The Relationship Between Judiciary and Legislative in India: A Complex Interplay

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow

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Introduction

The relationship between the judiciary and the legislature is an essential aspect of any democratic system. In India, where the Constitution acts as the supreme law, understanding the dynamics between these two branches of government is crucial for appreciating the checks and balances built into the system. In this blog post, we explore the relationship between the judiciary and the legislative in India, shedding light on their roles, interactions, and the delicate balance that sustains democracy.

Constitutional Foundation

The Constitution of India provides a clear demarcation of powers and functions among the three branches of government: the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. While the legislature makes laws, the judiciary interprets them. The judiciary also has the power to review legislative actions to ensure their constitutionality, thereby upholding the rule of law.

The Roles Defined

The Legislature

The primary role of the legislature, comprising the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States), is to formulate laws. It also scrutinizes the actions of the executive, and at times, influences the policymaking process.

The Judiciary

The judiciary’s main function is to interpret the law and administer justice. It has the power to hear cases that challenge the constitutionality of legislative enactments and executive orders.

Points of Intersection

Judicial Review

One of the most significant interactions between the two branches comes in the form of judicial review. Courts in India can review legislative actions to ensure they conform to the Constitution.

Law Interpretation

Courts often interpret vague or unclear laws, which serves as a guide for future legislative and executive actions. These interpretations, while not law, have the force of law until the legislature decides to amend the statute in question.

Public Interest Litigation (PIL)

Judiciary steps in to protect the rights of citizens through PILs, which can indirectly point out lapses in legislation or its implementation, prompting the legislature to act.

Checks and Balances

Legislative Oversight

The legislature has the power to amend the Constitution, subject to certain limitations, which allows it to correct or negate judicial interpretations of the law.

Judicial Independence

Article 50 of the Directive Principles of State Policy calls for separating the judiciary from the executive, ensuring its independence. Judges are appointed through a process that minimizes political influence, and they can only be removed through impeachment, ensuring they are insulated from legislative pressures.

Controversies and Debates

The relationship between the judiciary and the legislature is not without its controversies. Issues such as judicial activism, where the judiciary is perceived to be encroaching upon the domain of the legislature, have been subjects of intense debate.

Conclusion

The relationship between the judiciary and the legislative in India is an intricate one, shaped by constitutional mandates, societal needs, and historical factors. While the two have distinct roles to play in the governance of the country, their functions often intersect, leading to a dynamic relationship. This interplay is critical for maintaining checks and balances, ensuring the rule of law, and upholding democratic principles. Both must function in harmony to ensure a robust and effective democratic system.