ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

MCA Resurrects Henry VIII’s Legacy

Amendments by Stealth

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs, in charge of implementation of the Companies Act, 2013, has overstepped its constitutional mandate by passing orders that amend the provisions of an Act of Parliament. The MCA can only formulate rules and clarify provisions in the Act, and does not have the power to amend an Act. Recent "general circulars" issued by the MCA are extralegal, and are further complicating an already complicated piece of legislation.

Students of history may remember Henry VIII as the monarch with six wives, who broke with the papacy in Rome to establish the Church of England, and initiate the Reformation. But for students of jurisprudence, the very name Henry VIII evokes the image of a true “impersonation of executive autocracy”.1 The legal masterstroke of his autocratic aspirations was Section 59 of the Statute of Wales, 1542, which allowed the king to “alter the laws of Wales and to make laws and ordinances for Wales, such alterations and new laws and ordinances to be published under the great seal and to be as of good strength, virtue and effect as if made by the authority of Parliament” (Bourke 1991). With this one clause, Henry VIII sought to “legitimately” usurp the legislative power of the Parliament. As a tribute to such ingenious legal drafting, modern administrative law refers to statutory clauses empowering the executive to alter parliamentary statutes as the “Henry VIII clauses” – a cautious reminder of the fine legal balance between democracy and autocracy.

Primary and Secondary Laws

Dear reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top