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“All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. Indian constitution also recognizes similar rights for its citizens under the fundamental rights chapter. Hohfeld is an American legal theorist who analysed how a law gives rights and corresponding duties to a person. This paper analyses the Fundamental rights enshrined by the constitution to its citizens based on Hohfeldian theory.

Hohfeldian theory of rights

Hohfeld distinguishes four elements or incidents with incident being a right on its own.

  • Claims
  • Privileges
  • powers

Ram holds a claim-right against Rahim to wash Ram’s scarf if and only if Rahim has a duty to Ram to wash Ram’s scarf. Rahim owes this duty to Ram, in particular. His duty is “directed toward” him. In this case Ram, himself, will presumably benefit, but that need not be the case. If Ram holds a claim-right against Rahim to wash Ram’s sister’s scarf, then Rahim still owes this duty to Ram, not to Ram’s sister. He owes this duty to Ram even if Ram hates both her sister and the scarf, although Ram probably has the power to waive her claim-right. A claim-right always has one or more correlative duties. It can be a duty to act, as in Rahim’s case, or to refrain from action: John holds a claim-right against peter to keep off his grass if and only if john has a duty to peter to keep off his grass. The absence of a duty is a privilege. Sita has a privilege-right to sing “Priya” if and only if Sita has no duty not to sing “Priya.” A license to practice medicine gives one a legal privilege-right to do so. Claims and privileges define all the actions that are forbidden, permitted, or required. The two remaining incidents (powers and immunities) are second-order incidents: they specify rights and duties regarding the creation, destruction, and modification of other incidents. Rahul has a power-right under a set of rules if and only if those rules give him the ability to alter someone’s Hohfeldian incidents (his own or someone else’s). If Rahul is a police officer directing traffic, then the legal rules give him a power-right to alter, by means of a hand gesture, a driver’s privilege-right to cross the intersection. If Ramya promises to cook Priya dinner, then Ramya exercises her power-right (under the moral rules of promising) to grant Priya a claim-right against Ramya to cook dinner. The opposite of a power is immunity. If Narendra lacks the ability to alter one of Sunny’s Hohfeldian incidents under a set of rules, then Sunny has immunity against Narendra with respect to that incident. Imagine that Sunny is a teenaged minor child and Narendra is his father. Narendra orders Sunny to mow the lawn every summer, which gives Sunny a duty to mow the lawn. When Sunny reaches legal adulthood, he acquires immunity against Narendra’s orders: Narendra loses the legal power to impose such duties on Sunny by means of orders. Hohfeld depicts the relationships between the incidents with two charts, which include some terminology that Hohfeld invented for the sake of logical completeness:


  • If someone has a claim, then she lacks a nonclaim.
  • If someone has a privilege, then she lacks a duty.
  • If someone has a power, then she lacks a disability.
  • If someone has immunity, then she lacks a liability.


  • If someone has a claim, then someone else has a duty.
  • If someone has a privilege, then someone else has a nonclaim.
  • If someone has a power, then someone else has a liability.
  • If someone has immunity, then someone else has a disability.

Fundamental Rights in India compared with Hohfeldian Incidents

The incidents can combine into various complex rights, such as Fundamental rights provided by the Indian Constitution. Ramesh’s Fundamental rights Consists of the following,

Ramesh has a privilege to form association or unions. He has no duty not to form association or unions.

  • Ramesh has a claim right to form associations or unions. The state has a duty not to infringe upon this claim right.
  • Ramesh has various powers over these claim-rights.
    1. If he is a railway coolie he can use this right and form an association along with his friend Danny.
    2. He has every right to renounce this membership of association with friend Danny whenever he wants
  • He can transfer his rights of membership to any other citizens.

If the state prohibits Ramesh from forming association without his consent then it is infringing his right. If the state is not justified in doing so, then philosophers would say that it does not just infringe his right, but the state violates them. If violation of rights is for special reasons, like in the interest of security of state, then it would be called justified infringement.











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An agreement is not usually binding unless it is supported by consideration. This means that each party must give something in return for what is gained from the other party.


What is consideration? Consideration may be a thing or a service. It is usually described as being something which represents either some benefit to the person making a promise (the promisor) or some detriment to the person to whom the promise is made (the promisee), or both.

Promisor and promisee

In most contracts, two promises will be exchanged, so each party is both a promisor and a promisee.

Consideration need not benefit the promisor

Consideration need not benefit the promisor – so there can be consideration where the promisee suffers some detriment at the promisor’s request, but this gives no particular benefit to the promisor.

‘Executory’ and ‘executed’ consideration

Executory consideration is where something is to be done in the future after the contract has been formed. Executed consideration is where at the time of the formation of the contract the consideration has already been performed. Executed consideration usually occurs in unilateral contracts.

Consideration must not be past

Lawyers often say that consideration must not be past, but this is slightly confusing because the emphasis is not really about the time that the consideration was given, but rather about whether the consideration was given in exchange for the other party’s consideration. Consideration must be given in return for the promise or act of the other party

Roscorla v Thomas (1842)

The defendant in Roscorla v Thomas (1842) sold the claimant a horse. After the sale was completed, the defendant told the claimant that the animal was ‘sound and free from any vice’. This turned out to be rather far from the truth, and the claimant sued. The court held that the defendant’s promise was unenforceable, because it was made after the sale. If the promise about the horse’s condition had been made before, the claimant would have provided consideration for it by buying the horse. As it was made after the sale, the consideration was past, for it had not been given in return for the promise.

 Legal Principle

Consideration must be given in return for the promise of the other party.

Exceptions to the rule that past consideration is no consideration

Where the past consideration was provided at the promisor’s request, and it was understood that payment would be made in return.

Lampleigh v Brathwait (1615)

In Lampleigh v Brathwait (1615) Thomas Brathwait had been convicted of killing a man, and he asked Anthony Lampleigh to obtain a pardon for him from the King. After considerable trouble and expense, Lampleigh managed to do so. In the excitement of getting his pardon, Brathwait promised to pay Lampleigh £100, but later refused to hand over the money, so Lampleigh sued. It might appear that Lampleigh’s consideration was past, since he had secured the pardon before the promise to pay was made. In fact, the court upheld Lampleigh’s claim. It reasoned that Lampleigh had obtained the pardon at Brathwait’s own request, and this request carried with it the unspoken understanding that the service would be paid for. Lampleigh obtained the pardon after, and in return for, this implied promise to pay, and so obtaining the pardon was good consideration for the promise to pay. The later promise, specifying that £100 would be paid, was said to be merely confirmation of the original, unspoken one. This reasoning seems less odd when we consider that today there are many requests which carry with them unsaid promises to pay – when we ask a taxi driver to take us somewhere, or ask the milkman to leave an extra pint, we do not actually say that we will pay for those goods and services, but clearly it is understood by both parties that we will. It may well be that requests to secure royal pardons had the same well-understood effect in 1615. Legal Principle Past consideration is sufficient when it is provided at the promisor’s request and it is understood that payment will be made in return.

Consideration must be sufficient

Consideration must be sufficient but need not be adequate; the courts will not inquire into the adequacy of consideration, so long as there is some

Thomas v Thomas (1842)

In Thomas v Thomas (1842) the claimant was a widow whose husband had stated that if he died before his wife, she should be allowed to live in his house for the rest of her life, after which it was to pass to his sons. When the man died, the defendant, who was his executor, agreed that the widow could continue to occupy the house in return for a promise that she would pay £1 a year and keep the house in good repair. Despite this, sometime later, the defendant tried to evict the widow, so she sued for breach of contract. The defendant claimed that the earlier promise was not binding because of lack of consideration. However, the court held that the widow’s promise to pay £1 and keep up the repairs was sufficient consideration to make the owner’s promise binding.

Legal Principle

Consideration must be sufficient but need not be adequate.

Consideration must be of economic value

Consideration must have some physical value, rather than just an emotional or sentimental one: White v Bluett (1853), a father promised not to make his son repay money he had borrowed, if the son promised not to keep boring him with complaints. The court held that the son’s promise was not sufficient consideration to make his father’s promise binding, because it had no economic value.

Consideration can be a promise not to sue

If one party has a possible civil claim against the other, a promise not to enforce that claim is good consideration for a promise given in return

Alliance Bank Ltd v Broom (1864) Broom had an overdraft of £22,000 with the bank, and they asked him to provide some security. Mr Broom promised to do so, but never did, and as a result the bank sued him. Mr Broom argued that there was no consideration for his promise to provide security, but the court held that the consideration was provided by the bank’s implied promise not to sue for a while, giving Mr Broom time to provide security, even though they did sue fairly shortly afterwards.



Performance of an existing duty

Where a promisee already owes the promisor a legal duty, then in theory performing that duty should not in itself be consideration.

Existing duties can be divided into three main categories:

  • public duties
  • contractual duties to the promisor
  • Contractual duties to a third party.

Existing public duty

Where a promisee is under a public duty, but does something which goes beyond what they are bound to do under that duty, that extra act can amount to consideration

In Glasbrook Brothers Ltd v Glamorgan County Council (1925),Glasbrook Brothers were the owners of a coal mine in South Wales. Their employees went on strike and Glasbrook Brothers asked the police to place a guard at the coal mine during the strike. The police refused to do this as they considered that regular checks by a mobile police patrol would be sufficient to protect the mine. The mine owners therefore offered to pay the police £2,200 to cover the extra cost of having the police stationed at the mine full-time during the strike. When the strike was over, the mine owners refused to pay. They argued that the police had an existing duty to protect the mine and therefore had provided no consideration for their promise to pay. The House of Lords held that the police had provided an extra service which did amount to consideration. The police were merely under a public duty to maintain law and order and could choose how they achieved this. Viscount Cave LC said: If in the judgement of the police authorities, formed reasonably and in good faith, the garrison was necessary for the protection of life and property, then they were not entitled to make a charge for it. As on the facts this was not the case, they were entitled to charge for the extra service.

Existing contractual duty to the promisor

In the past, the rule was that performance of an existing contractual duty owed to a promisor was not consideration


 Stilk v Myrick (1809)

In Stilk v Myrick (1809) two sailors deserted a ship during a voyage and the captain was unable to find replacements for them. The eight remaining crew members were promised extra wages for sailing the ship back home shorthanded, but when they arrived back in London, the captain refused to pay the extra money. The sailors sued for it, but the court held that there was no consideration for the captain’s promise; the sailors had already contracted to sail to their destination and back, and that was all they had done.

Legal Principle

Performance of an existing contractual duty owed to a promisor is not normally consideration.

Williams v Roffey (1990)

In Williams v Roffey (1991) these principles were reconsidered by the Court of Appeal. Roffey were a building firm with a contract to refurbish a block of flats. They subcontracted the carpentry work on the project to Williams, agreeing to pay him £20,000 for the work. But before the work was finished, it became obvious that Williams had financial problems, which would prevent him finishing the work on time. Roffey’s agreement with the owners of the flats contained a penalty clause, which meant Roffey would lose out if the complete project was not finished on time. Roffey agreed that the original contract price had been too low, and their representative approached Williams, offering an extra £10,300 on top of the agreed price of £20,000 in return for finishing the job on schedule. The agreement also included changes to the working arrangements: instead of Williams working on several flats at once, he would finish one at a time, so allowing other contractors doing different work to come in after him. When the carpentry work was done, Roffey refused to honour their promise to pay the extra £10,300, so Williams sued for breach of contract. The Court of Appeal found that Roffey’s promise to pay extra was supported by valuable consideration: in return for Williams finishing the job on time, Roffey would avoid losing money under the penalty clause in their contract with the building’s owners, and the cost and inconvenience of finding another contractor to finish the job, and had also benefited from the altered working arrangements. Even though Williams was only doing what he had originally contracted to do, Roffey was receiving extra benefit. As a result of Williams v Roffey , the law now seems to be that if one party’s promise to perform an existing contractual duty to supply goods or services confers an additional practical benefit on the other party, then, providing that no duress is involved, it will be sufficient consideration to make a promise given in return binding, even though in legal terms they are only agreeing to carry out their existing contractual duty.

Legal Principle

If one party’s promise to perform an existing contractual duty to supply goods or services confers an additional practical benefit on the other party, then, providing that no duress is involved, it will be sufficient consideration to make a promise given in return binding.

Contractual duties to supply goods or services

As a result of Williams v Roffey, the law now seems to be that if one party’s promise to perform an existing contractual duty to supply goods or services confers an additional practical benefit on the other party, then, providing that no duress is involved, it will be sufficient consideration to make a promise given in return binding, even though in legal terms they are only agreeing to carry out their existing contractual duty.

Contractual duties to pay debts

Special rules apply to contractual duties regarding debts. Where someone owes another money and cannot pay the full amount, they will sometimes offer to pay a smaller sum, on condition that the creditor promises to accept it as full settlement for the debt – in other words, agrees not to sue later for the full amount. Even if such an agreement is made, it is only binding if the debtor provides some consideration for it by adding some extra element

Pinnel’s Case (1602)

In Pinnel’s Case (1602) Pinnel sued Cole for £8 10s, which Cole owed on a bond (a promise under seal to pay money). The debt had become due on 11 November. Cole argued that at Pinnel’s request, he had given him £5 2s 6d on 1 October, which Pinnel had accepted in full settlement of the debt. Pinnel actually won the case on a technicality, but the court made it clear that had it not been for that technicality, they would have found in favour of Cole, because of the fact that he had made payment earlier than the due date, and this amounted to fresh consideration for the promise to accept less than the full amount. The court stated: ‘Payment of a lesser sum on the day in satisfaction of a greater cannot be any satisfaction for the whole but a change in time or mode of payment, or the addition by the debtor of a tomtit, or canary or the like will suffice to constitute consideration for the [creditor’s promise to forgo his debt].’ In other words, if the debtor pays early, or in a more convenient place, or gives something else as well as the part-payment, the creditor is receiving some benefit and the debtor some detriment, and this is fresh consideration for the creditor’s new promise to accept part-payment and not insist on getting the whole amount. Suppose, for example, Ann lends Ben £100, and they agree that Ben will pay the money back in one month’s time. If Ann arrives on the appointed date, to find that Ben only has £40, and will only hand over that amount if Ann agrees that it is in full settlement for the debt, Ann can agree to this, and still sue Ben for the other £60 later – Ben has given no consideration for Ann’s promise to accept the part-payment, and so the promise is not binding. If, however, Ben pays the £40 before the month is up, or offers Ann £40 and a book, then if in either of these circumstances Ann agrees to accept the part-payment as full settlement, that promise will be binding because Ben has given consideration for it.

Legal Principle

 If a debtor offers to pay a reduced sum back to the lender in full and final settlement and the lender agrees to accept it, this agreement will only be binding if the debtor provides some extra element that can be treated as consideration.

Exceptions to the rule in Pinnel’s Case

The rule in Pinnel’s Case does not apply if there is a genuine dispute about whether the debt is actually owed, or about the amount owed ( Cooper v Parker (1885)). The rule in Pinnel’s Case does not apply to unliquidated damages. Composition agreements are binding. A creditor who accepts part-payment from a third party, in full settlement of the debtor’s liability, cannot then sue for the outstanding amount. Promissory estoppel also constitutes an exception to the rule in Pinnel’s Case .

Existing contractual duty to a third party In some cases, two parties make a contract to provide a benefit to someone who is not a party to the contract, known as a third party. If one of them (X) makes a further promise to that third party, to provide the benefit they have already contracted to provide, that further promise can be good consideration for a promise made by the third party in return – even though nothing more than the contractual duty is being promised by X


Scotson v Pegg (1861)

In Scotson v Pegg (1861) Scotson contracted with A to supply a cargo of coal to A, or to anyone A nominated. Scotson was instructed by A to deliver the coal to Pegg who was a third party to the original contract between Scotson and A. Pegg promised to unload the coal at a stated rate of pay. He subsequently failed to do the agreed unloading. Scotson sued Pegg, claiming that their promise to deliver the coal to him was consideration for his promise to unload it. Pegg claimed this could not be consideration, since Scotson was already bound to supply the coal under the contract with A. The court upheld Scotson’s claim: delivery of the coal was consideration because it was a benefit to Pegg, and a detriment to Scotson in that it prevented them from having the option of breaking their contract with A (in which case they would just pay damages to A) and having no liability to Pegg. However, there is some suggestion that Scotson had done more than he was bound to do under the earlier contract, and so provided additional consideration, and this means that the case is not entirely conclusive on the point we are discussing here.

Legal Principle

 If a contracting party promises to provide a benefit to a third party which they are already bound to provide under the contract, this promise can still be good consideration for a promise made by the third party.

Waiver and promissory estoppel

Waiver and promissory estoppel are both ways of making some kinds of promise binding even where there is no consideration. Promissory estoppel is a somewhat newer doctrine than waiver. It was developed by Lord Denning in Central London Property Trust Ltd v High Trees House Ltd (1947). The precise extent of the doctrine of promissory estoppel is still unclear. What is clear is that the following conditions must be fulfilled before the doctrine can be applied.

  • A pre-existing contractual relationship
  • A promise
  • Inequitable to enforce strict legal rights.
  • Future rights not destroyed.
  • No new rights created.


Central London Property Trust Ltd v High Trees House Ltd

The claimant owned a block of flats. In September 1939, it had leased the block to the defendant, who planned to rent out the individual flats, use the income to cover the payments on the lease, and make a profit on top. Unfortunately, these plans were rather spoilt by the fact that the Second World War had just broken out, and many people left London, making it difficult to find tenants. As a result, many of the flats were left empty. The claimant therefore agreed that the defendant could pay just half the ground rent stipulated in the lease. By 1945, the flats were full again, and the claimant sought the full ground rent for the last two quarters of 1945. The claimant stated that the agreement was only ever intended to last until the war was over, or the flats fully let, whichever was the sooner. Both events had happened by the time payment for the last two quarters of 1945 were due, and so the company believed it was entitled to full payment for that period. The court accepted this argument, holding that the full rent was payable for the two quarters in question, and from then on. Of more importance is the fact that Denning J went on to state that the claimant would not have been entitled to recover the rent for the period 1940–45, even though there was no consideration for the promise to accept the reduced rent, because of the equitable principle laid down in Hughes . In fact, this reasoning (which was obiter , because the claimant was not actually seeking to recover all the past rent) went further than that put forward in Hughes . In the earlier case the landlord’s rights had effectively been only temporarily suspended, but in High Trees , Denning J declared that the landlord’s claim for its full contractual rights for the period 1940–45 had been destroyed – by accepting the reduced rent for the wartime period, it lost its right to claim for arrears of rent, rather than simply suspending this right until the tenant could afford to pay.

Legal Principle

 Under the doctrine of promissory estoppel, a contracting party who promises not to enforce a contractual right will not be able to enforce that right later if it would be inequitable to do so, and the promise has been relied upon by the other party.




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In sporting competitions, the winners, of big tournaments like the world cup, are usually big surprises as the most unexpected team win them. It is where the new champions are born. Although well-established and famous teams do become winners, there are cases where good and talented teams never win world cups. One such case is the South African cricket squad which after being declared favorites for many world cups have never won the cup. Why does a team touted as the best in the world have never won the world cup? What makes them more successful in other tournaments but fail miserably in the cup that matters the most?


One reason, why the South African cricket team cannot win world cups is that they take traditional approaches to team selection and don’t try to innovate. This method may be of help in bilateral tournaments and test matches, but when it comes to world cups, they are of no use. Only a unique and flexible approach to each and every game will win you matches in the world cups. For example, if we compare the 2011 world cup with 2015 world cup their bowling consisted of the same members, and no new players in spite of the vast differences in the playing conditions between the tournaments were included in the side. This type of selection in their bowling led to their downfall, as they failed miserably in the semifinals by conceding more than 290 runs in just 40 overs. If South Africa needs to win the world cup, they must be ready to innovate and shun their traditional approaches to team selections.


In the same way, their failure can be attributed to the lack of balance in the team. The squad has many superstars and good all-rounders, who can win games individually, but when it comes to playing as a team, they lack coherence and falter to perform. Since these players have immense potential as individuals, they are rarely left out of the squad and are always selected, to play, which results in less established but useful players being left out; thereby affecting the balance of the team. Another area that has been a cause of concern is the quota selection system in which it is mandatory to select players of colour; as a means of affirmative action and social justice. Although social justice and affirmative action in sports are needed, it needs to be implemented at the domestic level and not at the national scale, where only the best players, irrespective of race and creed, should be selected. For example in 2015, many felt a player like Ryan McLaren was left out because of his race and if selected would have provided the much-needed balance to the team.

Furthermore, lack of good quality spinners in their bowling department has become a major contributing factor for their losses. Since the side does not have a quality spinner, they suffer losses in conditions that supports spin bowling. The lack of quality spinners is also affecting their batters; this is evident from the fact that their hitters struggle to play good quality spinners. Imran Tahir, the lead spinner of the team, is 36 years old and became eligible to play only though naturalized citizenship of the country. The case of Tahir is real evidence that South African cricket system is not producing spinners in the country, and fundamental level changes have to be initiated. The fact that South Africa was unable to produce good spinners is an ominous indicator of them not innovating in the bowling department.


Thus, the reason for the lack of world cup, in the trophy cabinet of South Africa, is due to their inability to innovate and shun their traditional approaches. To succeed, they must make their selection policy more flexible; introduce fundamental changes in their domestic cricket structure and find methods to develop good quality spinners.

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In politics, many people believe they have different choices to select from, but in reality, they are left with political parties having same ideologies with similar styles of functioning. The political parties in India go to a great extent in creating the perception that they are different from each other, but a careful analysis will reveal that they have a similar style of functioning. For example, in the state of Tamilnadu the two major parties AIADMK and DMK works in similar fashion in all the criteria of governing like Leading the party ,strategizing during elections, and handling important issues affecting the state.


First in terms of leadership, both parties have similar styles of functioning. During the elections, for the post of party presidency members of both the parties select their leader unanimously. In the last 3 decades, both DMK and AIADMK have selected the same incumbent leader of their respective parties without anybody opposing them, thereby, proving that there is little party democracy left within them. The leaders themselves, in turn, give the most important positions to those who are close and loyal towards them. For example, In DMK, next to party president most of the other important positions are held by the family and close friends of the party president. Similarly, in AIADMK, it is no wonder that most of the decisions are taken by the close friend of its leader .Furthermore, both leaders have shown very immature animosity towards each other like arresting the opposition leaders by registering various cases against them and also, scrapping their welfare schemes .Thus,in terms of leadership style, there is little difference between the party leaders.


Next, they adopt similar strategies when facing elections. From candidate selection to party manifesto, these two parties follow very similar approach which in a way has brought immense success to them. During the recent elections, both parties selected candidates based on caste, money and loyalty. The manifesto of both the parties contained various free riders and appeasement towards the section of the population that they think will vote for them. During the vote canvassing both parties fielded various celebrities like film stars, cricketers, used the social media and news channels for advertising and illegal form of paid news. Last but not the least both distributed cash to voters as a means to lure them.


When it comes down to ideology and other important issues affecting the state, the parties act in no different manner. Both parties adopted a similar stand on the Srilankan Tamil’s issue by calling for an immediate ceasefire of the war and giving Tamils complete autonomy in their area, and advocated the central government to withdraw logistical support to the Srilankan army. In the similar fashion, the kudankulam issue saw both parties openly supporting the villagers and requesting the central government to stop using the nuclear reactor for power generation. In all other issues like liquor prohibition, river water management, agriculture, they take the same stand as one another.


In conclusion, the people of Tamilnadu are left with little choice to choose from the elections. The major parties in the fray DMK and AIADMK have the same ideology and are no different to each other. Their leaders work in a very similar fashion. Their stand on various issues of Tamilnadu polity is similar as well. Hence, what may seem as two parties with major difference is a myth, and in essence they are same in ideologies, leadership and functioning.



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The approaches to the study of Public administration can be categorized from many angles such as normative approach and empirical approach. Normative approach concentrates on what public administration should be. Empirical approach sets its eyes on description and analysis of actual administrative Situations. Another classification of approaches is based upon the objects of study the individual scholar seeks to emphasize, such as;

  1. Philosophical approach
  2. Legal approach
  3. Historical approach
  4. Scientific approach
  5. Case Method Approach
  6. Institutional and Structural Approach
  7. Behavioural Approach

Philosophical Approach

The Philosophical approach takes within its purview all aspects of administrative activities. Its goal is to find out and enunciate the principles or ‘ideals’ underlying these activities. This approach is found in Locke’s ‘Treatise on civil Government’, Plato’s ‘Republic’, ‘Hobbes’, ‘Leviathan’, etc. The philosophical approach is perhaps the oldest approach to public administration as of all other social sciences.

Legal Approach

The legal approach is the systematically formulated approach and traces its ancestry to the European tradition of rooting Public administration in law. Public administration was considered to be a part of law, concentrating on legally prescribed structure and organization of Public authorities. This approach was formed at a time when the functions of the state were narrowly limited and simple in nature. The legal or juristic method is mostly used in France, Germany, and Belgium. These countries have a long tradition of administrative law. The administrative law is an important branch of Public law and is conceived in quite broad terms so as to include the organization and functions of public authorities and with the problem of their correlation, powers and responsibilities. Public administration is considered to be a part of administrative law and as such it is studied in the legal framework. In India also the administrative study was mainly preoccupied with the legal foundations of administrative authority and its procedures and was narrower in its scope than that of European continent because there law itself was conceived in broad sociological terms whereas in India, it had a narrow juristic connotation.

Historical Approach

The historical approach to the study of public administration Seeks to recreate a segment of history. It Studies the public administration of the past with a particular time span, organizing and interpreting the information in a Chronological order. This approach naturally commands a powerful attraction in a society having rich past and can be valuable in identifying the uniqueness of the administrative system.

Scientific Approach

Public administration like many other social sciences makes use of the inductive method of proceeding from particular to general through observation for collecting the data, classification of data and verification of the hypotheses. The scientific management movement gave a great fillip to the use of this method in the development of effective techniques of organization and management and of budgeting and supply. Administration was separated from politics. It was treated as a mechanical organization and was subjected to the rigours of laws of mechanics. Although the Study of public administration has now passed off the Stage of scientific management fad, many activities of the office management, accounting and control of material and supply are still determined on the scientific principles. Measurement of work, time and motion studies, work flow charts, cost accounting and opinion sampling and polls are the techniques based on the Scientific and technical method for the solution of administrative problems.

Case Method Approach

A case is a narration of what has actually taken place in administration, keeping in fact the context and all relevant dimensions. Ably, handled, the case method approach is a sensitive one, seeking as it does to reconstruct the administrative realities and gives to students a flavour of the administrative Process. The case approach has been motivated by a commitment to the objectives and methods of social sciences. It has been shaped also by a considerable sensitivity to traditional concerns of humanities and by practical interest in pedagogy as against research. The case method to the study of public administration began to be popularized in the thirties. The case method has come to stay in public administration, but it cannot become the dominant approach. In Public administration, case study is essentially historical method. It is a method in which an administrative decision, in any given question or issue, is made the focal point for historical exposition. Its aim is to point out as to what factors or considerations- political, economical, and personal or any other-influence the decision of the administrator and also to know the process of decision or policy-making. The case as presented to the student in the file on monograph comprises every possible aspect of the situation. It is best presented as a running account embodying explanations of various procedures as they occur in relation to the circumstances. It provides the student with indications concerning the legislative and institutional framework within which the problem to be solved by the administrative agencies arises. It also, wherever possible contains notes to help the analyst understand the psychological back-ground, the characters of the people who took part in the case, the tensions among the staff of the administrative organization concerned, and other factors. The account as a whole is intended to reconstruct and explain, with reference to the greatest number of identifiable factors, the initiation, procedure and conclusion of the operation concerned and more specially, the process of formalizing the administrative decision. The case histories are prepared with the help of relevant documents and files, inquiries and interviews with officers concerned and all other sources of the case. ‘Public Administration and policy Administration’ published by the interuniversity case programme of the United States was a pioneering use of this technique. Following this several national institutes of public administration of various countries have launched their own study programme. Early in the sixties the Indian Institute of Public Administration (I.I.P.A) brought out three books on case studies the I.I.P.A and the National Academy of Administration have prepared about eighty case studies in memography form for their training use. The I.I.P.A recently published four more volumes of its case Studies. Some of the limitations of this that, re-living another person’s life through case studies never succeed. Secondly, the most significant part of a decision is the agony of it; one cannot re-lire the agony anxiety and put himself in another individual’s position.

Institutional and structural Approach

This approach to the study of public administration is the oldest and in point of number, it has the largest following. But it is least homogenous of all schools of public administration as it includes among its protagonists, teachers and research workers with varied training, ranging from political scientist to specialists in scientific management techniques. The common features of this school which distinguishes it from other schools of administrative thought. These features are of follows

  1. The followers of this school took policy administration dichotomy quite seriously. They defined the task of administration as nonpolitical or technical which lay merely in carrying out the will of political authority by either neutral means. They directed all their efforts to discover ‘principles’ of public administration.
  2. The early work of this school is characterized by an empirical and pragmatic approach. Their sole aim was to describe a set of facts and not to build any theories. This view prevails particularly in United States during the period between the two world wars and its greatest exponents were Leonard.D.White and Luther Gulick.

Since the fifties of the last century, there has been a shift in this approach. Although the study has retained its institutional character, yet the policy administration dichotomy has been qualified after being found too hasty. More attention is now being given to the normative aspects of public administration and administration is being viewed as an element in political theory and the accepted political Values. Scholars like John. M. Gaus and Paul Appleby of this school have frankly given up the technical view of public administration and they approach public administration from the broad political standpoint.

Behavioural Approach

This approach examines public administration by studying individual and collective human behavior in administrative situation. It brings to bear upon administrative problems on inter-disciplinary approach which includes Sociology, individual and social psychology and cultural anthropology. Originated in the United States this approach focuses on the actual behavior of persons and groups in organizations and has four Characters which are of follows

  1. The increased attention to the individual and his relationship to the administrative organization in which scientific-management approach tended to consider him rather as a thing or a means, without taking in to account the different aspects of his personality and his relationship to interests and social group other than the administrative organization in which he worked. Increased attention to the individual in administration is based on more realistic research concerning motivation, decision making process and nature of authority.
  2. Administration is studied as a social system with the result that whereas formerly attention was concentrated exclusive on formal and rational relationships of the organization, now informal relationships of men in the organization receive equal attention.
  3. On account of these developments, more importance is given to communication. This is understandable because an administration is described as a complex aggregate of human relations. Under the traditional approaches the only recognized means of communication were the formal orders and circulars issued by the superior to the subordinates and reports and returns submitted by the subordinates to their superiors. But under the new approach, the informal means of contact and communication receive of as much attention as the formal ones.
  4. Replacement of the theory of Sovereignty by that of legitimacy. The concept of political sovereignty had given birth to the theories of hierarchical structure, line of authority, chain of command, delegation and others. Under the new approach, there is an increasing tendency to analyse the reason why given persons, considered individually and collectively, feel that they must obey orders. Thus emphasis is put on administrative leadership and motivation.

In this method a new approach is followed by comparing the behavioral pattern of public administration in different countries, this comparative method has been used in studying the contemporary system of government and administration. The Behavioural science and the case study approach has impacted a distinct shift in the techniques of comparative approach in which the normative study of comparative administration merged gradually into the empirical and explanatory writings on different administrative systems. The recent trend is towards a nomothetic approach whereas earlier it was towards ideographic approach. Ideographic approach showed interest in concrete situations, case studies, area information and particular facts while the present emphasis is on theory or testable propositions which assert regularities of behavior and correlation between variables. The new trend involves a greater interest in the environment factors as they interact with public administration. It is now realized that these factors conditions and are conditioned by governmental behavior and hence their study is an essential part of study of public administration.

The Consensus Approach

The principles of public administration developed at the time were devices suggested to achieve efficiency. This efficiency-oriented approach coupled with the anti- patronage movement was strengthened by the view that policy making and policy implementing are two different things. Policy –determining was considered to be field of politics, and policy-implementation, the field of administration. It is now accepted that administration is involved in policy formulation also. It is now wrong to say that policies can be formulated without the advice or assistance of administrative staff .The whole theory of ‘delegated legislation’ disproved the dichotomy between politics and administration. According to Appleby,” Public administration is policy-making”. It is not autonomous, exclusive or isolated policy-making. It is policy-making on a field where mighty forces contend- forces engendered in any society. Further, public administration cannot be fruitfully studied apart from its political and social setting.

The Structural approach concentrated on the description of the administrative structure of the government bodies. This approach emphasizes the study of PODSCORB techniques of administration. But the administrative structure and techniques cannot be studied without proper reference to the environment in which public administration is working as well as the human factor. According to the scientific management approach, the problems of the public administration should be studied by the methods and spirit of science. Taylor concentrated on the work methods, machines and materials. He was concerned with the questions of mechanical efficiency. Scientific management taking efficiency as the objective, views administration as a technical problem concerned basically with the division of labour and specialization of functions. This approach is considered defective because it ignores the human elements in administration.

The socio-psychological approach or the Behavioural approach believes that public administration should be concerned with the study of human behavior in organization and operations of the various organizations. According to Simon decision making is the most important activity of administration. Human beings who work in an organization have aspirations and desires. Their behavior is conditioned by their psychology, motives and social environment. The administrative science should study these ‘facts’ of behavior without getting involved in the question of ‘values’. This new approach is universalistic in character and its purpose is to build a system of interlocking generalizations about how organizations actually behave in these organizations.


The approaches to the study of public administration can be summarized as

  1. Public administration was studied from the background of administrative law .The emphasis in this jusrisdical approach is on formal structures both constitutional and administrative. It has been concerned with officers, with duties, limitations, prerogatives and disabilities of officers and with legal, litigation and rights of Citizen.
  2. In the comparative public administration approach stimulated by the United Nations, the emphasis is on understanding the problems of administration operating under different socio –political and cultural settings.
  3. Another approach is to study public administration in relation to political parties and pressure groups.
  4. Historical approach is also a fascinating area of study. Many lessons can be learnt by studying the history of administration.
  5. Institutional approach is to study the structure. It deals with the study of organs of the State.
  6. The Behavioural approach claims to explain administrative processes that are common to many forms of organization. The focus is on human behavior, including Psychology, Sociology and anthropology.

The Post War Trend of Public administration has been:

  1. The assault upon the politics –administration dichotomy
  2. The assault upon the claims to science and to universal principles of administration, and
  3. Sociological studies of bureaucracy.

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The Public Interest

Public administration is vitally concerned with efficiency and economy. Alongside this efficiency approach there has been a growing concern about what may broadly be called ‘morality’ or ‘ethics’ in Public administration. Government has to serve the common good without making any sort of distinction between men. Efficiency in government has thus a moral tone. Against this background the broad theory of public interest has emerged to provide general frame work for the functioning of public administration. There are several reasons for the concern for public interest .The members of the bureaucracy constitutes of Power elite. They are likely to take decisions in self-interest or under pressure from the Powerful interest groups. In either case, Public interest suffers. Further, the bureaucracy is a mindless machine that turns out decisions mechanically .The rule- bound administration may look neat and tidy, but it may not be able to serve the wider cause of public interest. According to Herbert Simon, administrative decisions are often based on grounds other than those of efficiency and economy. Social and psychological factors greatly influence the way decisions are taken by the decision-makers .The importance of a Sense of public interest as wider ethical Commitment in public administration assumes significance in this context.

Philosophies of Public administration fall broadly in to four classes:

  1. Intuitionism
  2. Perfectionism
  3. Utilitarianism
  4. Theory of Justice


The administrator Choose an alternative by intuition-a solution which seems to him the right Course of action under the given Circumstance.


The administrator views Public interest from the standpoint of promotion of excellence in all spheres of Social activities. Public resource should be spent in such a way that the best members of the Society benefit most from the expenditure. Thus seen Perfectionism is an elitist Philosophy and anti-egalitarian and is not compatible with democratic society.


According to Utilitarian Philosophy the Public interest is served When a Public policy makes as many as possible better-off even though it may render a few worse-off. Public interest is judged by the augmentation of the net balance of social satisfaction.

Theory of Justice

This theory has two principles .The first principle is that each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others. The other principle postulates that Public Policies are reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage and public position and offices are open to all. In case of Conflict between these Principles, the second Principle is expected to prevail and give way to the first. These principles provide an operating logic for the determination of public interest by the decision- makers.

Philosophies of Public administration- A Review

Of all the major ethical frameworks for public administration, the intuitionist Philosophy justifies the Status quo and is of very little help in actual administrative situation .The Perfectionalist philosophy favours excellence at the expense of social equality. It is antidemocratic. Utilitarian Calculus has the merit of emphasizing total social good, but it also accepts the Position that a few may be worse-off. Compared to all these Philosophical positions, the theory of justice seems much more balanced and represents a workable way for determining the public interest by public administrators.

Human factor in Administration    

The human factor is the central Concern of public administration .It is meant for human beings and is manned by people. Firstly, it is involved in the relations between administration and its employers and Secondly, between administration and the administered, the public. In the recent pass, the State has been assuming new and newer responsibilities and has been entering in to hitherto forbidden fields. A large organization functions through standardized systems and methods .In this process, the human aspect is likely to be ignored. The human factor is exposed to risk of being forgotten or neglected .It is essential to maintain effective communications and relationships with employees within the general framework of organization, Command and discipline requirements. The Second aspect relates to the Relationships between the administration and the administered. The meaning of the word ‘administration’ as derived from the Latin root word; suggest that the administrator should regard himself as a servant, not the master. The people, not the administrators, are the centre of things and they should always be approach on terms of friendly equality. According to Jawaharlal Nehru “Administration like most things is, in the final analysis, a human problem to deal with human beings, not with some Statistical data ….. …The administrator may think in abstract of people he deals with, but which miss the human element. After all, whatever department you deal with, it is ultimately a problem of human beings. Administration is meant to achieve something and not to exist in some Kind ivory tower; following certain rules of Procedure and Narcissus-like looking on itself with complete self satisfaction .The test after all is humor beings and their welfare.

Public Administration-a Synoptic view

Public administration, as commonly defined, is the activity of the state in the exercise of its Political powers; in a narrow sense, the activity of the executive departments in the conduct of the government. In a literal sense of the term, Public administration also includes the functions of the courts in the administration of justice and the work of all the agencies, military as well as Civilian, in the executive branch of the government. A broader definition would include consideration of judicial structure and procedure and likewise the special machinery and methods employed by the armed forces in addition to legislative management. But in practice the scope of the activities of public administration is restricted to the organization and operations of the executive branch of the government only. It is felt that if all the Complex activities of all three branches of government, which are undertaken to fulfill public purposes, are studied, the subject will become unwieldy leading to confusion and losing its unity. Thus in the narrow sense, public administration includes primarily the organization, personal practices and Procedures essential to the effective performance of civilian functions entrusted to the executive branch of government. Public administration is primarily concerned with the implementation of public Policy laid down by representative Political bodies. Its main task is essentially the implementation and enforcement of public policy and the law of the state. It is both a process and vocation, with the management of the activities of others in the public agency. The activities of public administration are expressed through organization and human beings. Public administration is a human activity. It is managed by the human beings and it serves human beings .It is the action part of the government, the means by which the purposes and goals of government are realized. The Scope of public administration is to Study the Problems of men, materials and methods in administration. Keeping in view the activities of the present day administration the Study of public administration should include

  1. Administration as a process common to government at all level-central, State and local
  2. The activities of the government and the methods used by operating officers
  3. Personal and financial management
  4. Public relations and public accountability
  5. Social and cultural environment
  6. Human behavior of those in the heart of administrative activities
  7. Human beings who use the tools and techniques of administration

Felix A. Nigro has summarized the various aspects of the definition and scope of public administration as follows:

  1. It is a cooperative group effort in public setting.
  2. Covers all three branches-executive, legislative, and judiciary and this interrelationships
  3. It has an important role in the formulation of public policy and is thus a part of political process
  4. It is more important than, and also different in significant ways from private administration
  5. As a field of Study and practice, it has been much influenced in recent years by human-relation approach
  6. It is closely associated with numerous private groups and individuals in providing services to the community.

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