Administrative law is the branch of law relating to Administration. It determines the organization, powers and duties of administrative authorities. In other words, it covers legal principles controlling the administration of government agencies. According to US legal principles, Administrative Law is the law concerning the powers and procedures of administrative agencies including the laws governing judicial review of administrative action. It does not include principles of substantive law formulated by the agencies. 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.
In UK, the courts have played a significant and constructive role in the development of Administrative Law. The Parliamentary Reform Agenda (1980) included additional grounds for Government accountability to the public disclosure of Government documents and the control of Government information handling. Development of Administrative Law in Britain resulted in the enactment of Freedom of Information Act, 1982 and the Privacy Act, 1988 .
In India, Administrative Law has its special significance because of the proclaimed objective of the Indian Constitution to build up a welfare society. This has generated administrative processes which resulted in further development of Administrative Law in India. The primary objective of Administrative Law is to ensure legal control of the administrative power and to provide protection to the citizens against the abuse of such power.
In France, principles of Administrative Law are termed as Droit Administratif. France has developed a system of administrative tribunals which are different from the ordinary courts and have no jurisdiction on the Administration. This setup has resulted in non-interference by the courts in the working of administrative authorities.
Administrative Law has proliferated both qualitatively as well as quantitatively and has assumed more significance in recent times. It has transformed into a recognizable form in modern day legal system and can be identified as a separate branch of public law, more articulate and definite in democratic countries.