Delegatus Non Potest Delegare Meaning
Delegatus non potest delegare is a Latin maxim. Delegatus non potest delegare means ‘One to whom a power has been delegated, further cannot delegate himself that power.’ This maxim is the principle which is mostly seen in Constitutional Law and Administrative Law.
Delegatus non potest delegare maxim does not lay down a rule of law. Simply, this maxim states a rule of construction of a statute.
Literally, the ‘delegatus non potest delegare’ means, ‘one person passes over the powers to the other person who is inferior to him to do something and the same power cannot be re-delegate to someone else’. Further, this maxim provides that the superior person transfers or delegates the power to someone who is inferior to him to do something and the same cannot be re-delegated.
Here, the word ‘delegation’ is referred to passing of powers, authority or responsibility to another one. Thus, it means, one person transfers or passes over the powers or authority to someone else to do something which the person delegating had to do himself.
In general, the maxim ‘delegatus non potest delegare’ deals with the delegation of powers. The maxim is the principle in constitutional law and administrative law. This means a person to whom an authority or power of decision-making has been delegated to an inferior person unless the original delegation is explicitly authorized it.
- An auditor who has been appointed to audit the accounts of the company. The company cannot delegate the same task or work to another person to audit the accounts of the company unless expressly allowed to do so.
- An attorney who has given legal authority in a power of attorney cannot, of their violation, delegate the exercise of that authority without the consent of the person who granted the power of attorney.
Hamdard Dawakhana v/s Union of India
In this case, it was held that there is no specific bar in the constitution of India against the delegation of legislative powers by the legislature to the executive. It is now well-settled law that the essential legislative functions cannot be delegated by the legislature to the executive.
It means that the legislative policy must be laid down by the legislature itself and by entrusting this power to the executive, therefore, the legislature cannot create a parallel legislature. Moreover, the delegation of the legislative powers to the executive cannot amount to the abdication of essential legislative functions.
Ultratech Cement Ltd. v/s Union of India and Ors.
In this case, the Kerala High Court held that the ‘sub-delegation’ of powers implies a further delegation of the same power which was originally delegated by the legislature.
The governing principle is that the legislature’s powers must be exercised by the delegated person and by no other person. And, the power to whom delegated the delegated person cannot further delegate this power unless the superior law permits it to do so.
Therefore, the maxim delegatus non potest delegare that the delegated person cannot delegate his powers to any other person. Thus, if there is a law that confers power on the Central Government to make rules, it cannot further delegate that power to any other person unless the parent law gives permission or authority to the Government to do so.
The State v/s Kunja Behari Chandra and Ors.
In this case, the Patna High Court held that while referring to the maxim ‘delegatus non potest delegare’ held that ‘because the legislative power of the government is vested exclusively in the legislature, the general rule enunciated by Cooley is that the legislature cannot surrender or abdicate such delegated power and any attempt to do so will be unconstitutional and void.
A.K. Roy v/s State of Punjab, 1986
In this case, it was held that sub-delegation of delegated persons is ultra vires to the act that enables it. Therefore, in other words, any delegated power cannot be further delegated unless the delegating authority expressly permits such delegation.
Can delegated powers be further delegated?
No. Delegated powers cannot be further delegated.
Which powers Cannot be delegated?
For example, the judicial functions are to be discharged by the presiding officer i.e. a judge as per the rules of courts and this authority cannot be further delegated.
Why sub-delegation is not allowed?
Sub-delegation of the legislative power is impermissible, yet it can be permitted either when such power is expressly conferred under the statute or can be inferred by necessary implication
Delegatus non potest delegare is the Latin maxim which means ‘One person to whom the power is delegated by the superior source to the inferior source cannot further delegate to any other person unless permitted by the law.
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