Difference Between Bill and Act (With Table)

All countries have their separate laws and acts for the protection of the citizens that they have to obey; otherwise will be punished for breaking them. But the confusion sometimes arises whether laws and acts are the same things or not? Most people use act and bill interchangeably due to a lack of proper knowledge. Although they have similarities that do not make both terms mean the same. Therefore, from a legal perspective and generally, also the difference between act and bill is important to understand.

Bill vs Act

The difference between a bill and an act is that initially, for a bill is written down stating all the changes or details about a new law or an n existing one later on if only approved by the parliament, that particular bill becomes an act. Changing an act is comparatively more time-consuming as it is already approved. For example, like all adults were babies once, similarly, all acts were bills once. Acts are passed and applied to the whole country have to follow them, but this is not same with the bills. Both of them are also related in some terms.

Bills are the proposed legislation presented before the parliament. And then, it is decided by voting if the bills have to be approved or not. A bill not always states the new law. It may also suggest some changes to the old existing law. Changes in bills are not a difficult process and take less time. It can be proposed by a minister or member than a minister in the parliament.

An act is a bill that has been approved by the parliament after voting. It is the law applied to the whole country, and if anyone disobeys it, they are punished. All acts were bills before the approval, and any change required in them has again had to approve by the parliament, which is a time-consuming process. Some acts are passed only to remove the old act.

Comparison Table Between Bill and Act

Parameters of ComparisonBillAct
Role of ParliamentPresented to parliamentPassed by parliament
NameBill is an act only after approvalThe act becomes law later.
Relation Not all bills are actAll acts were bills
FunctionPropose new or changes in the lawCreate or exchange law.
ChangeEasily changedDifficult to change

What is Bill?

Bill is an unapproved act. It can be approved by parliament due to any reason. It can only be passed after getting approval from both houses. There are types of bills that are presented before the parliament, such as:

  1. Ordinary bill: it is a bill that is concerned with any matter except the financial subjects. It is introduced in either house of the parliament. Like other bills, it is introduced by ministers mostly, but any other private member can also introduce it. There are no recommendations of the president and joint sitting in case of this bill. It can be rejected or even detained by the Rajya sabha for a long period of six months. After getting approval from both the house, it is then presented before the president for approval.
  2. Money Bill: these bills are concerned with financial subjects that include taxations, public expenditure, income, etc. Money bill is represented in Lok sabha only and introduced by ministers. Unlike an ordinary bill, it is introduced only after the recommendation of the president. Rajya Sabha has no right of amending or rejecting a money bill, although it can detain the bill for 14 days maximum. There is no provision of the joint sitting,
  3. Financial Bill: they are also concerned with financial subjects but are different from the money bills. It is divided into two categories, A and B.
  4. Constitutional Amendment Bill: these bills are concerned with the changes or amendments in the constitutional matter.
  5. Ordinance Replacing Bill: this bill is presented before parliament to replace an ordinance. It can be done with or without the president’s promulgation.

What is Act?

An act is an approved bill. For example, there is an act for drink and drive, for not smoking area, for educational rights, etc. therefore, all the rules that have to be followed by people are mentioned under these acts so that everyone can follow them to have a peaceful and safe environment.

Passing an act is a procedure that starts with proposing a bill in the parliament. It depends on the type of bill, whether it is proposed before the Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha. After getting approval of the houses, it is then proposed before the president for final approval. And then, after getting all the approvals, it is passed and applied to the people. The house cannot reject at least detain bills for a certain period (depending on the type of bill). They can also propose some changes that can modify it before giving final approval.

There are punishments for disobeying any act. The punishment depends on the severity of the crime. Acts can be of different types, as some are public, some are private. Some of them can also be procedural, while some are substantive.

Main Differences Between Bill and Act

  1. Both bills and acts include parliament, but bills are presented to the parliament, whereas acts are passed by parliament.
  2. Bill and act are related, as the bill becomes an act after the approval by the parliament; therefore, an act before approval was just a bill.
  3. All acts were bills once (before passing on by parliament), by not all the bills act as only selected by the parliament become an act.
  4. Bill and acts are also different in terms of function, while an act creates a law or changes the already existing one while a bill proposes new laws or changes in the already existing.
  5. Any changes can easily be made in bills as they are not yet approved but changing an act takes time.
  6. Any law stating in the bill does not apply to the people or citizens of the country. Only after the approval does an act becomes a law, and then everyone has to follow it.

 Conclusion

There should not be any confusion between Bill and Act. Misuse of these terms can lead to some unavoidable chaos and difficult situation. Therefore they have to be understood properly. They also play a vital role in keeping the society and county free from crimes or at least avoid crimes or any illegal activity. And more acts are being made every day and the old ones are improvised for making the country a better place for the people. This is possible only if the bills are made for the purpose. It is the responsibility of the people too, to follow them strictly and make sure others follow them too so that any undesired situation can be avoided in future.

References 

  1. https://journals.co.za/doi/abs/10.10520/EJC120334
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/tlr94&section=51
  3. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/ejccl1&section=26
x
2D vs 3D