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Section 21 – The General Clauses Act, 1897

The General Clauses Act, 1897



21. Power to issue, to include power to add to, amend, vary or rescind notifications, orders, rules, or bye-laws.-


Where, by any 1[Central Act] or Regulations a power to 2[issue notifications,] orders, rules or bye-laws is conferred, then that power includes a power, exercisable in the like manner and subject to the like sanction and conditions (if any), to add to, amend, vary or rescind any 3[notifications,] orders, rules or bye-laws so 4[issued].




(i) Section 21 has no application where a statutory authority is required to act quasi-judicially. Thus, Election Commission in exercise of its power to register a political party under section 29A of the Representation of People’s Act has to act quasi-judicially and under this section it has no power to review the order registering a political party for having violated the provisions of the Constitution; Indian National Congress (I) v. Institute of Social Welfare , (2002) 5 SCC 685.


(ii) The State Government cannot invoke this section of the Act for withdrawal of consent if the strength of the consent so granted for sub-lease the lessee executed sub-lease deed and on the culmination of such consent into contract, the sub-lessee had already commenced the mining operations thereby ‘materialising’ the consent and changing the conditions irrevocably from the one existing at the time of grant of such consent; Government of Andhra Pradesh v. Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy, AIR 1995 AP 1.


(iii) The provisions of the General Clauses Act, 1897 apply to all the Central Acts, and Regulations/Rules made thereunder by virtue of this section of power exercisable in the like manner under any of such Acts, Regulations or Rules includes, subject to the like sanction and conditions, if any, power to add to, amend vary or rescind any Act or Rules or Regulations so made; Durairaju Naidu v. State of Tamil Nadu, AIR 1994 Mad 68.


(iv) Where the power to order detention of a detenue has been exercised by the Central Government or the State Government or their officer, then the power to revoke the detention order can be passed by the authority ordering detention; Amir Shad Khan v. L. Himingliana, AIR 1991 SC 1983.



1. Subs. by A.O. 1937, for “Act of the Governor General in Council”.


2. Subs. by Act 1 of 1903, sec. 3 and Sch. II, for “make”.


3. Ins. by Act 1 of 1903, sec. 3 and Sch. II.


4. Subs. by Act 1 of 1903, sec. 3 and Sch. II, for “made”.



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The General Clauses Act, 1897


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