Polity is one of the four core subjects of the UPSC Exam preparation. The subject is important for both, the Preliminary as well as the mains examination. ‘Judiciary’ is an important topic for the UPSC Exam. This article gives an introduction to Judiciary.
This unit has been covered under the following segments-
Description of the above segments has been laid down below.
Introduction to Judiciary
Judiciary is that branch of government which interprets the law, settles disputes and administers justice. Laws are like dead letters without courts to explain and expound their meaning. Judiciary is the watchdog of democracy, guardian of the constitution as well as the champion of liberty. Bryce, while extolling the role of the judiciary, observed: “If the lamp of justice goes out in darkness, how great is that darkness”. An impartial and independent judiciary is the most important condition of a civilized government. Bryce has stated that the test of excellence of a good government is the efficiency of its judicial system. Emphasizing the need of impartial judiciary, Willoughby said; “It has been truly said that no tyranny is so great as that of a majority. One of the great problems confronting a people … is … that of providing means by which this danger may be avoided. Experience has shown that this can be done by entrusting to the courts the duty of seeing that no branch of government nor all the branches combined shall take any action contrary to law or in violation of the rights guaranteed to individuals. ” The judiciary, !n order to be fair and uniform, is structurally hierarchically organized. In India, the structure of the judiciary is like a pyramid. The Supreme Court is at the apex, below it, there are High Courts, the next step in the hierarchy are the district courts and at the bottom of the judicial pyramid are the subordinate courts. In the states, having the federal form of government, the judicial structure is arranged in either one or two hierarchies of courts. Where there is a single, integrated hierarchy, as in India, the courts from top to bottom deal with the disputes arising under the laws enacted by the Union Parliament as well as by state legislatures. On the other hand, where there are two hierarchies, as in the USA, the state courts try cases arising out of state laws, while the federal courts try cases arising out of federal laws. Needless to say that a single judicial hierarchy secures unity and integration of the judicial system and uniformity in its administration.
Independence Of Judiciary
Administration of justice is the key task of the judiciary. Justice, which is the soul of the state, must be administered without fear or favour. The judicial branch should remain outside the influence of politics. While interpreting laws and deciding cases, the judges must be impartial and honest. Without independence, impartiality and integrity of the judges are endanged. The first condition for an efficient and impartial judiciary is independence. This independence broadly means the freedom of the judiciary from the control and influence of the executive, the legislature and the people at large. Secondly, impartiality in the administration of justice is as important as independence. Justice should be administered without fear or favour, affection or ill-will. Besides being independent and impartial, the judges should be wise, learned and skilled in their profession. It follows that the judiciary should have certain qualities if it has to perform its functions properly. The following factors/ conditions are indispensable for the efficiency and independence of the judiciary.
Functions Of The Judiciary
The excellence of the judiciary is a measure of the excellence of the government. Judiciary comprises all the law courts in the country, both superior and subordinate. The following are the functions performed by the judiciary in a modem state. 1. Administration of Justice: The primary function of the judiciary is to apply the law to specific cases or disputes. When a dispute is brought before the courts it ‘determines the facts’ involved. The court determines facts through evidence given by the contestants. The court proceeds to decide what law is applicable to the controversy or case in question. By applying the appropriate law to the dispute or case, the court awards judgement. If it finds a person or party guilty of violating laws and rules, it has to impose a penalty on the guilty. Thus, holding a trial and giving judgement is an important aspect of the function of the judge.
Relation Between Judiciary And Legislature
Judiciary cannot be completely separated from the other two organs. Even where there is separation of powers, judiciary is connected with the legislature and the executive in the interest of effective government. The legislature makes the laws and the judiciary interprets them. The legislature sanctions money for maintaining the judicial branch. It determines the conditions of service of the judge. It also in some cases, takes part in the impeachment of judges. The appointment of the judges in some cases, is to be ratified by the legislature as by the Senate in the U. S. A. The Senate sits as a court of impeachment when the president and judges of Supreme Court are to be impeached. In U. K., the House of Lords is the highest court of appeal. In some countries, the judges are elected by the legislature. The judges of the Federal Tribunal of Switzerland, are elected by their respective legislatures. Judiciary, on the other hand, in some states enjoys the right to declare laws made by the legislature ultravires. Where there is separation of powers, the judiciary serves as a check upon the legislature. Besides, judges not only interpret laws but also make laws which are known as the judge made laws or case laws.
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