There are three main categories of governmental functions, and to perform these
three functions, there are three separate organs, namely:
- Legislature and
The doctrine of 'Separation of Powers
' suggests that these three powers and
functions, must always be kept separate and must be performed by three different
organs of the government.
That is to say, there must be no overlap among them:
- The legislature cannot exercise the functions of the judiciary and
- The executive cannot exercise the functions of the judiciary and
- The judiciary cannot exercise the functions of executive and
This idea first emerged in the theories of Plato and Aristotle; however, it was
the French Philosopher 'MONTESQUIEU', who for the first time formulated this
into a proper concept in his book 'Spirit of the Laws' published in the year
Objectives of Separation of Powers:
- Firstly, the concept aims to eliminate arbitrariness and promote an
accountable and democratic form of government.
- Secondly, it prevents the misuse of powers within the different organs
of the government, as it keeps a check on all the branches of the government
by making them accountable for themselves.
- Thirdly, this principle allows all the branches to specialize in their
respective field with an intention to enhance and improve the efficiency of
India practices the parliamentary form of government in which executive and
legislature are linked to each other. So, the doctrine of separation of powers
is not implemented in its strict sense. However, the composition of our
constitution creates no doubt that the Indian Constitution is bound by the
separation of powers. There are various provisions under the Indian Constitution
that clearly demonstrate the existence of the doctrine of separation of powers.
This principle is followed both at the centre and the state level.
Quasi-Judicial Bodies (An Exception to Separation of Powers in India)
A quasi-judicial body is a body which has functions resembling those of a court
of law or judge such as an arbitrator or tribunal board. It is under a duty to
objectively determine facts and draw conclusions from them so as to provide the
basis of an official action. Their powers are usually limited to a very specific
area of expertise and authority, such as land use and zoning, financial markets,
public standards etc. National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for
Women, National Commission for Minorities, etc. are examples of quasi-judicial
- They can adjudicate and decide penalties on the guilty.
- They are different from judicial bodies in that their field is limited
compared to a court.
- They can be formed on a matter pending in court, by a court order if the
court considers it necessary; the court reserves the right to appoint
members of such a body.
- They can be tribunals for a specific domain, or like an arbitrator.
Central administrative tribunal:
This is constituted to look into the matter related to service dispute of civil
servants. For example, determination of age of civil servant in case of dispute
National Human right commission:
National Human Rights Commission is a quasi-judicial body which looks into cases
of specifically Human Rights violation. It was established under the Human right
act 1993. They can investigate human right abuse and can recommend the steps to
It is constitutional bodies that mainly function for the conduct, control,
supervise the election. It also performs judicial function e.g., determination
of disqualification of Member of legislator or examining the violation of model
code of conduct.
Other regulatory bodies:
SEBI, TRAI, IRDA etc. are some other quasi-judicial regulatory bodies. Their
main function is to ensure transparency in the market economy. They also take
judicial measures e.g., punishing in case of violation of rules through fines