What is the Ordinance making power of the President?

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What is the Ordinance making power of the President? Blog Image


The Delhi government recently urged the Supreme Court to quash the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023.

About Ordinance making power of the President:


  • Article 123 of the Indian Constitution grants the President of India certain Lawmaking powers, i.e. to Promulgate Ordinances when either of the two Houses of the Parliament is not in session, which makes it impossible for a single House to pass and enact a law.
  • These Ordinances have the same effect as an Act of Parliament.
  • Ordinances may relate to any subject that the Parliament has the power to make law, and would be having the same limitations.
  • The Ordinances may have a retrospective effect and may modify or repeal any act of Parliament or other ordinances. It may be used to amend a tax law, but it can never amend the Constitution.
  • The President may withdraw an ordinance at any time. However, he exercises his power with the consent of the Council of Ministers headed by the President.
  • Following limitations exist on the Ordinance making power,
    • Legislature is not in session:  The President can only promulgate an Ordinance when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session.
    • Immediate action is required: The President cannot promulgate an Ordinance unless he is satisfied that there are circumstances that require taking ‘immediate action’.
    • Parliament should approve: Ordinances must be approved by Parliament within six weeks of reassembling or they shall cease to operate. The same will cease to operate if disapproved by either House.
  • In various judicial pronouncements, the Supreme Court has held that the President’s Ordinance making power is not beyond the scope of judicial review.


Q1) What is an ordinance in India?

Ordinance is a decree or law promulgated by a state or national government without the consent of the legislature. It includes examples such as collecting revenue through new taxes or harnessing resources during an emergency or threat.

Source: Delhi govt. moves SC to quash ordinance giving L-G control over services