Administrative law is the body of law that governs the activities of administrative agencies of the government which comprise of rule making or legislation(when delegated to them by the Legislature as and when the need be),adjudication(to pronounce decisions while giving judgements on certain matters),implementation/enforcement of public policy.
Administrative law determines the organization, powers and duties of administrative authorities. The emphasis of Administrative Law is on procedures for formal adjudication based on the principles of Natural Justice and for rule making.
The concept of Administrative Law is founded on the following principles:
a) Power is conferred on the administration by law
b) No power is absolute or uncontrolled howsoever broad the nature of the same might be.
c) There should be reasonable restrictions on exercise of such powers depending on the situation.
Though administrative law is as old as administration itself since they cannot exist separately,in India the early signs/existence of administrative law could be found in the treatises written during the reign of the Mauryas,Guptas,Mughals as well as East India Company(modern administrative law).
It is based on the concept of rule of law that supports Natural Justice (to adjudicate based on impartiality,unjustness and the prescribed laws and legal methods instead of arbitrariness and abuse of official power on the part of govt. while serving the people and deciding cases brought before its Tribunals,etc. Natural justice is basically applied in cases where there are no laws prescribed,here the individual has to be given an opportunity to be heard and the judgement is to be taken into consideration the particular facts and cases of the case and the judgement should be free from bias). It is to prevent violation of people’s rights by officials in power.
Administrative law specifies the rights and liabilities of private individuals in their dealings with public officials and also specifies the procedures by which those rights and liabilities can be enforced by those private individuals. It provides accountability and responsibility in the administrative functioning. Also there are specified laws and rules and regulations that guide and direct the internal administration relations like hierarchy,division of labour,etc.