AMEMDNENTS BY STEALTH: MCA Resurrects Henry 8th Legacy

Author: Rani Kumari

Institute: School of legal studies, LNCT University Bhopal


The legitimacy of and necessity for the confiscation of uncertainty clause, is noted as Henry 8th clause, has been a bone of dissension in numerous jurisdictions, the new one is HENRY 8th clause in the ‘THE GREAT REPEAL OF BRITAIN’ 

In march,2017 A great discussion kicked of related the Great Repeal Bill in the United Kingdom that inquire to EU laws as they hitherto draw breath under the law of Britain on the day of separation from EU. The most contentious aspect of the bill is Henry 8th clause. 

Henry 8th clause is a provision underneath a parent legislation authorizing the executive to amend on or more decree by way of ratification of delegated legislation. It is because of liberating nature of the clause, for the executive that this clause has been blemish for the judiciary and other stake holders worldwide, including India. 

In the Indian circumstances, the backdrop explains the urgency for the Henry 8th clause is that for occurrence. 


A clause mention to the provision in a prime act which sanctions the executive to create the secondary legislation which are scratchy or can repeal with the primary legislation/legislations.

A historical scanning of the Henry 8th clause notifies us that it was indigenously accommodate in the decree of sewers. The king propounds his potentiality in a purely authoritarian manner and provisions as per subjective acknowledge. Even now, whenever such spacious powers are advised upon the executive, these are named as Henry 8th powers.

This clause is dissimilar from the state of affairs where the executive is advised with the legislative with the jurisdiction to expand the decree already in effect in one area to another area along with the potential of modification which permits for the assembling necessary accommodating to draw breath law to better suit the requirements of the new territory.

It is requisite to state that Henry 8th clause is neither proportionate to excessive delegation nor is it always an precedent of excessive delegation; though it may as a clause, be more vulnerable to being an example of excessive delegation. 

The clause can be pin point across a plethora of decrees in India, along with in the Indian constitution.

Different form of Henry clause 

  • Notwithstanding the rescind by this constitution of the portrayal mentioned to in Article 395 but subject to the further purveying of this constitution, all the laws in drive in the territory of India promptly before the commencement of this constitution, all the laws in force in the territory of India promptly before commencement of this constitution shall pursue in force therein until modified or amend by a capable legislature or other capable authority.
  • For the desire of conducting the provisions of any mentioned law in vigor in the territory of India into concede with the provisions of this constitution, the head of state may by order make such assumption and modification of such laws, whether by way of reside or repeal or amendment, as may be requisite or judicious, and dispense that the law shall, as form such date as may be itemized in the order, have consequence subject to the changes and modifications so made and any such changes or modification shall not be asked in any court of law.
  • Nothing in clause 2 shall be deemed 
  1. To delegate the president to compel any changes or modification of any laws after the end of three years from the commencement of this constitution.
  2. To stop any adequate legislature or other competent authority from residing or amending any law embraced or modified by the president under the said clause.

Requisite to think of Henry clause

Lord Mayor stated related to the rationality of Henry clause: You can be assured that when these Henry8th clause are propound they will always be said to be necessity.

Several reasons have been pointedout elaborating the need for and vindication beyond considering the Henry 8th clause with suspicious.

Firstly, the potential to alter or reside any decree is recognized to be a crucial legislative function and hence the delegation of such potential is appraised as legally unjustified. This is because delegation of such potential to alter or reside any decree to the executive may be ailing procedure in a democracy, for it is solitary of parliaments debate and discussion, that alteration should be mentioned to any legislation.

Further, it is be the opinion that the executive should not have the power to alter/reside/amend because unlike the parliament, it is not straightly responsible to the public and does not have imprinted within the fear to lose public prop up.

There is another factor has its basic in psychology. The misconduct lies in nomenclature 8th used for the clause existing in the parent legislation and which permit broad discretionary potential to the executive to alter or reside any provision in parent decree. The reason spoke out the past of the rule of the king of Henry 8th not only does regime the term 8th adduce an inadvertent negative bias but also deceptive.

Related case laws

Since, clause is in the form of uncertainty or difficulty, it has been contested numerous times in the court of law. Indian judiciary has adopted the validation/legality of both the narrow and the broad Henry 8th clause.

The first landmark case: Jalan trading v. Mill Mazdoor Union wherein section 37 of the payment of bonus act, 1965 was questioned on the ground that it was a Henry 8th clause and hence an example of excessive delegation. Section 37 spoke about the potential upon the government to construct provision, not discordant for the placing the difficulties and uncertainty, and such part of executive potential could not be subject to judicial scrutiny.

Since section 37 allowed the executive to go to the stretch repealing the parent decree, it is example of broad Henry 8th clause.

The majority 3:2 pronounced in the case that section 37 was not well grounded as it was example of excessive delegation.

This insinuated that in Jalan trading case, the broad Henry 8th clause was held as ineffective on account of it being an instance of excessive delegated legislation by it utter extensive.

Later, in Gammon India v. union of India, section 34 of labor  Act, 1970 was confronted arguing that it is amounted to excessive delegated legislation. Section 34 was an example of a Henry 8th clause because it did not consult upon the central government the potential to alter the provision of parent decree, on the pretext of detaching the uncertainty or difficulty.

The court while endorsing the validity of section 34 differentiate the facts of the case from the case Jalan Trading stating that unlike in the former case. Section 34 in this case neither accommodate the finality clause nor did it permit to alterations to be produced to the provisions of the parent act or any other decree.


Equivocation concerning the rationality of broad Henry 8th clause in India resumes to prevail. However, the authors venture that no form Henry 8th clause should be mentioned as ipso facto infirm by the judiciary. The bleak stereotypes related to the Henry 8th clause require to be done away with. The swap can begin by altering the nomenclature of the clause in the first place.

Therefore, the debate under the realm of Indian administration law must lug from asking the straightforward question related the legality of the narrow and broad Henry 8th clause to adjudicating upon the soundness of such clause on case-to-case basis. This is because deciding upon.

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