What is an Ordinance and how it is different from an Act. See tweets for reference below:

It said: “President Ram Nath Kovind promulgates ‘The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance Act, 2020‘.”

I replied to this tweet stating that “Ordinance can not be an Act and an Act can not be an Ordinance. Please learn this vital difference.”

Now, if we see what they are talking about is this:

It shows The Gazette of India having : The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

An Act is a law passed by the Parliament or a State legislature in Independent India. During the British Raj, laws were passed by the British Parliament for India and later by the Imperial Legislative Council. Laws passed by them which are still in force are also called as “Act”. An “Act” may not necessarily include the word “ACT” for example, THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1908 . Before being passed, they are termed as a “Bill”.

The Constitution of India provides for an ordinance under Article 123:

123. Power of President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament

Article 123, Constitution of India

(1) If at any time, except when both Houses of Parliament are in session, the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinance as the circumstances appear to him to require

(2) An Ordinance promulgated under this article shall have the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament, but every such Ordinance

(a) shall be laid before both House of Parliament and shall cease to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the reassemble of Parliament, or, if before the expiration of that period resolutions disapproving it are passed by both Houses, upon the passing of the second of those resolutions; and

(b) may be withdrawn at any time by the President Explanation Where the Houses of Parliament are summoned to reassemble on different dates, the period of six weeks shall be reckoned from the later of those dates for the purposes of this clause

(3) If and so far as an Ordinance under this article makes any provision which Parliament would not under this Constitution be competent to enact, it shall be void.

Similarly, Article 213 empowers a Governor of a State to promulgate an Ordinance in such exigencies.

Hence, an Ordinance is a temporary and immediate law making power conferred upon the President and Governor (with the aid and advice of council of ministers) in cases requiring urgent intervention.

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