Internal Aids to Construction
Image source -

This article is written by Varnik Yadav, a BSc. LLB (Hons.) student from Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar. In this article, the author explains what is meant by an Ordinance and what effects does it impose if the Ordinance lapses?

What is an Ordinance?

The ordinance as listed under Article 123 (Power of President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament) and Article 213 (Power of Governor to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Legislature) of Indian constitution means lawmaking power promulgated by the President of India on the recommendation of the union cabinet which will be as effective as the law of parliament but this power can possibly overrule when the house isn’t in session, most essentially when there are circumstances where a crisis in the nation required critical activity. They empower the Indian government to go ahead with the prompt administrative action choices. Ordinance ceases to work if it is not passed within the given period of time after the reassembly of both the houses. So after looking at the ordinance making power of the other countries, it was decided that to bring the power of ordinance in India, the session will be held at least once within 6 months. so that is why it is moreover obligatory for a gathering of Parliament to be held inside 6 months. For central ordinance so that it can be promulgated and be given the same force as an act of parliament the following conditions have to be followed as laid down in Section 123:

  1. it has to be laid down before both House of Parliament when they are in session and it will cease if not approved by both the houses within 6 weeks since the time of there t, or, if before the lapse of that period resolutions disapproving it are passed by the two Houses, upon the passing of the second of those resolutions.
  2. it can be withdrawn at any given point of time by the President where the Houses of Parliament are brought to reassemble on different dates, this time period of 6 weeks begin only from the later of those dates for the purposes of this clause.

For state ordinance, the Governor shall not, without instructions from the President, promulgate any such Ordinance if:

  1. A Bill containing similar provisions under this Constitution has required the previous assent of the President for the presentation thereof into the Legislature.
  2. He would have deemed it necessary to reserve a Bill containing the same provisions for the consideration of the President.
  3. An Act of the Legislature of the State containing similar provisions would under this Constitution have been invalid except if having been reserved for the consideration of the President; it had received the consent of the President.

An aggregate of 679 laws has been given from 1950-2014: An ordinance might be legislated about any subject that the Parliament has the ability to administer on and furthermore has indistinguishable confinements from the Parliament to enact as per the dissemination of powers between the Union, State, and Concurrent Lists. There have been different significant conversations on the ordinance making the power of the President and Governor enormous questions have been posted on the legal review of the ordinance making powers of the official; the need for ‘immediate action’ while declaring an ordinance and the giving of an ordinance making powers to the official, given the rule of the partition of powers. The detachment of power is vital in nations, for example, the US and Britain. The US or British governments don’t have the power to make ordinances. Supreme court can review the ordinance if it is filed through writs and there are only 3 grounds to check it, that are:

  1. Is there any material behind the proclamation?
  2. Is the material relevant?
  3. Was there any mala fide use of power?

These 3 grounds were given out and its validity was checked out in the case of A.K Roy v. Union of India which stated that the legislative power is subject just to the restrictions prescribed under the Constitution and no other. Along these lines, if any law is passed by the legislature which isn’t equipped to be so passed and which is violative of Part III of the Indian Constitution, it is insufficient. Also, Ordinance promulgated under Art. 123 is a law under Art. 13(3). It can be challenged as other laws on grounds of impropriety, unconstitutionality, contravention of Fundamental rights, etc. The Supreme court can only check the validity of the ordinance it cannot whether such an ordinance should be converted into law later on or not.

It very well may be along these lines comprehended from the interpretation of the court of Art. 123 and Art. 213 of the Indian constitution, that ordinance making power of the office is a legislative power and not an official activity or authoritative choice. Thereby, it is assumed by the Courts that legislative discretion is properly exercised and that the propriety, expediency, and necessity of a legislative act are for the determination of the legislative authority and of the courts; therefore keeping the motives of the executive beyond judicial scrutiny Along these lines, power can be said to be whole and there are no constraints on such power as that of the legislature aside from those to which the legislative power of the legislature is dependent upon.
                                Click Above

Lapse of the Ordinance

An ordinance must be changed over into law inside 42 days of the beginning of the Parliament session, or it will lapse. And once an ordinance lapses the law brought in the system ceases to operate and will not be treated as legal law anymore. The ordinance is also seen as a back door entry into the law-making power of the parliament. An ordinance can be re-promulgated just thrice. The governor of a state can likewise give ordinances under Article 213 of the Constitution of India when the state authoritative gathering isn’t in session. As a safeguard, Members argued that the provision that a session of Parliament must be held within 6 months of passing an Ordinance be added. Nonetheless, governments have promulgated a few ordinances on different occasions. For instance, The Securities Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 was recently re-promulgated for the third time during the term of the fifteenth Lok Sabha.

Re-promulgation of Ordinances brings up issues about the legislative authority of the Parliament as the most noteworthy law-making body. Like on the face of it is presented that ordinance is done because of the situation of this urgency/emergency but it is sometimes used when the govt. knows that it doesn’t have a majority to pass this as a bill in both the houses. Just like the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s choice to take the ordinance course to go ahead with the passing off as many as of six pivotal ordinances in its initial a half year of office including laws governing area acquisition, selling of coal and foreign interests in insurance has pulled in sharp analysis from jurists and is without a doubt a Jugaad solution. But sometimes it is also used to justify an urgent law which if not done in quick timing will defeat its purpose. For eg: An ordinance brought up by former presented by previous Prime Minister Morarji Desai in 1978—where currency notes in divisions of ₹ 1,000/5,000/10,000 were demonetized—in light of the fact that they thought it was one method for managing corruption and inflation. Parliament was not in session and it must be managed without telling individuals such a measure would have been set up—in light of the fact that else it would have failed.

Consequences of a Lapsed Ordinance

Once an ordinance is passed, and after the parliament meeting has begun its procedures and it isn’t promulgated inside 42 days then it ceases to work and it won’t be relevant from that time onwards and the old law which was in work under the steady gaze of this law will become the valid law from then on and it will be treated as substantial law from that point on and in a scenario where there existed no law before this ordinance, in the event that there existed no law, at that point all the progressions brought under this law will be legitimate however once the law has failed to be re-promulgated then it won’t be an applied as a valid law after that and doing of that will be treated unconstitutionally. And in such cases if there existed an old law which was over-ridden by this ordinance then it will again become the valid piece of law and in cases where there existed no piece of law related to the same. To give an example of what this implies practically speaking, we can take a look at the Krishna Kumar case.

This Krishna Kumar case is related to ordinances promulgated (issued) by the Governor of Bihar (on the strong advice of the Bihar State Government). Somewhere in the range of 1989 and 1992, the Governor promulgated in total and continuation seven ordinances permitting the State Government to take over the administration and control of Sanskrit schools in the state. As every ordinance was going to lapse, the Governor would declare a fresh ordinance with comparable arrangements (repromulgate the ordinance), permitting the ordinance to proceed in power for more than two years, at last slipping by in April 1992. In spite of the fact that the Bihar State Legislature was in session various occasions over those years, the ordinance was never placed before them, nor was any bill joining the and declaring about the incorporation of the ordinances. And then the supreme court was called off to decide if the promulgation is valid or invalid.

A seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court passed a judgment in Krishna Kumar Singh and Another v. State of Bihar and Others, holding that actions taken under an ordinance will not necessarily survive if the ordinance lapses or ceases to operate. The practical effect of this judgment is that the privileges of people and organizations under any ordinance given by the government may not be changeless and may just continue for the span of the ordinance. Except if the legislature authorizes a rule joining indistinguishable rights from are accessible under the ordinance, there is constantly an opportunity that the rights may abate when the ordinance slips. Krishna Kumar Singh is an extremely significant judgment because it considers whether ordinances, applicable to all persons, companies, and organizations, can create lasting rights.

What was decided by the supreme court, in this case, was that the ordinances were invalid? The court held that enactment by ordinances isn’t a conventional source of law-making. Ordinances must be promulgated in emergent or exceptional circumstances, and just while the legislature isn’t in session. Further, the Constitution requires that ordinances must be necessarily presented before the legislature. The repeated promulgation of an ordinance is proof that the official is attempting to exceed its permissible limits with the ordinance, and the court is allowed to strike down any such ordinance.

This judgment of Krishna Kumar’s case had an impact on the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 as stated. This ordinance gives (in addition to other things) that specific classes of land in Maharashtra will be considered to be changed over to different utilizations if contribution determined in the ordinance have been offered in appreciation of such land. The result of the Krishna Kumar Singh judgment is that any such regarded change of land under the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 may not be permanent – the land may revert to its prior status after the ordinance stops to work, except if the provisions of the ordinance are along these lines consolidated in a resolution.


Regardless of whether rights or benefits acquired under an ordinance will endure the ordinance is, therefore, an issue for courts to consider on a case by case premise. Also, an ordinance that is given repeatedly by a State Government or the Central Government with no endeavour to authorize a law consolidating the particulars of the ordinance is probably going to be held invalid whenever tested in court. While all people are required to consent to an ordinance while it remains in power, there is no future assurance of any rights or benefits that are conceded under an ordinance; all activities taken under an ordinance ought to be taken with due alert and subsequent to acquiring appropriate legal advice. the constitution’s expectation about the ordinances, whenever promulgated, after some time, will become like parliamentary law. In any case, practically speaking, the reverse is going on; parliamentary law has now started to resemble ordinances basically in the way they are made and the lack of debate.


  1. All You Wanted To Know About: Ordinance. [online] @businessline. Available at: <
  2. India, l., 2020. Ordinances In India. [online] Available at: <>
  3. PRSIndia. 2020. All You Want To Know About The President’s Power Of Ordinance Making. [online] Available at: <>.
  4. 2020. [online] Available at: <>.

LawSikho has created a telegram group for exchanging legal knowledge, referrals and various opportunities. You can click on this link and join:

Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more amazing legal content.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here