The separation of powers is imitable for the administration of federative and democratic states. Under this rule the state is divided into three different branches- legislative, executive and judiciary each having different independent power and responsibility on them so that one branch may not interfere with the working of the others two branches. Basically, it is the rule which every state government should follow in order to enact, implement the law, apply to specific case appropriately.  If this principle is not followed then there will be more chances of misuse of power and corruption If this doctrine is followed then there will be less chance of enacting a tyrannical law as they will know that it will be checked by another branch. It aims at the strict demarcation of power and tries to bring the exclusiveness in the functioning of each organ.


The definition of separation of power is given by different authors.  But in general, the meaning of separation of power can be categorized into three features:

  • Person forming a part of on organs should not form the part of other organs.
  • One organ should not interfere with the functioning of the other organs.
  • One organ should not exercise the function belonging to another organ.

The separation of power is based on the concept of trias politica. This principle visualizes a tripartite system where the powers are delegated and distributed among three organs outlining their jurisdiction each.

Three Tier Machinery of  State Government

It is impossible for any of the organs to perform all the functions systematically and appropriately. So for the proper functioning of the powers, the powers are distributed among the legislature, executive and judiciary. Now let’s go into the further details of the functioning of each organ.

  • Legislative

The main function of the legislature is to enact a law. Enacting a law expresses the will of the State and it also acts as the wain to the autonomy of the State. It is the basis for the functioning of executive and judiciary. It is spotted as the first place among the three organs because until and unless the law is framed the functioning of implementing and applying the law can be exercised. The judiciary act as the advisory body which means that it can give the suggestions to the legislature about the framing of new laws and amendment of certain legislation but cannot function it.

  • Executive

It is the organs which are responsible for implementing, carrying out or enforcing the will of the state as explicit by the constituent assembly and the legislature. The executive is the administrative head of the government. It is called as the mainspring of the government because if the executive crack-up, the government exhaust as it gets imbalanced. In the limited sense, executive includes head of the minister, advisors, departmental head and his ministers.

  • Judiciary

It refers to those public officers whose responsibility is to apply the law framed by the legislature to individual cases by taking into consideration the principle of natural justice, fairness.

Separation of Powers and Judicial Pronouncements in India

The first major judgment by the judiciary in relation to Doctrine of separation of power was in Ram Jawaya v state of PunjabThe court in the above case was of the opinion that the doctrine of separation of power was not fully accepted in India. Further, the view of Mukherjee J. adds weight to the argument that the above-said doctrine is not fully accepted in India. He states that:

“The Indian Constitution has not indeed recognized the doctrine of separation of powering its absolute rigidity but the functions of the different parts or branches of the government have been sufficiently differentiated and consequently it can 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 another”.

Then in Indira Nehru Gandhi v. Raj Narain, where the dispute regarding Prime Minister’s election was pending before the Supreme Court, it was held that adjudication of a specific dispute is a judicial function which parliament, even under constitutional amending power, cannot exercise. So, the main ground on which the amendment was held ultra vires was that when the constituent body declared that the election of Prime Minister wouldn’t be void, it discharged a judicial function that according to the principle of separation it shouldn’t have done. The place of this doctrine in the Indian context was made a bit clearer after this judgment.

The Supreme Court in Keshvananda Bharti v Union of India was of the view that amending power was subject to the basic features of the Constitution. And hence, any amendment tampering these essential features will be struck down as unconstitutional. Beg, J. added that separation of powers is a part of the basic structure of the constitution. None of the three separate organs of the republic can take over the functions assigned to the other. Hence this further confirmed the opinion of the court in relation to the doctrine of separation of power.


The doctrine of separation of powers in the strict sense is undesirable and unpractical and therefore till now it has not been fully accepted in any of the country, but this does not mean that the doctrine has no relevance in the world of today. The logic behind this doctrine is still valid. The logic behind the doctrine is of polarity rather than strict classification, meaning thereby that the Centre of authority must be dispersed to avoid absolutism. Hence the doctrine can be better appreciated as a doctrine of ‘check and balance’.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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