Friday, December 21, 2012

What is the control mechanism of administrative law?

Administrative law includes within its study the control mechanism by which the administrative agencies are kept within bounds and made effective in the service of the individuals. This control mechanism is technically called the review process. An administrative action may be controlled by:-
  • Higher administrative authorities. 
  • The institution of ombudsman and other investigative agencies such as vigilance commissions also exercise control on administrative action. Role of public inquiries in this regard is also significant.
  • Consumer organization and interest representations also play an important role in controlling the arbitrary exercise of public power both at the pre-natal and past-natal stages. Though, in Bangladesh this form of control is still at the take of stage, yet organizations such as consumer protection and research society, society for the protection of civil liberties and other consultative and advisory bodies have played a significant role in this direction.
  • Public opinion and mass media in the 20th century is also an important control on any administration which a student of administrative law can not lose sight of. In America, opinion polls and mass media much more effective control on the administration than any other single control in as much as this control mechanism has the potentiality of preempting any adverse administrative decision.
  • Courts exercising writ jurisdiction through the writs of Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Certiorari, Prohibition and Quo-warranto.
  • Courts exercising ordinary judicial powers through suits, injunctions and declaratory actions.
  • “Easy access to justice” also provides an effective check on bureaucratic adventurism in the exercise of public power. If the access to justice is easy and quick it may deter administrative instrumentalities from developing an attitude which has been termed as ‘fly-now-pay-later’. Easy access to justice includes procedural facilities which are cheap, speedy and less formalistic, legal aid, availability of legal advocates for public interest litigation, intellectual capacity of the party and active participation of the judges. Uncontestably, this control mechanism is very week to provide any check on recidivist administrative deviance in the context of Bangladesh. Procedural and practice is highly formalistic, dilatory and expensive and legal aid is merely a concept. Very few advocates are available to take up public interest litigation, no matter, lately, it is picking up. Advocates and journalists are coming forward to sponsor public interest litigation. Cases in the courts relating to illegal felling of trees, environmental pollution, flesh trade, prison torture are some of the illustrations. Recently the Judges have also showed some signs of active participation. The Supreme Court has demonstrated its eagerness to stretch its long arms and in very many situations it has treated a mere letter as a writ petition. All this will go a long way in influencing the behavior of the custodians of public power.
  • Ensuring rule of law and obligation to be guided by natural justice are also a good check on administrative functions.

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