Difference between Act and Ordinance

Key Difference: Acts can be classified as two things: a document that records a fact, something said or something done. It can also be known as a law or statue that has been enacted by the government. Acts are basically rules that have noted down a piece of paper. Ordinances are laws that are passed by lower-level jurisdictions in a country such as municipal government. The municipal governments include city, town, village, borough and county governments. Municipal governments have been provided with the power to enact laws through a statute and state constitution.

Rules, laws and acts are a necessary part of a society. In order to ensure the smooth running of the society, it is important that everyone knows what a person can do and cannot do. It helps everyone be treated as the same under the law. The laws and rules ensure that each individual must follow a set of guidelines and if/she ends up breaking any of those rules they must accept the consequences no matter their social standing or position.

Acts can be classified as two things: a document that records a fact, something said or something done. It can also be known as a law or statue that has been enacted by the government. Acts are basically rules that have noted down a piece of paper. Acts, if passed, are then turned into laws. Hence, going back to the pervious statement; they give birth to laws. A draft of the act is known as a bill, which is then altered, modified, detailed and turned into an act. The process of a bill becoming an act and then a law varies depending on the country and the government.

Dictionary.com defines ‘act’ as:

  • A formal decision, law, or the like, by a legislature, ruler, court, or other authority; decree or edict; statute; judgment, resolve, or award
  • An instrument or document stating something done or transacted.

Ordinances are laws that are passed by lower-level jurisdictions in a country such as municipal government. The municipal governments include city, town, village, borough and county governments. Municipal governments have been provided with the power to enact laws through a statute and state constitution. Ordinances constitute the subject matter of the enacted law. In some cases, these laws can also take precedence over the state and federal laws depending on the law. However, if the law is contradictory to the federal and state law, the law can be challenged in court and can be null and void. These laws only apply to areas that are under the jurisdiction of the municipal government. Most of these ordinances deal with public safety, health and moral codes and general welfare. The ordinances can include fire and safety regulations, noise levels, littering, etc.

The term ordinance means a different thing when applied to country such as India. The ordinance also takes a different shape when it is applied through the president. In India, according to a provision in the constitution, the president has the power to enact an ordinance if he believes it is required during that time. The ordinance that is enacted by the president holds the same power as a statutory law that is enacted by the parliament. However, the president can only enact the ordinance when the parliament is not in session and the force is also enforced until the parliament is back in session. Once the parliament is in session, it can choose to turn in to an act or discard it completely.

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