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Difference Between Act and Ordinance

Act vs Ordinance

Law is the common term for legislation and is easily understood by common people. However, it is a generic term that comprises Acts, regulations, Ordinances and all other subordinate legislations that are meant to not just maintain public order but also to provide information to public regarding rules and regulation that apply in specific situations. Two terms that are commonly misunderstood by people are Act and ordinance. This article will explain the differences between these two legal terms to remove all doubts from the minds of the readers.

Let us talk about Act first. An Act is a type of legislation that comes into effect when a draft bill introduced either by the treasury bench or a private member of the parliament gets passed by the members (legislators) and it also gets the assent of the President to finally become an Act or the law of the land. While most of the people know the term law, not many remember specific acts that are applicable in different areas and different circumstances.

Ordinance is mostly referred to as local level laws that are introduced by municipalities and have the same power and effect as that of acts but only as far as city limits. In some circumstances, ordinances have the ability to supersede federal laws.

India is one country where the constitution empowers the President to promulgate ordinances that have the same effect as that of Acts but he can do so only when Parliament is not under a session and the ordinance so put into place by the government has to be presented to the parliament when the next session is convened. In most instances, the ordinance gets passed easily and then it becomes an Act (law).

In brief:

Difference Between Act and Ordinance

• Acts and ordinances are different types of laws that are made at different levels

• Acts are passed by legislators in the parliament whereas ordinances are passed by municipalities and apply in city limits only

• In India, ordinances are laws that are passed through promulgation when the parliament is not under session and have the same power and effect as an Act. They however either get annulled or have to face the parliament when it convenes next and converts them into Acts.


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  • saira

    good….. I understand easily. thanks

    • Muhammad Yaseen

      hellow saira g

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