http com.ft .s3.amazonaws

Constitutionality Of Henry VIII Clause


This Blog is written by Anshuman Bisarya from SVKM’S NMIMS School Of Law, IndoreEdited by Naina Agarwal.



The articulation Henry VIII Clause alludes to official authority. By and large, any legislature, while designating its capacity of lawmaking to the office doesn’t give power on the administration to change or shift the Parent Act. On the off chance that a statement is inserted in the rule presenting power on the executive to change or fluctuate the Parent Act, it is called the Henry VIII clause. In England, during the period/system of Lord Henry VIII (1509-1547), a few laws were passed empowering the official to change the Parent Act. This sort of designated enactment is widely referred to or nicknamed as Henry VIII Clause kind of appointed enactment. It suggests a bare delegation of basic authoritative capacity to the official by the lawmaking body.

The objective of Henry VIII Clause: the fundamental object of the Henry VIII Clause sort of assigned enactment is to unfasten certain troubles. Lord Henry VIII prevailing with regards to toil all challenges in the implementation of his will by turning to/embracing this kind of assignment. For example, the National Insurance Act, 1911 in England. The Henry VIII Clause kind of assigned enactment ought to be given on the official just in uncommon cases to expel the troubles. The impact of a Henry VIII clause is that whoever makes the guidelines has been designated administrative force by the Parliament. At the end of the day, the official arm of government would have the ability to make guidelines that can alter the utilization of the essential resolution. The first Henry VIII clause was contained in the Statute of Sewers in 1531, which gave the Commissioner of Sewers forces to make rules which had the power of enactment (administrative power), powers to force tax assessment rates and powers to force punishments for resistance. A later Statute of Proclamations (1539) permitted the King to give announcements that had the power of an Act of Parliament. Both these were passed during the era of Henry VIII.

The Henry VIII clause is different from the situation where the Executive is conferred by the Legislative with the authority to extend the statute already in operation in one area to another area along with the power of modification which allows for making necessary adjustments to the existing law to better suit the requirements of the new territory. This is because in such cases, modifications are made to the fresh operation of the parent Act in the new area instead of altering the original statute. However, under the Henry VIII clause, the Executive is armed to modify the original statue. Further, the Henry VIII clause is also different from the clause present in the parent legislation vesting the Executive with rulemaking powers to give effect to the parent statute. Moreover, the delegation of legislative authority which takes place by the Henry VIII clause needs to be distinguished from several other instances of excessive delegated legislation. This is because sometimes it is mistakenly presumed that any clause presents in the parent statute, conferring upon the Executive, unguided rulemaking powers is a Henry VIII clause; or that any and every instance of excessive delegated legislation constitutes the Henry VIII clause. [1]


Unmistakably appointed enactment powers sit awkwardly with standards of settled common based law. From as ahead of schedule as 1610, the English legal executive has looked to abridge the utilization of Henry VIII powers. On account of Proclamations, Sir Edward Coke CJ held that: During the 1920s Lord Chief Justice Hewart distributed a book named ‘The New Despotism’, where Henry VIII powers were depicted as self-assertive bureaucratic forces. The Donoughmore Committee had communicated genuine worries about the expanding resort to Henry VIII forces in its 1932 report, The Report of the Committee on Ministers’ Powers. The Committee expressed that regardless of the quantitatively unimportant number of times these were depended upon over the period concentrated by the Committee these forces were a reason for concern. The recurrence of dependence on Henry VIII clause conceived by The EU Withdrawal Act is unmistakably far more noteworthy than anything that could be viewed as authentic by The Donoughmore Committee report.


The Henry VIII clause finds itself as part light of beacon in many bills such as National Credit Consumer Bill, 2009 of the UK-

Prohibition on suggesting or assisting consumers to enter, or increase the credit limit under, unsuitable credit contracts will be unsuitable for the consumer if, at the time the licensee provides the credit.

The assistance, it is likely that:

(a) The consumer will be unable to comply with the consumer’s financial obligations under the contract, or could only comply with substantial hardship; or

(b) The contract will not meet the consumer’s requirements or objectives; or

(c) If the regulations prescribe circumstances in which a credit contract is suitable-those circumstances will apply to the contract:

If the contract is entered in the period proposed for it to be entered or the credit limit is increased in the period proposed for it to be increased.

The regulations may prescribe particular situations in which a credit contract is taken not to be. [2]

Fair Work Bill 2009-

35A Regulations excluding the application of Act

Regulations made for section 32 of subsection 33(4) or 34(4) may exclude the application of the whole of this Act concerning all or a part of an area referred to in section 32 or subsection 33(4) or 34(4) (as the case may be). (2) If subsection (1) applies, this Act affects as if it did not apply to that area or that part of that area. [3]


In Gammon India case, The Court in Jalan Trading case said Power to remove the doubt or difficulty by altering the provisions of the Act would in substance amount to exercise of legislative authority and that cannot be delegated to executive authority. Sub-section (2) of s. 37 which purport to make the order of the Central Government in such cases finally accentuate the vice in sub. s. (1). A careful reading of the quoted portion from the Jalan Trading verdict would reveal that any conferment of power to remove the doubt or difficulty by allowing the alteration of the provisions of the Act in itself is impermissible and that the presence of finality clause under Section 37, in that case, was only a matter instead of it being the decision in the case. Therefore, the correct interpretation of the Jalan Trading case would be that the broad Henry VIII clause for it being an instance of excessive delegated legislation. After the Gammon India case, another landmark case upon the issue of the legality of the Henry VIII clause is identified as Bengal Iron Corporation v. Commercial Tax Officer. (Hereinafter, Iron). In this case, Section 42 of the A.P. Act was challenged and it was contested that it paved the way for excessive delegated legislation. In the case of West Bengal State Electricity Board v. Desh Bandhu Ghosh, AIR 1985 SC 722. [4]

Regulation 34 of west Bengal state electricity regulation was challenged on the ground that it was arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

The case of Central Inland Water Transport Corporation v. Brojo Nath Ganguly: In this case Rule 9 (1) of the Central Inland water transport Corpn. Ltd. (Service, Discipline, and Appeal) Rules, 1979 was challenged, which said:

The employment of a permanent employee shall be subject to termination on three months’ notice on either side. The notice shall be in writing on either side. The company may pay the equivalent of three month’s basic pay and dearness allowance, if any, in lieu of notice or may deduct a like amount when the employee has failed to give due notice.


Uncertainty with respect to the legitimacy of an expansive Henry VIII statement in India proceeds to prevail. However, my opinion that no type of the Henry VIII provision ought to be proclaimed as ipso facto invalid by the legal executive. The negative generalizations identified with the Henry VIII statement should be discarded. The change can start by amending the terminology of the clause in the in front of the rest of the competition. Ideally, in my opinion, the Henry VIII clause ought to have certain constraints with respect to its extension forced upon it. These imperatives can exist as worldly limitations, procedural guidelines to alter the essence of the hidden arrangement of the parent statute, necessity of laying the appointed law so established before the Parliament as well as constraining the intensity of change of arrangements in the Act up to one or a few statutes, among different prospects.


The utilization of purported Henry VIII Clause presenting power on a minister to adjust the arrangements of Acts of parliament ought to be surrendered in everything except the most extraordinary cases and ought not to be allowed by parliament without some exceptional grounds expressed in the ministerial memo random to the bill. Henry VIII Clause ought to never be utilized except for sole reason for bringing the Act into operation however is subject to the restriction.



[2] National Consumer Credit Bill 2009

[3] Fair Work Bill, 2009

[4] West Bengal State Electricity Board v. Desh Bandhu Ghosh, AIR 1985 SC 722

[5] Dr. J.J.R. UPADHAYA, Administrative Law (Central Law Agency, 30 D/1 Motilal Nehru Road, Allahabad, 10th edn. 2016).

[6] S.P Sathe, Administrative Law (LexisNexis, 14th Floor, Vijay Building, 17 Barakhamba Road, New Delhi-110001, 7th edn. 2004).

[7] M.C. Jain Kagzi, The Indian Administrative Law (Universal Law Publishing Co.Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 7th edn. 2014).

Leave a Comment