This Article is Written by Vaibhav Singh ( law student from USLLS, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University)
Public administration in its simplest term is the means and ways in which the affairs of the state is administered, with the ultimate goal of serving the interest of the citizens. The administration of the affairs of the state everywhere in the world has a constitutional endorsement. Knowing very well that the constitution is considered as the supreme law of the land, it can be said that public administration works within the context of law to serve the public interest. To regulate public institutions and public officers, the use of the law is very important. This will, to a very large extent, prevent administrative abuses by public officers and institutions in the effort of serving the public interest. Without laws to direct and regulate the administration of the state, resources will not be well distributed and this can leave room for corruption to manifest. Without the operation of laws and placing public administration in the context of laws, there can be nothing like public administration. Wilson in The Study of Administration’ has said, “The study of administration philosophically viewed, is closely connected with the study of proper distribution of authority.”
A public administrator is required to work within the framework of laws and as such he must have a close study and knowledge of the laws of the land. He is also required to see that there is nothing contrary to the existing rules and also the constitution of the country. Not only this but we also find that in many countries of the world, public administration is considered as a part of the constitution and studied as one of its aspects which amply justifies that there is a very close relationship between Law and Public Administration.
A public administrator also helps in making laws and equally assists his political head in enacting new laws. In fact, all laws which his minister enunciates in the legislature are on the direct initiative of his senior civil servants who have felt their necessity in actual working. Then comes the system of delegated legislation in which law-making authority is passed on to the public administrator. Since the work of the state is gradually increasing and it is increasingly being realised that a public administrator must be given ample freedom in implementing his policies, the system of delegated legislation has become an effective weapon in the hands of public administration in the law-making process.
According to Wilson, “To be efficient, it must discover the simplest arrangements by which responsibility can unmistakably be fixed upon officials, the best way of dividing authority without hampering it, and responsibility without obscuring it”.The close relationship can also be examined when one finds that without laws a public administrator cannot function. Public administration must have a set of laws within which it will be required to work.
Similarly, laws are most essential for checking public administration in their attempt to encroach upon the rights of the citizens which otherwise would have been at the mercy of the senior civil servants or others enjoying authority and power.
The system of administrative tribunals is increasingly becoming popular which also gives vast executive, legislative and judicial powers to the public servants. To quote Wilson again, “And this question of distribution of authority, when taken into the sphere of the higher, the original functions of Government is obviously a central constitutional question.”
It is this useful information and material which helps public administration in the formulation and execution of policies. Without it, the task of public administration would have become very difficult and complicated.
Law thus provides considerable assistance to public administration. In our modern time, ‘Behaviouralists’ has particularly laid stress on the close relationship of law with public administration. They also feel that public administration is the only mechanism of social acts and that no administrative problem can be solved unless that is viewed from a social viewpoint. This relationship becomes still clearer when one finds public administration carrying out sample surveys and opinion polls for formulation and execution of future and reviewing of the present policies. One also finds that social security and welfare activities are engaging more and more attention of public administrators. Family pension schemes, old age pension, right to work, benevolent funds are some of the measures which have been initiated by public administrators for the advantage of the society as a whole.
Thus, it is my opinion that all public administrators must have a good grasp of the law and rules of the land they are serving because the law acts as a guideline as to what is accepted in society. Without it, there would be conflicts between social groups and communities.