The Doctrine of Separation of Power, given by Montesquieu, is a principle for division of power and
responsibility between different organs of state i.e. legislature, executive and judiciary. The doctrine
states that each organ of the state should have exclusive and clearly defined roles and responsibilities
which are independent of other two organs. This doctrine ensures that:

  1. There is no concentration of power in a single authority.
  2. Once branch does not interfere with the working of other two branches.
  3. There is no conflict between working of different organs of the state.
  1. Although the doctrine of separation of power is not explicitly mentioned in the Indian constitution, it is
    reflected in constitutional provisions like Article 50 which provides that the state shall take steps to
    separate the judiciary from the executive, Article 122 which prohibit courts to inquire into parliamentary proceedings etc.
    However, strict separation of power is not feasible or practical in India because of:
  2. Parliamentary form of government: The executive is drawn from and is a part of the legislature.
    It is responsible to the legislature for its action. In parliamentary system like India strict SOP is
    not possible.
  3. Check and Balance System: There is system of oversight to prevent the arbitrary use of power.
    For example, Judiciary by using a tool of Judicial Review; Ordinance making power of executive
    and its approval by legislature etc.
  4. More accountable government: In practice, the legislature does not act merely as law making
    body, but also act as an overseer of the executive. Tools like budget approval, no-confidence
    motion, parliamentary committees etc., are meant to ensure a responsible government.
  5. Adherence to doctrine of SOP is difficult in welfare state: India faces many complex socioeconomic
    problems which requires cooperation among various organs of state.
  6. Constitutionally mandated role of judiciary: The constitutional role of judiciary includes judicial
    review and duty to do complete justice. This makes it necessary for judiciary to venture into
    domain of executive and legislature.
  7. Presence of contempt power with the legislature, quasi-judicial bodies like tribunals, delegated
    legislations etc. make strict SOP impractical for India.
    Supreme Court, in the Kesavananda Bharti case (1973), pronounced that the doctrine of separation of power is a basic feature of the constitution. But the doctrine of SOP is included in the constitution with modification by adopting a system of checks and balances

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