The simple meaning of ‘legislation’ is the making of law. It may be defined as the promulgation of legal rules by an authority which is empowered to do so. Law in past time was of divine origin. So law and religion were mixed.
We now possess a clearer concept of the law and know that it came into existence through an ordinary human effort directed towards the solution of our problems and not through any divine or mystic revelation. There is a basic change underlying this change in outlook.
The basic change is a change in our concept of social development. It was thought that social development is wholly unlike natural development which is governed by strict laws and where identical conditions yield identical results while in the life of society nothing can be predicted; everything being accidental, spontaneous; therefore it is outstanding people, sages and prophets, wisemen, great-thinkers, rulers, generals, men supposed to be endowed with super human wisdom or a divine vision with a fore-knowledge of the future who gave laws and made history. Our present concept is that objective forces are at work in both natural and social life. A knowledge of the laws of nature gives people a powerful weapon for taming its blind forces, for using them to the benefit of man; and knowledge of the laws operating its social life provides people with a basis for their practical activities aimed at promoting social progress, we study social conditions and with collective effort solve social problems.
There is an organ of the State known as the Legislature whose concern it is to make the laws; the process of law making is known as legislation. The State makes the law public by publishing it in a prescribed manner and fix a date since when the law is enforced, known as the date of commencement.
A formal legislative enactment ensures uniformity. When different though allied subjects become the subject-matter of a single comprehensive legislative enactment, we call it a Code. The Indian Penal Code is a comprehensive piece of legislation which provides for a large variety of offences more or less correlative though different.
A Code is the synthesis of heterogeneous mass into a comprehensive system. A Code is comprehensive, but it may not be exhaustive. It is also with the Indian Penal Code. There are many offences which are embraced by it and for which there are separate Acts of the Legislature.