Legislation As a Source of Law


Every country needs the law to operate effectively. The organs needed to run a country is divided into three parts, i.e. Legislative, Judiciary and Executive. Legislation, in simple words, means the process of making law. The law made by the legislation must be adhered to by all the citizens. This authority operates under the government, and the main task of legislation is to draft and make the laws. The laws made by the legislation should be very well discussed and thought off, as any lapse in the laws would result in exploitation and suffering among the people. The legislation should have the people’s interests in mind.

Types of Legislation 

The legislation is further classified into different types.

  • Supreme Legislation– This type of legislation is made by the sovereign power and controlled by them. Here, the other organs do not interfere with the legislation, and they cannot overlook their decisions. The powers given to such legislation are without any constraint, and it also does not rely on any other authority. Any other authoritative body cannot restrain the legislation.
  • Subordinate Legislation: It is a type of legislation where an authority other than the chief authority has some power of legislation. The chief authority gives the subordinate authority its validity, and the powers of subordinate authority can be revoked at any given time by the chief authority. So the subordinate authority should work with the chief authority. Subordinate legislation is further divided into five types which are-
  1. Colonial Legislation- It is applied to those nations that are under the rule of some other nation. Laws that are made by such a nation are in consonance with the ruling nation.
  2. Executive legislation- When legislation is given to an executive, it is called executive legislation. 
  3. Judicial legislation- It means when the power of legislation is given to the judiciary. This also helps in creating transparency in the judiciary.
  4. Municipal legislation- In this type of legislation, the municipal bodies are given the power to make laws. The municipal bodies may make better laws as they are closer to the ground reality of the particular area and know better about the people’s problems.
  5. Autonomous legislation- When the power to make laws is given to people who want to administer their issues is known as autonomous legislation.   
  • Delegated legislation– It is a type of legislation where the power of the legislation is given to an expert who is lower in position than the chief authority. An act can be done in the parliament where the powers of legislation are delegated to an individual or a body. The law made by this authority can exist without causing irregularities to the parent act. There will be rules that may exist for the delegated authority so that this system of delegation may work correctly and does not exceed its jurisdiction. Parliament may delegate the role make laws to some other authority under the rules set down by the parliament itself.
Legislation As a Source of Law

Other Sources of Law Compared to Legislation

Legislation is not the only source of law. There are other sources through which the legislation can make laws. These are as follows.

CUSTOMS– In a simple sense, customs are those rules or guidelines which are not written in the official gazette. These rules or guidelines become law as they were practised from ancient times, and they have been in the people’s knowledge for a long time. It is also considered the most authentic source of law. For a custom to be considered genuine, it should exist for an extended period of time and should not be interfered with. Customs are unwritten, so it may be challenging to follow. 

If we compare it to legislation, there are many differences. Legislation is written and debated to make it perfect, but customs are unwritten and made a long time ago. Legislation is more carefully made for the whole community, and in case of any drawbacks in the law, it could be amended, but in the case of customs, they were made a long time and they may be followed by a particular group but may not be followed by the whole community.

JUDICIAL PRECEDENTS– This is another source of law. It means the judgement given by the courts on an issue where there is a question on law or issue is of national importance. The principle on which the precedents are based is called Stare Decisis, which is also given in article 141 of the constitution of India. When a law is mentioned in the judgement of the apex court, it applies to the lower and the subordinate court. If the matter in front of the lower court has the same matter as a previously decided judgement in the apex court, then the lower court can decide the matter in the same way as the apex court did while citing the judgement of the apex court. , Precedents can make new laws, but the existing law cannot be revised. The judgement of the court plays an integral part in revising the law and correcting its flaws. When the matter in front of the court challenges the existing law, and it is found that the law has some loopholes, judgements can be used by the lawmakers to amend that law and to make it better.

While comparing it to legislation, precedents cannot amend the laws, and they can only suggest the modification. The legislation makes the laws, and the precedents may advise the legislation about that particular law. It is only after the law has been made, the courts can give precedents related to it. The legislation splits the component of forming statutes and administrators. The precedents merge those components.    


It can be said that no source of law is perfect, and the same goes with legislation. Legislation is considered rigid though it can be amended. However, the legislation remains an essential source of law, and the imperfection can be filled by considering other sources like customs and judicial precedents.

Animesh Sharma

Animesh Sharma is from Jaipur, Rajasthan. He has completed B.A. LL.B (Hons) from Manipal University Jaipur. He like to play football, listen to music, play piano, play games.

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