The Constitution of India empowers the executive to legislate in circumstances requiring immediate attention. This is done by granting the power to issue ordinances to the President of India and to the Governors of States. However, ordinances have often been used to subvert the legislative process. This paper seeks to take a critical overview of the nature, scope and extent of this exceptional power as devised by the Constitution, and to locate the loopholes that need to be addressed so that its misuse may be tackled. Further, it tries to answer what constitutes the misuse of this power, how governments at the Union and State level have contravened the limits of this power, and the role played by the judiciary to curb the transgressions against this power.