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Doctrine Of Separation Of Powers In India

The Indian Constitution has not expressly recognized the Doctrine of Separation of Powers, but there is also the assumption that one wing of the government will not interfere with the other. Separation of Powers are also pillars of rule of law, where government by the law not based in single power but based on the principle of trias politica, which means separation between three independent powers in nation i.e. Legislature, Administration and Judiciary.


The doctrine of separation of powers emerged in the ancient era by Aristotle, in his book ‘Politics’,Further, in the 17th century this theory of three branches of government was reiterated by John Locke, a British Politician in his book ‘Two Treatises of Government’, However, in the 18th century, the term ‘trias politica’ or the doctrine of separation of powers was theorized meticulously by a French jurist, Baron de Montesquieu.


India follows constitutional democracy which offers a clear separation of powers -

  • The judicial powers with the judiciary- the Supreme Court, the High Courts and Subordinate Courts.

  • Parliament has the legislative powers.

  • Executive powers are vested with the President who is advised by the Union Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister.

Though in Cases like I.R Coelho v. State of Tamil Nadu and Indira Gandhi v. Raj Narain, observed the separation of powers was limited, unlike the United States. However, none of the three separate organs of the Republic can take over the functions assigned to the other, even by resorting to Article 368. The Supreme Court in Ram Jawaya Kapur v. State of Punjab, held that: “Indian Constitution has not indeed recognized the doctrine of separation of powers in its absolute rigidity but the functions of the different parts or branches of the governments have been sufficiently differentiated.”


Thus, the principle of separation of powers cannot be applied in any modern Government as complete separation is not possible because co-operation and mutual balance of all the three organs of the government is important for smooth running of the government.

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