The Need For An Independent Judiciary For The System Of Checks And Balances

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Introduction

The concept of ‘Separation of Power’ given by Montesquieu is of utmost importance in any discussion on the independence of the Judiciary. In this concept, the power is divided between the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judiciary in such a way that each of the departments can check and balance the power of the other departments. However, in India, the separation of power is not strictly followed and the three bodies overlap each other sometimes. 

The Evolution Of An Independent Judiciary

In India, the judiciary not only protects the rights of the people but also ensures that the Rule of Law is upheld. The Constitution has made provisions to ensure that the judiciary is independent of the other two branches but that doesn’t mean that the judge if biased will go unpunished. The Independence of Judiciary is important to ensure that no authority is above the rule of law and it can only be independent if it doesn’t get influenced by any person or body and that the judgments given by the courts are followed by all and that nobody should interfere with the power of judiciary while it is exercising its function. Dr.B.R Ambedkar was also of the view that the Judiciary should be independent and competent. The Constituent Assembly was composed of visionaries who drafted the Constitution of India and they incorporated the rule of law in the Indian Polity, which was essential in the development of the society as there is always a possibility for conflict.

The judiciary is commonly referred to as the guardian of the constitution and thus enjoys a significant power in the State. The duties of the judges are never easy and there have been debates where one side of the argument stated that the judges are sometimes too active and the other side contended that the judges are self-restrained, and this comes from the fact that the judges often cater to the needs of the society. Now, it shall be understood that the impartiality and independence of the judiciary is one of the hallmarks of a democracy. It is a known fact that the judiciary needs to be free from any economic or political influence. This means that they are accountable and that the independence and power vested at their disposal is based on public trust.  Although it is commonly thought that accountability and independence cannot co-exist, it is the very principle that prevents dictatorship.

It shall be assured that the judiciary is independent as the judiciary itself is what keeps the other organs of the state in check and is the interpreter of the law. It is not only what regulates the state, its dynamicity is a representation of the state itself.

The principle of Checks and Balances is to ensure that the three branches are putting their maximum effort in carrying out their tasks. The independence of the judiciary is necessary to safeguard the principles of democracy.  And to ensure that the written constitution is interpreted without any prejudice, the Judiciary should be free-spirited. The independent judiciary will also be able to protect our rights and halt arbitrary actions of the executives so that the democracy does not turn into an autocracy where the executive acts according to their whims and fancies. 

To ensure the independence of the judiciary, the appointment of the judges should be made more transparent and the same should be done in the internal working of the courts, as the Chief Justice has significant power in deciding which bench or which judge will hear a particular case. An obstruction to the independence of the judiciary is that the political parties favor those judges that give judgment in their favors and tend to buy the judges with money and other benefits. The Supreme Court has declared that the democratic principles and constitutional schemes depend and is inspired a lot by the independent judiciary.

In Second Advocates on Record Association & Anr vs. UOI, it was stated that for the safety of the rights of the common people, it should be ensured that the judiciary is distinct from the legislation and executive.

Isolation Of Judiciary

The makers of the constitution tried to keep the judiciary isolated from the other two branches so that the judges are not answerable to the executives and their term of employment and salary have already been fixed so that they can continue to be neutral while giving their judgment and are not influenced by the political pressure. Also, following the adversarial system, our courts are bound by their precedents, which is why progressive judgments are celebrated by the country because the lower courts are often bound to give a judgment in consonance to the ones given by the higher courts.

Conclusion

The Constitution of India has ensured that the Executives do not become anarchists by abusing their powers, and hence gave the power to the Judiciary to scrutinize and punish those officers that abuse their office, to ensure that the supremacy of the law is always protected. The Legislative body has the power to make laws but at times when it intends to disobey the boundaries set by the constitution, the judiciary by writs, orders, or commands can quash those actions and can also order them to take appropriate actions. 

The courts always try to uphold the independence of the Judiciary as they believe it to be a basic feature of the Constitution. It is the only body that is responsible for keeping all the bodies including both constitutional and non-constitutional within their limits and prevents the bodies from encroaching the spheres of powers of the other bodies. It strives to maintain peace and harmony amongst all the other bodies.

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