Laws, Rules, Regulations, Orders and Directives

  • Lokethar

Many laws have been enacted by the Hluttaws since their formation after the multiparty elections in accordance with the Union Constitution. Many of the laws are new; replacing the old ones from the time of the pre-democracy Government. Some are amendments of existing laws to make them more relevant to the changing political, economic and social situation. In the new laws, whether entirely new or new in the sense that they replace existing laws, the date of coming into force of the laws is either mentioned in the law itself or announced by the competent authority. If the new law is to replace an existing law then the new law takes over according to the stipulation in the new law that the old law is withdrawn or is no longer in force.
In the new laws enacted by the Hluttaw, the last Section usually carries two Sub-sections; one empowering the Ministry which administers the law to make necessary Rules and Regulations with the approval of the Government; another Sub-section empowering the Ministry, Department or Agency enforcing the law to issue Orders or Directives relating to implementation of the Law. Also, the new law may have provisions by which Rules and Regulations made under the previous law would still be in force as far as they do not go against any of the provisions of the new law.
By “Rules and Regulations” is meant the guidelines or instructions for the effective implementation of the law. The “Rules” of course, have to be drawn up within the scope of the concerned law. It so happens that “Rules” under many new laws enacted by the Hluttaw have not yet been published. This may have been due to the complexity of making new Rules, as drawing up the Rules may involve technical matters for which expertise, other than local expertise may be needed. Another reason is that the person or persons charged with drawing up the Rules may not be knowledgeable enough about making Rules. Sometimes some of the draft rules they make may be beyond the scope of the particular sections of the law (I believe, in legal parlance, it is termed ultra vires). Hence the “Rules” to be submitted to the Government for its approval have to be screened by a competent body. This also may take some time as there is bound to be a backlog of draft rules that need their attention.
The result of “Rules” under the Law being not yet published has been interpreted by many that the law is not yet in force. As mentioned earlier, the law may, in fact, be in force. Hence, as I understand it, the implementation of some relevant matters prescribed in the Law can be enabled to be undertaken by Orders and/or Directives issued by the competent authority in spite of the fact that the Rules have not as yet been published. For example, the Policy or Guiding Bodies for the implementation of the Law, prescribed in the Law may be formed even if the “Rules” have not yet been published. In fact, as I understand it (and I stand being corrected), “Rules” may be made piecemeal and published in the Official Gazette as the Law is being enforced.
With sincere wishes for the “Rule of Law” to be upheld.

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