This Blog is written by Pagadala Rajeev, a student of 3rd semester pursuing B.A., LL.B at Lovely Professional University. In this blog, I will discuss the topic “Independence of judiciary”.
Table of Contents
Meaning of Independence of Judiciary
In simple terms, Independence of Judiciary means that-
- The other organs of the government, i.e., the Executive and Legislature must not restrain the functioning of the judiciary in such a way that it is unable to distribute justice;
- The other organs of the government should not obstruct or stand in the way of the decisions of the judiciary;
- Judges must be able to perform their functions without terror (fear) or favour. In other words, judges should be autonomous and free from restrictions, temptation, influence, constraints and threats direct or indirect from the executive or legislative. Not only this, judges must be independent and free of their colleagues and superiors in the discharge of their judicial functions.
Need and Importance of Independence of Judiciary
An impartial and independent judiciary can stand as a defensive wall for the protection of the rights of individuals and mete out even-handed justice without fear or favour. An independent judiciary is a sine qua non of a democratic system of government. The judiciary is the protector of the constitution and it has the power to strike down particular laws passed by the Parliament if it believes that these are unconstitutional. Also, for the rule of law to prevail, judicial independence is of prime necessity.
Keeping in view the functions of the judiciary, it is essential that the judiciary should be made autonomous and independent. If the judiciary is not sovereign, it will not be able to give decisions against the government and protect the fundamental rights and the constitution. Today in all democratic countries, the independence of the judiciary is considered essential so that the fundamental rights of the people are protected. That is why in democratic countries, the judiciary is considered the custodian of the freedom of the people and also of the constitution. In countries, where there is no democracy, the judiciary is not independent or free, and the fundamental rights of the people are not protected.
Factors, Which Make the Judiciary Independent
In order to make the Judiciary independent, the following methods are adopted in different countries:
Mode of Appointment of Judges
In advanced countries of the world, generally, three modes are adopted for the appointment of judges. These are (a) Election by the people; (b) Election by the Legislature; (c) Appointment by the Executive.
The system of the appointment of judges by the people is in vogue in many states of America In the Indian states of Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra, the Presidents of the Judicial Panchayats are also elected by the people.
For the independence of the judiciary, the long tenure of the judges is as essential as a good mode of their appointment. If the tenure of the judges is short, its consequences will be bad. In case of short tenure, the judge will remain busy planning for his re-election. If the tenure is short, the judge is unable to comprehend fully the various complications of the law.
Security Of Service
For the independence of judiciary, it is essential that there should be security of service for the judges and the executive should not remove them at will. If the judges are under constant fear of being removed from office, then they will not give decisions against the executive (government) even if it is wrong. Thus there will be no protection of the constitution and fundamental rights of the people.
Adequate salary for the Judges
In order to make the judges independent it is necessary that they should be paid adequately so that they are able to maintain a good standard of living. If the judges are adequately paid, able persons will be attracted towards this profession and they will enjoy an honourable place in society.
Separation of Judiciary from the Control of the Executive
For the independence of the judiciary, Montesquieu emphasised that it should be free from the control of the executive. In the ancient and middle ages, the judiciary was under the control of the executive. It destroyed the freedom of the people. Therefore, today efforts are made to free the judiciary from the control of the executive, so that the judges may give decisions fearlessly.
An Independent Judiciary is the sine qua non of a democratic system of government and is important for the purpose of fair justice. Judicial Independence means the executive or legislature should not intervene in the functioning or decisions of the judiciary as well as judges could perform their duties without any fear or favour. In case of intervention, the judges may fail to take a fair decision and there may be an element of bias on the part of the judges. In order to make the judiciary independent, the mode of the appointment of judges should be good, their dismissal should be very difficult, their tenure should be long and they should be paid adequately. The Independence of the Judiciary plays a central role in upholding the law and protecting the rights of individuals. Judiciary is the guardian of the constitution and defender of the fundamental rights of the people. For the performance of this role, it is essential that the judiciary must be independent.