also present in the panel therefore it created a sort of biasness against the other candidates and the selections are violative of Article 14 and 16 of the constitution of India and the selections in question are dissipated by the contravention of the principles of natural justice. The chief conservative officer contended that he was not in the panel when his interview was being conducted. The Hon’ble court found the power exercised by the selection board as an administrative one and tested the validity of the selections on that basis.

Held – That the selections made by the selection committee were in violation of principles of natural justice. Assistant Conservators have been selected for the senior scale service. At the same time some of the officers who had put in more than eight years of service had been selected for the junior scale service. Hence it is not possible to separate the two sets of officers. For the reasons mentioned above these petitions are allowed and the impugned selections set aside. The Union Government and the State Government shall pay the costs of the petitioners.

Name of the case – Karnataka Public Service vs B.M. Vijaya Shankar And Ors.

The karnataka Public Service Commission conducted competitive examinations for the state civil services and general instructions were given to the candidates that the roll number should be written only on the front page of the answer sheet in the space given for it and not anywhere else inside the answer sheet. It was also cleared that the candidates must abide by the instructions and violation of the instructions will make them liable to expulsion from examination or such other punishment as the commission may deem fit. But one candidate violated the instructions by enter his roll number on every page of the answer sheet and then the commission cancelled his paper. The candidate challenged the action of the commission before the karnataka administrative tribunal which directed the commission to get his answer sheet evaluated by holding that no penalty was provided for breach of the instructions and the failure to afford any opportunity to the candidate to explain his bonafide and innocence was arbitrary. Against the decision of the tribunal the commission and the state filed this appeal in this court.

Held – In the result these appeal succeed and are allowed. The order passed by the tribunal is set aside. The claim petition filed by the candidates shall stand dismissed because the court said that this is purely an administrative action.

Name of the case –  In Star Enterprises v. City and Industrial Development Corpn. of Maharashtra Ltd.

A three-Judge Bench of this Court held that in the present day set-up judicial review of administrative action has become board and is becoming wider day by day and the State has to justify its action in different fields of public law. All these necessitate recording of reason for executive actions including the rejection of the highest offer. This Court held that disclosure of reasons in matters of such rejection provides a chance for an objective review both by superior administrative heads and for judicial process and propound that such reasons should be communicated unless there are definite justifications for not doing so.

Name of the case – Ratnakar Vishwanath Joshi vs Life Insurance Corporation 

In order to support its employees to qualify themselves as Actuaries, the Corporation permitted a scheme in the form of administrative instructions. The scheme was issued by the Chairman of the Corporation. The petitioners were among those Class I Officers of the Corporation who got benefit by this scheme. The petitioners pray that the scheme of 31-7-1971 cannot be taken back except in accordance with law and the action of the Chairman taking back the scheme on 6-3-1972 be quashed.

It is compulsory for the petitioners to show that their claim to the benefit of the scheme of 31-7-1971 is based on a right which arises not merely out of contract but from law. The administrative action or administrative instructions which may be taken or issued by the Corporation as regards to its employees stand on a footing very different from the administrative action and administrative instructions taken or issued by the Government in dealing with Government servants. The latter are governed by status but the former are still in the area of contract.

Held – The scheme falls in the last category, namely, administrative instructions which are not laws and which are directions having the force of law. The Corporation could issue such administrative instructions with the authority of law that the petitioners do not have a legal right which is enforceable under Article 226 of the Constitution either for a declaration that the scheme of July 31, 1971 cannot be withdrawn except in accordance with law or for an order that the action of the Chairman withdrawing the scheme on March 6, 1972 be quashed.

For, the said scheme was neither law nor did it have the force of law. It consisted only of administrative instructions which offered some benefit to certain employees of the Corporation as a grace and not as a right. The withdrawal of the scheme was a matter relating to the internal administration of the Corporation which, even if contrary to regulations, cannot be challenged by way of a writ petition inasmuch as the scheme itself was not capable of being made the subject-matter of the writ petition. The withdrawal of the scheme could not, therefore, stand on a footing higher than the scheme itself. The writ petition is, therefore, dismissed but in the circumstances without any order as to costs.

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Author Details: Nikhil Jain (Delhi Metropolitan Education, GGSIPU)

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