News By/Courtesy: Nikshetaa Jain | 20 May 2020 13:41pm IST


  • Conditions required to pass an ordinance
  • Maximum life of an Ordinance
  • Landmark cases on Ordinance

An ordinance is a special kind of executive decision that is issued by the Governor or President on the advice of the State or Central government which operates as a law. Although the legislature is responsible for lawmaking, the executive is given the power to make laws in extraordinary circumstances. According to Article 123, an ordinance can be passed when; - i) both the Houses of the Parliament is not in session, and ii) the Governor or the President is satisfied that the situation is urgent and cannot be addressed by any other law. 
The maximum life of ordinance is six months and six weeks. Since the maximum gap between the two sessions of a house can be six months, the maximum life is six months and six weeks after the date of re-assembly of the house. For example: - if the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha reassembles on 1st March and 6th March respectively, then the life of ordinance would lapse six weeks after 6th March. 
An ordinance can be converted into an Act or can be revoked by the Parliament, or it can be withdrawn by the Parliament. The ordinance may lapse six weeks after the date of the re-assembly of the house. The ordinance can be re-issued if required. 
In RC Cooper v Union of India, the constitutional validity of the Banking Companies Ordinance 1969 was challenged. By this ordinance, the Central government nationalized several private banks. It was argued that the conditions precedent to the passing of the ordinance was not satisfied. The Central government argued that the condition of satisfaction of the President is purely subjective. However, the ordinance was converted into an Act. Therefore, the ordinance cannot be questioned. 
In Krishna Kumar Singh v State of Bihar, it has been held that the satisfaction of the President under article 123 and that of the Governor under article 213 while issuing an ordinance is not immune from judicial review. 
In the DC Wadhwa v Union of India, it was held that it is unconstitutional to re-promulgate an ordinance unless in exceptional circumstances. The primary authority to enact legislation in the legislature, and it is only in case of urgency, the executive resorts to an ordinance. However, if the legislature is busy or has less time at its disposal, an ordinance can be re-promulgated. 
In T Venkata Reddy v State of Andhra Pradesh, it was held that the functions performed through an ordinance are still valid even if the ordinance has expired.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 20 May 2020 14:30pm IST

Tags : #article 123

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