Difference Between Act and Law (With Table)

Since time immemorial, human society has been governed by rules and regulations called laws. Making and implementing laws is very important to establish order and a sense of security in society. Without laws, there will be unbridled chaos, confusion, and confrontations in societies. This will often lead people to recourse to violence, brutality, and belligerence. 

Act vs Law

The main difference between act and law is that a law is a set of mandatory and official rules and guidelines that the government enforces, apprising people about what they are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to. But an act is a decree which is passed by a legislative branch.

The nature of an act is to make certain abiding rules in a specific field to make the structure of the system more uniform and discourage malpractices or skulduggery. An act is called a segment of legislation brought into existence to deal with the rising and inexorable problems and circumstances.

The nature of law is to ensure that people respect and comply with the established rules and regulations. Laws lay a foundation of a system of rules applicable to all citizens of a specific country. It is non-discriminatory and applicable to everyone equally. 

Comparison Table between Act and Law

Parameters of ComparisonLawAct
DefinitionA law can be defined as a collection of rules and regulations that every citizen of a country must follow.An act is a decree passed by an institutional legislative branch like a State Assembly or Parliament House.
NatureLaw is a singularly marked solution to a larger scheme of problems. An act is a subset of law.
Understanding Laws are more generic than an Act and are not that complicated and easily comprehensible.Acts are conditional and specific pertaining to certain domains and areas they are applicable to.

Technical Difference
Laws are binding and enforceable on all the country’s citizens as it has been put in place by all the regulatory processes.The bill is the representation of an Act, and it will only become an Act if passed by the country’s legislative bodies.
WorkingLaws ensure that people will abide by the rules and regulations it states.Acts are employed in certain situations and domains it has been made for.

What is Act?

An Act legally means the statutes of the Parliament. An act is passed to deal with specific situations in certain domains. It is represented by a bill called an Act if passed by both the parliamentary houses, the Lower House (Lok Sabha) and the Upper House, through the voting process. An act can do two things:- make a new law and brings change into existing law, often felicitous to the changing circumstances.

Acts are a set of provisions that get their meaning in certain situations and circumstances. The Parliament enacts these to make people understand what they should do in the face of a particular situation. It implies how they should react or what course of action they should take in an ordeal.

Acts are also of different kinds:- Some are procedural, some are substantive, some are public, and some are private acts. Acts are relative to different aspects of the defined laws and make necessary changes in the purview of changing times. 

Acts are generally more complex and complicated to understand. That is why most people need the help of lawyers, academicians, political pundits to comprehend the intricacies of the Act. The Acts passed by the Parliament and signed by the President of India get legal status and are applicable to all the country’s citizens.

What is Law?

The term ‘Law’ denotes an assemblage of rules, regulations, and principles designed to regulate human behavior and conduct. Law is an instrument through which a welfare state aims to establish the precepts of morality, justice, reason, order, and equality. In simpler terms, the law is broader terminology that includes acts, statutes, orders, ordinances, rules of court, decrees, judgments, orders of courts.

Law has different forms of origins and interpretations in different kinds of societies. In Hindu religion, the law implies “Dharma,” in Islam it is “Hokum,” in Roman society it is “Jus,” in French, it is “Droit,” in Arabic religion, it is Alqanoon, in Persian and Turkish, its Kunoon, in Latin it is “Legam,” in Philipino it is “Batas.”

Law is generally used to mean three different things:- 1. It means legal order that means forming a politically organized society that makes an apparatus of laws to govern its functioning. 2. It refers to all the legal precepts established by the politically organized society. 3. It signifies all the official control in the society like the administration of justice, authoritative control of the government, etc.

The aim of formulating and making laws is to establish and maintain order, uphold principles of equality and justice and promote the development and security of citizens.

Main Differences between Act and Law

  1. Law is a basic set of governing rules and regulations that are legally binding on all country citizens. But, an act is a subset of law.
  2. Law is more generic and less complex in understanding. But an act is more specific and particular in nature and a little tricky and complicated to understand. 
  3. An act can be seen as a part of the law. But an act can introduce changes in the law.
  4. A law is made to establish equality among citizens, stop repugnant and derogatory practices and protect the fundamental rights of citizens. But an act is passed to make people aware of certain rules and regulations.
  5. Law is a predecessor of an Act. Laws need to be in place for an Act to follow. If there is no law practiced, there would be no Act.

Conclusion

The term ‘Law and ‘Act’ might be similar and used interchangeably by people who have limited knowledge of legal concepts. In syntax and legal jargon, they are fundamentally different and cannot be used in place of one another. Law has a much broader connotation that holds legal and moral principles intrinsic to a peace-seeking and civilized society. 

In case of the absence of laws, there are possibilities of gruesome and gratuitous crimes and hazards. Acts are also necessary to cope with the changing times and make people aware of the new rules and regulations. Laws and Acts are both essential for good governance. 

References

  1. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/467698
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1415413