The Executive, as its name suggests, should be working for the execution and in the Polity, I think, it would be executing the laws. The laws are made (or consented, if you like) by the legislative (Congress or Parliament).

On 8th November 2016, the Prime Minister of India: Mr. Narendra Modi declared that the paper currency of Rupees 1000 and 500 would be not be a legal tender anymore.

Declaring some currencies as no longer legal currencies is, I'm positive, a kind of law (by the Bentham's definiton "every law is an infringement of right"). But why an executive made a law? His job was to implement a law which had been agreed (sometimes acquiesced) by the legislators. After that declaration, I found the Indian Parliament didn't discuss if the law (banning of currency) is to be made or should be taken back (because legislators do not agree with it) by the executive rather the Parliament asked the executive about the effects of that declaration in the Question Hour.

Can executives make laws? If yes, then it means the Executive have a fusion of legislative and implementative powers in it, but that suggest that legislative is a bit redundant then.

1 Answer 1


No, the executive can not make "laws". But the executive can make "ordinances" on matters delegated to them by law.

The 2016 demonetization of bank notes in India was made by such an ordinance. The "Specified Banknotes Ordinance, 2016".

This ordinance cited article 123 of the Constitution Of India as the law which gives the executive the authority to make it. This article, "Power of President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament", says that when the parliament is not in session, the president can make ordinances with the same power as laws made by the parliament, as long as "the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action". But such ordinances need to be confirmed by the parliament within six weeks after they are back in session, or they become void.

When the parliament then got back in session, they did confirm said ordinance and turned it into a law with the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Act, 2017. So it is incorrect that "the Indian Parliament didn't discuss if the law (banning of currency) is to be made or should be taken back". They did discuss it as soon as they were back in session, and they decided that they want to keep it.

You can of course argue whether there indeed were "circumstances which rendered it necessary for the President to take immediate action". But considering that 1. the constitution says that the President alone determines that and 2. the parliament later confirmed the president's actions, that debate doesn't really matter anymore.

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    Just to add that this is very common in all democracies. In the UK, secondary legislation, such as statutory instruments, are produced by ministries and are used to "fill in the blanks" and give the precise details within the general framework set out by legislation. Many such documents are issued each year, and it saves parliament from having to debate a myriad of unimportant laws. Parliament does normally have some way to scrutinize secondary legislation, e.g. through committees, if it is contentious.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 12:03

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