What is the difference between an Act and a Law?

Listed below in the article are the major differences between an Act and a Law. Many times both the terms are used interchangeably but hardly people realize the difference between them. Take a look below.
Created On: Jun 28, 2021 19:15 IST
Modified On: Jun 28, 2021 19:31 IST
Act vs Law
Act vs Law

What is the difference between an Act and a Law?

Law implies a system of rules that regulate the citizens of any land. It is applicable equally to all the people of a country. 

An Act is a segment of any legislation that deals with specific circumstances and people.

As per legal terms Act is used to mean the statutes approved by the Parliament. Originally, it is a bill, which when passed by both the houses through a specific process, turns out to be an act.  An Act either creates a new law or makes an amendment in the existing one. 

Many use the two legal terms interchangeably but there is a difference between them which is listed below. Take a look. 

Difference between Act and Law

Category

Act

Law

Meaning

Act is the status created by the legislature, concentrating on a particular subject. It contains provisions related to it.

These are the principles and rules governing the affairs of any society. These are created and enforced by a stipulated authority

Nature

Acts are specific in nature

Laws are more generic in nature

What is it?

When a bill is passed by both the houses of Parliament, it becomes an Act

Law is established in a land.

Outlines

Acts inform what, why and how laws need to be followed

Laws are clear indication of what needs to be done and what does not

Aim

Act aims to inform people about the rules and regulations about specific situations

Laws are made to protect people from unfair practices and for maintenance of public order

Law is anything that is aimed at governing the conduct of the citizens of a country. It is useful in  protecting their rights. At the same time it also ensures equality among them as it is applicable to all. Law prescribes rights and duties to the citizens of a land.

Generally in a Democracy or Republic, the houses of Parliament introduce a bill stating the process of the law. The bill once passed by both the houses becomes an Act. Indian Constitution is widely open for amendments and one can find many new bills that have been passed to become an Act. Both Act and Law are essential for governance.

Also Read| Explained: Difference between Democracy and Republic

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FAQ

What are the types of laws?

Tort law, contract law, property law and criminal law are the types of laws.

Is bill a law?

Bills are called laws in making.

What becomes an Act?

The bill once passed in Parliament becomes an Act

What is the difference between act and law?

Legislation (a bill or joint resolution, see below) which has passed both houses of Parliament is called Act. Law is a set of regulations to be followed
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