Difference Between Ordinance and Law

Ordinance vs Law

We all are aware of what laws are and how they are made and come into effect. But not many people are aware of ordinances. As such, it is difficult for people to understand the differences between laws and ordinances, let alone how they are promulgated and what their statutory powers are. This article will attempt to clarify all such differences by clearly defining ordinances and how they are similar and different from laws.

Law is a generic term that covers all Acts, subordinates legislations, regulations and ordinances. Laws of the land are meant to guide people so as to help them conform to the norms of the society. Laws help in maintaining public order. They deter people from engaging in criminal behaviors, and in general help in protecting people. Members of Parliament are the law makers, and most of the bills are introduced by the government to make acts that become a part of the legislation. While laws are passed by the parliament, it is for the judiciary to interpret these laws. Implementation of laws is done through the executive, which is the government at the center and at state levels.

Ordinance refers to local level laws in some countries. For example, municipal corporations are empowered to promulgate ordinances that are in effect local level laws and take precedence over federal laws. However, these ordinances are applicable to city limits where they are in effect and cease to apply in other areas. There are as many city ordinances as there are municipalities in the country.

In a country like India, however, ordinances take a totally different shape as they are put into place by the government through the President. There is a provision in the constitution that empowers the President to promulgate ordinance if he feels that circumstances exist for him to do so. Normally, ordinance can be promulgated only when the parliament is not under a session. An ordinance has the same power and force as an act of the parliament but it remains into force only until parliament is not in session. It is placed before the parliament as son as the new session begins and is converted into an act by the government. It is not surprising that more ordinances have been promulgated and made into acts by governments than properly introduced and debated bills in the parliament.

In brief:

Difference Between Ordinance and Law

• Laws are rules and regulations passed by the legislature and are meant to protect and control people in different circumstances

• Ordinances in most countries are local level laws passed by municipalities and are applicable in city limits only. In some cases, they supersede central laws also.

• In India, ordinances are special acts promulgated by the government through the President who has been vested with this power.

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