What do you understand by the doctrine of Separation of Powers. Compare and contrast the doctrine as followed by the American Presidential system and Indian Parliamentary system.

What do you understand by the doctrine of Separation of Powers. Compare and contrast the doctrine as followed by the American Presidential system and Indian Parliamentary system.

Approach:

  • Define the concept of Separation of power
  • Mention about Concept of Separation power in American constitution
  • Compare and contrast with separation of powers in Indian system
  • Conclude accordingly
Model Answer :

The doctrine of Separation of Powers emphasizes the mutual exclusiveness of the three organs of government, viz., legislature, executive and judiciary. The main underlying idea is that each of these organs should exercise only one type of function. There should not be concentration of all the functions in one organ otherwise it could act in an arbitrary manner. The French scholar Montesquieu has propounded this concept to check the tyranny by organs of government.

Provisions of Separation of Powers in American constitution :

In American constitution, the doctrine of Separation of Powers forms the foundation on which the whole structure of the Constitution is based. It has been accepted and strictly adopted in U.S.A. Article I – Section 1 vests all legislative powers in the Congress. Article II – Section 1 vest all executive powers in the President and Article III – Section 1 vests all judicial powers in the Supreme Court.

Comparison:

  • Legislature’s control of executive: In Indian parliamentary system, the executive (council of ministers) is derived from the legislature and is collectively responsible to the Parliament (Art 75) while the US President and his cabinet are neither members nor responsible to the legislature. The government in India falls when it loses the confidence of Lok Sabha while the US President has a fixed tenure of office and can be removed only by the extremely cumbersome process of impeachment.
  • Executive’s power over legislature: The US President cannot dissolve the lower house of the legislature whereas in India, the Prime Minister has the power to dissolve the Lok Sabha.
  • Independence of judiciary: The judiciary in both the countries enjoys great amount of Independence. However, while the US Supreme Court judges are appointed by the President, the Indian Supreme Court judges are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the SC collegium. However, the proliferation of Tribunals in India is being seen as the executive taking away some of the judicial functions.

Despite the relationship between legislature and executive in India, the doctrine of Separation of Powers is followed in spirit, and the doctrine is interpreted by the Supreme Court as part of basic structure of the Constitution that cannot be done away with under any circumstances. However, checks and balances exist in both the systems to a varying degree.

Subjects : Polity

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