Highlight the indispensability of the doctrine of separation of powers for a democracy. Elucidate the principle of ‘checks and balances’ and discuss it in context of India.

Doctrine of separation of powers is integral to any democratic setup.

  • Ensures proper checks and balances.
  • Prevents tyranny of the executive.
  • Ensure sanctity of constitution and fundamental rights.
  • Provides avenues for citizens who have been wronged by any organ of the state.

Constitutional provisions in India:

  • Article 50: separation of executive from judiciary.
  • Article 121 and 211: conduct of judges cannot be discussed in Parliament or Legislative Assembly.
  • Article 122 and 212: courts cannot enquire into proceedings of legislature.
  • Parliament cannot curtail powers of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
  • Judges have security of tenure and fixed service conditions.

The principle of ‘checks and balances’ stands for protecting citizens against overreach by any organ of the state.

  • Judicial review: courts can inquire into legislative and executive decisions.
  • Impeachment of judges: Parliament can exercise control on conduct of judges.
  • Ban against repeated promulgation of ordinances: As observed by the Supreme Court in Wardha and Krishna kumar cases, attempt to subvert legislative domain unconstitutional.
  • Parliamentary committees scrutinizing executive actions.

The functioning of each organ in a democratic polity is important, while also ensuring they do not overstep their boundaries. Various constitutional, legal and judicial safeguards are in place to ensure separation of powers.


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