Difference between Act, Rules, Regulations, Circulars, Case Laws

What is the difference between Act, Rules, Regulations, Circulars, Case Laws

For proper knowledge and understanding of any law, we should consider following elements:

  1. Act: Act is the main law. It tells us what to do and what not to do. An act can be passed, amended or repealed (or u can say abolished) by legislature only. In case of central act, legislature is the parliament and in case of state act, legislature is state legislature.
  2. Rules: Rules are subordinate laws. They assist the provisions of main law (that is Act). Act tells us what to do and rules tell us how to do. So rules can be defined as procedural laws. Rules can be created, amended or repealed by the Government. Government can delegate this authority to any of its ministry or department or to any separate body corporate either constituted within the act or in any other act.
  3. Regulations: Generally, regulations are created by the authority that is responsible to execute and implement the provisions of Act and Rules on public. For example under Securities Laws, SEBI (Securities Exchange Board of India), is the regulator of Securities Market. It has the power to make regulations under securities laws. Generally, regulations are created to regulate the market participants which may be body corporates, intermediaries or even individuals.
  4. Circulars: Circulars are kind of official memos. They are issued by the authority or body appointed to administrate or implement the provisions of laws. In real sense, circulars are not the part of law. They are only guidance or you can say clarifications for the help of department officers and employees appointed under the law for administration purpose. Basically, circulars tell department officers and employees, “How to deal in any particular scenario?”
  5. Judicial Rulings: Judicial Rulings are nothing but the decisions of various courts and appellate tribunals. In India, the apex court or you can say the highest court is the Supreme Court. Decisions of Supreme Court become rulings for entire India. Such decisions are applicable on entire India. At state level, we have High Courts. Decisions of High Court of any state become rulings for that state only. ‘Supreme Court’ or ‘High Court of any other state’ are not bound follow or consider that decisions.

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