Difference Between Rules and Laws (With Table)

We are living in a world that houses more than 700 crore people. Among these 700 crores, there are different countries, states, religions, cultures, languages, races and several other features that are functioning together.

And in order to live in a world that has diversity in its every corner, there must be mutual respect and harmony within the people. There should be a peaceful and respectful relationship between the population to achieve the level of harmony in the world.

For people to live together in this world in harmony, there must be certain rules and laws to regulate and justify proper behaviour and functioning. But, the words ‘rules’ and ‘laws’ are two concepts that are often used interchangeably, but are quite different on various aspects.

Both are terms that come under the legal branch of studies. Both ‘rules’ and ‘laws’ help in the proper functioning of a country.

Rules vs Laws

The difference between Rules and Laws is the consequence of breaking them. While breaking a rule can lead to a mild consequence, not abiding by law can lead to severe consequences.


Comparison Table Between Rules and Laws

Parameter of ComparisonRulesLaws
MeaningA rule is a set of guidelines to regulate a practice or procedure of any activity.A law is a system of rules that help govern the members or citizens of a country or community.
ApplicabilityRules are applicable for any kind of society, institution, association or any activity.Laws are generally applicable for an entire country or community.
CreationRules can be made by a secretary of the association, headmistress of an educational institution, etc.Laws can be made only by the Legislature of India (or any other legislative body in their respective country)
ConsequenceNot following the rules can often lead to mild consequences such as the payment of an amount as fine, suspension, etc.Not adhering to laws can lead to strict and severe consequences such as imprisonment.


What are Rules?

Certain guidelines must be set for a population of more than 700 crore of people to exist together in harmony.

Rules help any group of people or any institution to function at ease. A rule can be placed at a level lower than a law. It acts as a set of guidelines that help in regulating behavior and functioning. Rules can be created by the leading figure of any institution, society, association or just a group of people.

And breaking rules lead to punishment at a much milder level. To make the concept of ‘rules’ clearer, here is a detailed example: –

Consider a school or any academic institution. It is bound to have a set of rules to maintain order in the school and function properly. In any institution, there will always be an authority figure, leader or a person that heads the group of people within the institution.

This person has the power and right to create rules for the institution. As per the example, this person is the principal or headmaster or headmistress. He or she creates ‘rules’ for the betterment of the school.

Certain rules that are frequently found in academic institutions are: –

  1. Mobile phones or any other electronic gadgets are not allowed.
  2. Students are expected to follow the decorum of the institution.
  3. Wear uniform daily.
  4. It is mandatory to stick to the dress code as listed by the school or college.
  5. Students must reach the premises before 8:45 am.

These are a few rules found common in several institutions. Similarly, if you replace the academic institution with any other association or society; and the headmistress with a secretary, chairperson or president, you can find several other rules specific to the people and the group’s purpose.

And, in case of violation of any rules, there will also be punishment of different kinds, based on the rule that was broken.

For example, violation of any rules in an academic institution will probably result in a payment of an amount as fine, bestowment of duties as responsibilities or in extreme cases, suspension or rustication.


What are Laws?

Just like how any institution or society requires rules to maintain order, the peaceful existence and functioning of a country or nation relies on laws. Laws make the process of running a government and maintaining order and peace in a country easier. A law is a system of rules that help govern the citizens of a nation.

Laws can only be created by the legislative body of a country. Laws are made in stages. First a bill is presented in both the houses of the Parliament. Once the bill is passed by both the houses, it reaches the President. If the President accepts and signs the bill, it becomes a law. Violation of any laws leads to strict punishment.

For example, consider the country India. In India, the legislative body that implements laws is the Parliament.

The Parliament implements laws through the process mentioned above. And with the help of laws, it ensures that the laws are enforced and not violated. In case of violation of any law, the punishment is severe and varies across countries and their system of governance.

The consequences of breaking a law often include fines, compensations, prison sentences which includes life imprisonment, discharges, etc.

A few examples for laws are: –

  1. Marriage laws
  2. Citizenship laws
  3. Land laws

Main Differences Between Rules and Laws



Both ‘rules’ and ‘laws’ are concepts quite similar in terms of the purposes they follow.

They are implemented and enforced to ensure order, peace and harmony among people. Rules and laws are required to ensure that rights and freedom of people are not violated.

They help in the co-existence of a diverse population. While breaking a law can lead to mild consequences, violating a law brings about strict punishment.

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