The Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary are the three main organs of the government. These organs do not work in isolation to each other but are interdependent to ensure proper and systematic functioning of the government. Though the Indian Constitution does not explicitly talk about the relation between these three powerful institutions through various provisions a system of ‘Checks and Balances’ has been established and there is a clear separation of powers. These two doctrines have been adopted from the 18th-century French scholar, Montesquieu who believed that ‘Power corrupts Power and Power checks Power’.
The Constitution has not adopted the doctrine of Separation of powers in its strict sense, as all the three organs do not work separately or independent one another. The function of each organ cuts across the functions of another organ and is dependent on it also. Let’s analyze this in detail.
India has adopted a Parliamentary form of government from Britain. The Parliament or the legislature performs the function of making laws. The executive, executes or implements the laws enacted by the Parliament and the judiciary interprets these laws. Thus, in accordance with Trias Politica model of Montesquieu the Indian Constitution provides for 3 different branches of the government with separate functions. It was observed by Justice Mukherjea in Ram Jawaya v. State of Punjab that : “The Indian Constitution has not indeed recognized the doctrine of Separation of Powers in its absolute rigidity but the functions of the different parts or branches of the Government have been sufficiently differentiated and consequently it can be very well be said that our Constitution does not contemplate assumption, by one organ or part of the State, of functions that essentially belong to one another.”
Let us look at how these organs are dependent on each other.
The legislature or the Parliament comprises of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. As stated earlier, its main function is to enact and formulate laws. It also imposes taxes, authorizes borrowing, and prepares and implements the budget, etc. The legislative powers have been given to the parliament and there is no limitation on its powers. But the judiciary and executive aid the legislature in carrying out its functions. The judiciary interprets the Constitution and makes sure that the laws passed by the Parliament are constitutionally valid. It engages in judicial review of the acts of the Parliament and keeps a check on the Parliament’s power. The executive, i.e the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers have the power to make laws through notices and ordinances to aid the Legislature. The Executive also has the power to refuse laws(through President’s veto). It is not that the Executive’s power supersedes that of the Parliament, or vice versa, it is just that the legislature is dependent on the executive and judiciary. The judiciary also settles the dispute with respect to the scope and nature of the power of the legislature and can also issue guidelines and recommendations while deciding on important issues. For example, the Vishakha guidelines for sexual harassment in workplace(Vishakha v. State of Rajasthan).
The Executive has wide-ranging powers to refuse laws, command the military, make verdicts, ordinances and declarations, grant mercy to criminals, etc. But the executive is accountable to the legislature for its actions. The notices, rules and ordinances passed by the executive only become ordinary laws when passed by the legislature, therefore curbing the powers of the executive. The executive is answerable for its actions to the legislature and the judiciary. As India follows a parliamentary form of government, the powers of the executive are thus limited. Such a system of checks and balances ensures that no organ wields excessive power. The judges of the supreme court also have an advisory jurisdiction over the President, where the president can consult the Supreme Court on important issues.
Read Also: Distribution Of Powers in the Indian Constitution
The Constitution provides for the independence of the judiciary, a strong feature of our democracy. The primary role of the judiciary is the administration of justice. The judiciary comprises the Supreme Court, the High Courts and the district courts at the lower level. The judiciary is dependent on the executive as it is the president that appoints the judges in the Supreme Court, and the Chief justices of the high court which in turn appoint the judges in the lower courts. Thus, the functioning of the judiciary is dependent on the executive. The legislature has the power to impeach a judge of the Supreme court and the high court on reasonable grounds.
Read Also: Short Note on Indian Judiciary
The Indian Constitution has maintained a proper balance between the three branches of government to ensure that neither of them wield excessive or arbitrary power. There is a proper system of checks and balances and an inter-dependency. All 3 organs need the other institutions in order to function smoothly and fuel our democracy.