Difference between Law, Ordinance, Bill and Act

Law Ordinance Bill and Act

Difference between Law, Ordinance, Bill and Act

In India,

Various state governments and central governments incorporates different laws and passes ordinances. We are here with a difference on law and ordinances


The term ‘law’ in general refers to the set of regulations or rules to be followed. Law can be in the form of an act, ordinance, order, by-laws, rule, regulation etc. An act is a subset of law.

Anything which has the power to confer legal rights, obligations, liabilities, etc are laws. Law can be any Provisions of all valid Acts passed by the legislature, Acts and codes from pre-independence India, Ordinances passed by a Governor of a State or the President of India, Decisions of the High Courts or Supreme Court , Authorized orders, notices, rules, etc made by government bodies.


A ‘bill ‘ can be considered as initial stage of an act. Bill is a proposal to make a new law. Usually, bill is in the form of a document that summaries what is the policy behind the proposed law and what is to be the proposed law.

A Bill can be introduced by government itself or proposed by a member of the Parliament .The Bill is placed in the lower house of the parliament and after discussions once it has been passed, the Bill goes to the Upper house for approval. Once the bill gets passed by the upper House it is sent to the President for his assent.

Finally a bill becomes a law (Act) of the land once it has been passed by the parliament and also got assent from the President.


Once the Bill has been passed by the legislature, it is send to the President or the Governor, as the case may be for the approval. By receiving his assent, it becomes an Act. An Act is a law which is made by the legislature like Parliament or State Legislative Assembly.


Ordinances are temporary laws that are circulated by the President of India on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet. They can only be delivered when the Parliament or state legislative assembly is not in session. They enable the Indian government to take immediate legislative action.

At times, when the legislature of the Union is not in session and there is a need to make a legislation (Act) in emergency. In such cases, the government refers a proposal to the President or Governor, and if they approve of them, it becomes an Ordinance. Legally, an ordinance is the equal to Act. It can be seen as a temporary law till its expiry or till it is repealed or it is approved by the legislature. Usually term of an Ordinance is not more than 6 months.

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