Law governs and regulates every aspect of the life of an individual ranging from personal to professional life. In a democracy, the government introduces changes in law from time to time to serve the needs of the continuously evolving society for the welfare of its people and the nation. The purpose of such amendments is the social, economic, environmental, and political upliftment of the society with the changing needs of time.

It is important to understand the nomenclature pertaining to legislations to get a better understanding.

  1. Act

Acts are the enactments and statutes made and duly passed by the Legislature. These can be considered as the formally codified result of deliberation on a particular aspect. They are the main piece of legislation which lays down the basic governing framework.

Some examples of Acts include The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition Act),1970; Transfer of Property Act, 1882 and The Indian Contract Act 1872.

2. Rules or Regulations

Rules or Regulations are framed within the boundaries of the provisions contained in the statute and serve the purpose of filling details in the provisions of law. The provisions in the Act may lay down the basic framework but rules or regulations lay down the other details like procedure or form with respect to the same. They are subsidiary legislations that further the governance of the said law. They deal with the functional aspect of the parent act and hence cannot stand alone or exist independently. They provide a set of guidelines for the regulation of a procedure or an activity concerning the act.

For example the Maternity Benefit Rules 1961 have been made under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. Whereas the Act of 1961 provides for the right of the maternity benefit and basic framework of the same, the rules lay down details as to various formalities like filing forms of application, form of certificates etc.

3. Ordinance

Ordinances are the laws passed by the President of India, in the absence of the Legislature. Ordinances are passed when the Parliament i.e. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are not in session.

Examples of an Ordinance:, The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2003 and The National Tax Tribunal Ordinance, 2003

4. Notification

Notification is the publication of an official call or statement in the Official Gazette, which is a public journal. A notification may be from a particular government authority or a governmental department. They are used to authenticate and effectuate Enactments, Rules, Orders and Government implementations.


These legal terms often overlooked by a common man are very crucial to understand as they form an integral part of his life.  Furthermore, understanding these terminologies can take us a step closer to demystify the legal jargons.