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Report No. 60

7.18. Expiry of Ordinances.-

While we have thought fit to apply, with modifications, the provisions of section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, to the expiry of temporary Acts,1 we have not extended this principle to the expiry of Ordinances. Under Article 123(2) of the Constitution an Ordinance ceases to operate on the expiry of six weeks from the re-assembly of Parliament. To a layman, an Ordinance shares the same character as a temporary Act. The words "cease to operate" in Article 123(2) have not been judicially interpreted.

But it seems that at the expiry of six weeks, an Ordinance is completely obliterated from the Statute Book, except for the saving expressly made by the Constitution. It may be pointed out that Article 123(2) does not use the words "except as regards things done" etc. The Supreme Court in State of Orissa v. Bhupendra Kumar, AIR 1962 SC 952. made the following pertinent observations:

"It is true that the provisions of section 6 of the General Clauses Act in relation to the effect of repeal do not apply to a temporary Act. As observed by Patanjali Sastri, J. as he then was, in S. Krishnan v. State of Madras, 1951 SCR 621: AIR 1951 SC 301., the general rule in regard to a temporary statute is that in the absence of special provision to the contrary, proceedings which are being taken against a person under it will ipso facto terminate as soon as the statute expires. That is why the Legislatures can, and often does, avoid such an anomalous consequence by enacting in the temporary statute a saving provision the effect of which is in some respects similar to that of section 6 of the General Clauses Act. Incidentally, we ought to add that, it may not be open to the Ordinance making authority to adopt such a course because of the obvious limitation imposed on the said authority by Article 213(2)(a)."

In this position, we think that it will not be safe to apply the provisions of section 6 of the General Clauses Act to the expiry of Ordinance, and it is doubtful if the proposed section (as the effect of expiry) can be legally made applicable, in view of the provisions of the Constitution. Qualitatively, an Ordinance ceasing to operate under the Constitution differs from a temporary Act which expires by afflux of time. Parliament never applied its mind to the Ordinance which ceased to operate under the Constitution.

1. Paras. 7.13 to 7.17, supra.

General Clauses Act, 1897 Back

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