Law and Act are two similar terms that are often used interchangeably by people. It is to be noted that both the terms are entirely different from each other. This is important to know the difference between law and act, especially if you are a law student indulged in CLAT preparation.
Intentionally or unintentionally, we all are bound by some acts and laws. You might have heard things about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Farmers Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, which went on to become the national news. These were the most important acts in the last few years. The thing about an act is that it applies to a specific domain.
For example, the CAA act is meant to provide Indian citizenship to migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who entered India before December 2014. Here, the law is specific for migrants. Laws are usually generic and applicable to all. You might have learned about these things a bit in your CLAT online classes.
Law students must understand the law and act difference in detail as they will be part of the legal system someday. To help law aspirants learn this difference, we have highlighted everything precisely.
What is Law?
Law in India is basically a set of rules that are created and enforced by the government of the country. These rules are applicable across the entire nation. The laws in India are based on a federal judicial system which is a combination of civil laws, common laws, customary laws, religious laws, etc.
There are many laws that are created on the basis of judgements and decisions announced by the courts. The aim of rolling out the laws is to regulate the actions of the people in the country.
What is Act?
An act is a part of the legislation that is passed by the parliament. The acts are meant to deal with particular people and circumstances. These can be considered as a subset of the law. For the welfare of the society, the parliament can roll out new acts or make changes to existing acts.
Law vs Act: Differences
- Laws are some necessary rules and regulations that need to be followed by all. Whereas, an act is an official order with the force of law. The legislative assemblies approve this in the Parliament of India.
- Law holds its scope of influence on the bigger picture. Whereas, an act is like a subset of the law.
- The rules and regulations set under a law need to be followed strictly by the people. If somebody violates the law, he adheres to appropriate punishment by the legal system of India. In contrast, an Act is rolled out for particular situations, or the rules and regulations under an Act are for particular domains. For instance, the recent Farmers Act or Agriculture Act was meant for the people in agriculture.
- The nature of law is generic in terms of operations. Things are easy to comprehend. On the other hand, the acts are usually condition-based and specific, on the basis of the field or domain for which it has been rolled out.
- Laws come into existence as enforced by the regulatory procedures. These can be concluded on the basis of decisions and judgements declared by the high courts of the Supreme Court. Whereas, an Act is submitted as a proposal in the parliament as a bill. It doesn’t come into existence until the bill is passed.
- The role of a law is to prevent malpractices, help people protect their fundamental rights, and maintain public order. In contrast, the role of an Act is to raise awareness about particular rules and regulations that are there for a specific domain.
- Laws are like an established phenomenon that come under the government authority. On the other hand, an Act is like a proposal that needs to be passed by the parliamentary bodies- Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and the President to make it an Act.
For students preparing for law exams, it is essential to understand these differences between the law and act. In the entrance exams, you might be asked questions related to these terms. Moreover, law enthusiasts must study from the best CLAT preparation books for stronger preparation for the exam.