The Government issue various ordinances which become the law for time being in force. However, there is, mostly, confusion in the mind that for what time the ordinance will remain in force. Whether it will remain in force for six weeks or six months.? Now, in this Article, we will discuss the Ordinance making power of the President under Article 123 of the Constitution of India and its validity period. Article 123 of the Constitution of India enable the Indian Government to take immediate legislative action.

Chapter III of PART V of the Constitution of India deals with the Legislative power of the President.

“Article 123 Power of President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament

(1) If at any time, except when both Houses of Parliament are in session, the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinances as the circumstances appear to him to require.

(2)  An Ordinance promulgated under this article shall have the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament, but every such Ordinance –

(a) shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament and shall cease to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the reassembly of Parliament, or, of before the expiration of that period resolutions disapproving it are passed by both Houses, upon the passing of the second of those resolutions; and

(b) may be withdrawn at any time by the President.

Explanation: Where the Houses of Parliament are summoned to reassemble on different dates, the period of six weeks shall be reckoned from the later of those dates for the purposes of this clause.

(3) If and so far as an Ordinance under this article makes any provision which Parliament would not under this Constitution be competent to enact, it shall be void.”

Reference: Article 85(1)

“The President shall from time to time summon each House of Parliament to meet at such time and place as he thinks fit, but six months shall not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its first sitting in the next session.”

Crux of the Article 123 of Constitution of India are as under:

1. President can issue ordinance when one of the houses of the Parliament is not in session.

2. An ordinance shall have the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament.

3. Ordinance route is envisaged for immediate action i.e., if President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinances as the circumstances appear to him to require.

4. An ordinance will expire after 6 weeks once both houses of the Parliament are in session. It is compulsory for a session of Parliament to be held within six months (as per Article 85). Therefore, the maximum validity of an ordinance is 6 months and 6 weeks.

5. An ordinance will also expire if before the expiration of 6 weeks, once both houses of the Parliament are in session, a resolution for disapproving has been passed.

6. President has power to withdraw the ordinance at any time.

7. A constitutional amendment cannot be made through ordinance route.

8. Article 213 of Constitution of India deals with the Ordinance making power of the Governor of a state.

ORDINANCE CURRENTLY IN FORCE

Parliament adjourned sine die on March 23, 2020 in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak. Since, then, the Central Government has promogulated the following Eleven Ordinances till 01.07.2020-

Sr. No. Title In force w.e.f. Particulars
1 The Taxation and other Laws (Relaxation of Certain Provisions) Ordinance, 2020

 

March 31, 2020 The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation of Certain Provisions) Ordinance, 2020 was promulgated on March 31, 2020.  The Ordinance provides certain relaxations related to compliance, such as extension of time limit and waiver of penalty, in relation to certain specified laws.  These laws include the Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act), some Finance Acts, the Central Excise Act, 1944, the Customs Act, 1962, and the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988.  The Ordinance provides these relaxations in view of spread of the coronavirus pandemic in India.

 

2 The Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

 

April 7, 2020 The Act entitles a Member of Parliament (MP) to receive a salary of Rs 1,00,000 per month during his term.   The Ordinance reduces the salary of MPs by 30% for a period of one year.  This is to raise resources to meet the urgent needs arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The reduction will apply from April 2020.

 

3 The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

 

April 9, 2020 The Act provides for the payment of a monthly sumptuary allowance (for expenditure incurred in entertaining visitors) at different rates to: (i) the Prime Minister (Rs 3,000), (ii) other Cabinet Ministers (Rs 2,000), (iii) Ministers of State (Rs 1,000), and (iv) Deputy Ministers (Rs 600).  The Ordinance reduces these allowances by 30% for a period of one year.  This is to raise resources to meet the urgent needs arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The reduction will apply from April 1, 2020.

 

4 The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

 

April 22, 2020 The Ordinance amends the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.  The Act provides for the prevention of the spread of dangerous epidemic diseases.  The Ordinance amends the Act to include protections for healthcare personnel combatting epidemic diseases and expands the powers of the central government to prevent the spread of such diseases.

 

5 The Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

 

April 24, 2020 The Ordinance amends the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970.  The Act provides for the constitution of a Central Council which regulates the education and practice of the Indian Medicine system (includes Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy).

 

6 The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

 

April 24, 2020 The Ordinance amends the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973.  The Act sets up the Central Council of Homoeopathy which regulates homoeopathic education and practice.

 

7 The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

 

June 5, 2020 It amends the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.  The Act empowers the central government to control the production, supply, distribution, trade, and commerce in certain commodities.  The Ordinance seeks to increase competition in the agriculture sector and enhance farmers’ income.  It aims to liberalise the regulatory system while protecting the interests of consumers.

 

8 The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

 

June 5, 2020 The Ordinance amends the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.  The Code provides a time-bound process for resolving insolvency in companies and among individuals.  Insolvency is a situation where individuals or companies are unable to repay their outstanding debt.  The Ordinance exempts certain companies from the provisions of the Code with respect to initiation of a corporate insolvency resolution process.

 

9 The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020

 

June 5, 2020 It seeks to provide for barrier-free trade of farmers’ produce outside the markets notified under the various state agricultural produce market laws (state APMC Acts).  The Ordinance will prevail over state APMC Acts.

 

10 The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020

 

June 5, 2020  It provides a framework for the protection and empowerment of farmers with reference to the sale and purchase of farm products.  The provisions of the Ordinance will override all state APMC laws.

 

11 The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

 

June 26, 2020 The Ordinance seeks to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, which regulates the functioning of banks and provides details on various aspects such as licensing, management, and operations of banks.

 

Source: prsindia.org

Disclaimer: Nothing contained in this document is to be construed as a legal opinion or view of either of the authors whatsoever and the content is to be used strictly for educative purposes only.

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