Introduction to Law

Principle Sources of Indian Law – Statute and Legislation

Statute law or  Statutory law is a law that is created by the legislation, for e.g. the State Legislature.  A statute is a formal act of the legislature in written form. A legislature is a kind of assembly with the power to pass, amend and repeal laws. Statutory laws are the basic framework of the modern legal system. Supreme legislation and subordinate legislation are two types of the legislature. Legislative powers are divided into three lists: Union list, State list, and concurrent list. Let us learn more about the types of the legislature and legislative powers. 

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Types of Legislature 

Supreme Legislation

The Constitution of India is the supreme authority in regards to all matters relating to the executive, legislature and judiciary. Supreme legislation is that legislation which derives its power straight from the constitution. It cannot be challenged by any other legislative power.

In the Indian legal system, Acts of Parliament, Ordinances, laws made by President and Governors in the limits of their authority given by the Constitution are part of the supreme legislation.  In India, the Parliament possesses the authority of supreme legislation.

Subordinate Legislation

Subordinate legislation is any other legislation which is lower in authority from supreme legislation and derives its power from any authority other than the sovereign power.  

Whereas, legislation created by authorities like corporations, municipalities, universities under the authority of supreme legislation is part of subordinate legislation

indian statute law



The judiciary has been given legislative powers as well. Superior courts are allowed to make rules to regulate their own function and administration. 

The executive’s main purpose is to enforce the law. It is also given legislative power in some cases to make rules. This type of subordinate legislation is also called executive or delegated legislation. 

Municipal corporates enjoy limited power that has been given by the legislation to make rules and bye-laws for areas under their jurisdiction. In certain cases, the State gives authority to autonomous bodies like universities to make their bye-laws which are enforced by a court of justice. 

However, the rule-making power of the executive is very limited in its scope. The rules made by the executive are placed on both the Houses of the Parliament and are then considered to be approved by the legislature. These rules then become part of the laws.

When a conflict arises in relation to the validity of rules made the executive, courts have the authority to give judgement on any of the rules made by the executive so they do not exceed their authority delegated to them under the parent act.

Statute Law and legislation


Legislative Powers

The legislative powers of centre and state are clearly defined in the constitution. These powers are split into three different lists.

  • Union List: The Union list consists of 100 items on which only the Parliament has exclusive powers legislation because of their concern to the Centre.
  • State List: The State list consists of 61 items where the state legislative assembly has the authority to make laws that would be applicable in that particular state. However, under certain circumstances, the parliament also has legislative powers in matters of the state list.
  • Concurrent List: The Concurrent List consists of 52 items where both the parliament and the state legislature have the authority to make their own laws under their own domains because it concerns both the parties.

Solved Question for you

Which is the highest law-making authority in the Indian Legal System? 

In the Indian legal system, Acts of Parliament, Ordinances, laws made by President and Governors in the limits of their authority given by the Constitution are part of the supreme legislation because they supreme authority. They are the highest law-making authority in the Indian Legal System.

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