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Ordinance Making Power of the President

Jun 15, 2022

Ordinance Making Power of the President

The topic Ordinance making power of the President is an integral part of the Civil Services exam syllabus and should be covered extensively during the UPSC Preparation.

What is an Ordinance?

Unlike the laws enacted by the Parliament of India, Ordinance are also laws, however, they are passed by the President of India and not by the Parliament. The President of India promulgates an Ordinance in times of need and emergency.

It is a well-known fact that for a bill to become an act, it requires a debate in the Parliament and both the houses need to pass it. Only then it can become a law.

However, Article 123 of the Indian Constitution grants certain Lawmaking powers to the President of India i.e to promulgate an Ordinance when either of the two houses (Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha) or both houses are not in session.

This allows the government to take immediate legislative actions, thus saving crucial time in desperate times.

Important Note: When the houses reassemble, the Ordinance has to be approved by the Parliament within 6 weeks of it being introduced. Also, the Union Cabinet recommendation is a prerequisite for an Ordinance to be promulgated.

The maximum life span of an Ordinance is six months and six weeks.

Also read: Functions of the Speaker of Lok Sabha

President’s Ordinance Making Power

The President can promulgate the Ordinance under the below-mentioned circumstances: When both the houses of the Parliament or either of the house is not in the session. When unforeseen circumstances occur and inevitable action has to be taken immediately.
Acts, done and completed remain fully active before the Ordinance lapses.
An Ordinance can be retrospective in nature.
The Power of the Ordinance making of the President is not a substitute for the legislative procedure. Ordinances can be rolled out only under special circumstances.
The Parliament has to approve the Ordinance within 6 weeks of its reassembly. An Ordinance can cease to operate if it is not approved by either of the houses.
Ordinance-making power has no connection with the President’s power to proclaim a national emergency.

Get a fine understanding of the topic in a detailed video lecture by M.Puri Sir, our DREAM TEAM faculty for Polity, IR and Governance:


Limitations of the Ordinance Making Power of the President

  • The President can promulgate the Ordinance only when both the houses of the Parliament or either of the house is not in the session.
  • An Ordinance can only be promulgated by the President when unforeseen circumstances exist and inevitable action has to be taken immediately.

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Raminder Singh

Raminder is a Content Manager at PrepLadder. He has worked in several aspects of the education industry throughout his career and has assisted numerous candidates in cracking major competitive exams.


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