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Separation Of Powers: Its Scope And Changing Equations Introduction There are three distinct activities in every government

through which the will of the people are expressed. These are the legislative, executive and judicial functions of the government. Corresponding to these three activities are three organs of the government, namely the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The legislative organ of the state makes laws, the executive enforces them and the judiciary applies them to the specific cases arising out of the breach of law. Each organ while performing its activities tends to interfere in the sphere of working of another functionary because a strict demarcation of functions is not possible in their dealings with the general public. Thus, even when acting in ambit of their own power, overlapping functions tend to appear amongst these organs. The question which assumes significance over here is that what should be the relation among these three organs of the state. Whether there should be complete separation of powers or there should be co-ordination among them. An analysis into these three organs and the relations between them is to be done with the experience in different countries along with India which will give a clear idea about this doctrine and its importance in different Constitutions. Today all the systems might not be opting for the strict separation of powers because that is undesirable and impracticable but implications of this concept can be seen in almost all the countries in its diluted form. Background It is widely accepted that for a political system to be stable, the holders of power need to be balanced off against each other. The principle of separation of powers deals with the mutual relations among the three organs of the government, namely legislature, executive and judiciary. This doctrine tries to bring exclusiveness in the functioning of the three organs and hence a strict demarcation of power is the aim sought to be achieved by this principle. This doctrine signifies the fact that one person or body of persons should not exercise all the three powers of the government. Montesquieu, a French scholar, found that concentration of power in one person or a group of persons results in tyranny. And therefore for decentralization of power to check arbitrariness, he felt the need for vesting the governmental power in three different organs, the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. The principle implies that each organ should be independent of the other and that no organ should perform functions that belong to the other. Montesquieu in the following words stated the Doctrine of Separation of PowersThere would be an end of everything, were the same man or same body, whether of the nobles or of the people, to exercise those three powers, that of enacting laws, that of executing the public resolutions, and of trying the causes of individuals. Through his doctrine Montesquieu tried to explain that the union of the executive and the legislative power would lead to the despotism of the executive, for it could get whatever laws it wanted to have, whenever it wanted them. Similarly the union of the legislative power and the judiciary would provide no defence for the individual against the state. The importance of the doctrine lies in the fact that it seeks to preserve the human liberty by avoiding concentration of powers in one person or body of persons.

The same was expounded by the Madison asThe accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judicial, in the same hands whether of one, a few, or many and whether hereditary, self-appointed or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. Therefore, separation of powers doctrine acts as a check against Tyrannical rule. The purpose underlying the separation doctrine is to diffuse governmental authority so as to prevent absolutism and guard against arbitrary and tyrannical powers of the state, and to allocate each function to the institution best suited to discharge it. Separation Of Powers Under Different Constitutions Despite the safeguards it gives against tyranny, the modern day societies find it very difficult to apply it rigidly. In principle they go for separation of powers and dilution of powers simultaneously. U.S.A. The doctrine of separation finds its home in U.S. It forms the basis of the American constitutional structure. Art. I vests the legislative power in the Congress; Art. II vests executive power in the President and Art. III vests judicial power in the Supreme Court. The framers of the American constitution believed that the principle of separation of powers would help to prevent the rise of tyrannical government by making it impossible for a single group of persons to exercise too much power. Accordingly they intended that the balance of power should be attained by checks and balances between separate organs of the government. This alternative system existing with the separation doctrine prevents any organ to become supreme. Despite of the express mention of this doctrine in the Constitution, U.S. incorporates certain exceptions to the principle of separation with a view to introduce system of checks and balances. For example, a bill passed by the Congress may be vetoed by the President in the exercise of his legislative power. Also treaty making power is with the President but its not effective till approved by the Senate. It was the exercise of executive power of the senate due to which U.S. couldnt become a member to League of Nations. The Supreme Court has the power to declare the acts passed by the congress as unconstitutional. There are other functions of an organ also which are exercised by the other. India, too, followed U.S. in adoption of the checks and balances which make sure that the individual organs doesnt behold the powers absolutely. This means that functioning of one organ is checked by the other to an extent so that no organ may misuse the power. Therefore the constitution which gives a good mention of the doctrine in its provisions also does not follow it in its rigidity and hence has opted for dilution of powers just like India. U.K. Before we go to India, its important to know the constitutional setup of the country to which India was a colony and ultimately owes the existence of the form of government it has. U.K. follows a parliamentary form of government where the Crown is the nominal head and the real legislative functions are performed by the Parliament. The existence of a cabinet system refutes the doctrine of separation of powers completely. It is the Cabinet which is the real head of the executive, instead of the Crown. It initiates legislations, controls the legislature, it even holds the power to dissolve the assembly . The resting of two powers in a single body, therefore denies the fact that there is any kind of separation of powers in England. India Though, just like American constitution, in Indian constitution also, there is express mention that

the executive power of the Union and of a State is vested by the constitution in the President and the Governor, respectively, by articles 53(1) and 154(1), but there is no corresponding provision vesting the legislative and judicial powers in any particular organ. It has accordingly been held that there is no rigid separation of powers. Although prima facie it appears that our constitution has based itself upon doctrine of separation of powers. Judiciary is independent in its field and there can be no interference with its judicial functions either by the executive or the legislature. Constitution restricts the discussion of the conduct of any judge in the Parliament. The High Courts and the Supreme Court has been given the power of judicial review and they can declare any law passed by parliament as unconstitutional. The judges of the S.C. are appointed by the President in consultation with the CJI and judges of the S.C. The S.C. has power to make Rules for efficient conduction of business . It is noteworthy that A. 50 of the constitution puts an obligation over state to take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive. But, since it is a DPSP, therefore its unenforceable. In a similar fashion certain constitutional provisions also provide for Powers, Privileges and Immunities to the MPs , Immunity from judicial scrutiny into the proceedings of the house , etc. Such provisions are thereby making legislature independent, in a way. The Constitution provides for conferment of executive power on the President. His powers and functions are enumerated in the constitution itself. The President and the Governor enjoy immunity from civil and criminal liabilities. But, if studied carefully, it is clear that doctrine of separation of powers has not been accepted in India in its strict sense. The executive is a part of the legislature. It is responsible to the legislature for its actions and also it derives its authority from legislature. India, since it is a parliamentary form of government, therefore it is based upon intimate contact and close coordination among the legislative and executive wings. However, the executive power vests in the President but, in reality he is only a formal head and that, the Real head is the Prime minister along with his Council of Ministers. The reading of Art. 74(1) makes it clear that the executive head has to act in accordance with the aid and advice given by the cabinet. Generally the legislature is the repository of the legislative power but, under some specified circumstances President is also empowered to exercise legislative functions. Like while issuing an ordinance , framing rules and regulations relating to Public service matters , formulating law while proclamation of emergency is in force . These were some instances of the executive head becoming the repository of legislative functioning. President performs judicial functions also . On the other side, in certain matters Parliament exercises judicial functions too. It can decide the question of breach of its privilege , and in case of impeaching the President; both the houses take active participation and decide the charges Judiciary, in India, too can be seen exercising administrative functions when it supervises all the subordinate courts below . It has legislative power also which is reflected in formulation of rules regulating their own procedure for the conduct and disposal of cases So, its quite evident from the constitutional provisions themselves that India, being a parliamentary democracy, does not follow an absolute separation and is, rather based upon fusion of powers, where a close co-ordination amongst the principal organs is unavoidable and the constitutional scheme itself mentions it. The doctrine has, thus, not been awarded a Constitutional status. Thus, every organ of the government is required to perform all the three types of functions. Also, each organ is, in some form or the other, dependant on the other organ

which checks and balances it. The reason for the interdependence can be accorded to the parliamentary form of governance followed in our country. But, this doesnt mean that this doctrine is not followed in India at all. Except where the constitution has vested power in a body, the principle that one organ should not perform functions which essentially belong to others is followed. This observation was made by the Supreme Court in the re Delhi Laws Act case, wherein, it was held by a majority of 5:2, that, the theory of separation of powers is not part and parcel of our Constitution. But, it was also held that except for exceptional circumstances like in A. 123, A. 357, it is evident that constitution intends that the powers of legislation shall be exercised exclusively by the Legislature. As Kania, C.J., observedAlthough in the constitution of India there is no express separation of powers, it is clear that a legislature is created by the constitution and detailed provisions are made for making that legislature pass laws. Does it not imply that unless it can be gathered from other provisions of the constitution, other bodies-executive or judicial-are not intended to discharge legislative functions? In essence they imported the modern doctrine of separation of powers. While dealing with the application of this doctrine, it is quintessential to mention the relevant cases which clarify the situation further. Separation of Powers and Judicial Pronouncements in India In India, we follow a separation of functions and not of powers. And hence, we dont abide by the principle in its rigidity. An example of it can be seen in the exercise of functions by the Cabinet ministers, who exercise both legislative and executive functions. A. 74(1) wins them an upper hand over the executive by making their aid and advice mandatory for the formal head. The executive, thus, is derived from the legislature and is dependant on it, for its legitimacy. This was the observation made by the Honble S.C. in Ram Jawaya v. Punjab. On the question that where the amending power of the Parliament does lies and whether A. 368 confers an unlimited amending power on Parliament, the S.C. in Kesavananda Bharati held that amending power was now subject to the basic features of the constitution. And hence, any amendment tampering these essential features will be struck down as unconstitutional. Beg, J. added that separation of powers is a part of the basic structure of the constitution. None of the three separate organs of the republic can take over the functions assigned to the other. This scheme cannot be changed even by resorting to A. 368 of the constitution . There are attempts made to dilute the principle, to the level of usurpation of judicial power by the legislature. In a subsequent case law, S.C. had occasion to apply the Kesavananda ruling regarding the non-amend ability of the basic features of the constitution and a strict adherence to doctrine of separation of powers can be seen. In Indira Gandhi Nehru v. Raj Narain , where the dispute regarding P.M. election was pending before the Supreme Court, it was held that adjudication of a specific dispute is a judicial function which parliament, even under constitutional amending power, cannot exercise . So, the main ground on which the amendment was held ultravires was that when the constituent body declared that the election of P.M. wont be void, it discharged a judicial function which according to the principle of separation it shouldnt have done. The place of this doctrine in Indian context was made a bit clearer after this judgment. Though in India strict separation of powers like in American sense is not followed but, the principle of checks and balances, a part of this doctrine is. Therefore, none of the three organs

can usurp the essential functions of the organs, which constitute a part of basic structure doctrine so much so that, not even by amending the constitution and if any such amendment is made, the court will strike it down as unconstitutional. Conclusion It has been well said by Lord Acton:- Power corrupts and absolute Power tends to corrupt absolutely . Conferment of power in a single body leads to absolutism. But, even after distinguishing the functions, when an authority wields public power, then providing absolute and sole discretion to the body in the matters regarding its sphere of influence may also cause abuse of such power. Therefore, the doctrine of separation of powers is a theoretical concept and is impracticable to follow it absolutely. The status of modern state is a lot more different than what it used to be. It has evolved a great deal from a minimal, non-interventionist state to an welfare state, wherein it has multifarious roles to play, like that of a protector, arbiter, controller, provider. This omnipresence of the state has rendered its functions becoming diverse and problems, interdependent and any serious attempt to define and separate those functions would cause inefficiency in government. Hence, a distinction is made between essential and incidental powers of an organ. According to this differentiation one organ cant claim the powers essentially belonging to other organ because that would be a violation of the principle of separation of powers. But, it can claim the exercise of the incidental functions of another organ. This distinction prevents encroachment of an organ into the essential sphere of activity of the other. It is the exercise of incidental powers only which has made executive grow everywhere in this social welfare state. It has assumed a vital role but, it has not usurped any role from any other wing. It just happened that the other two organs, namely, judiciary and legislature, became unsuitable for undertaking the functions of this welfare state and as a consequence the functions of the executive increased. As controller and provider, the judicial processes were very time consuming and the legislature was overburdened with work. Therefore, it was in natural scheme of things which made the administrators end up performing a variety of roles in the modern state including those of legislature and judiciary too, to an extent. Further, the check of the adjudicators over functionings of the other two has been regarded as an essential feature of the basic structure theory. The judicial review power is a preventive measure in a democratic country which prevents administrators and law-makers to exercise their whims and caprices on the lay man and turn it into a despotic regime. There have been cases where the judiciary has dictated the ambit of their power to the implementers and the mode to exercise it. Not even the representatives of people are immune to the power of the courts. Two recent Supreme Court judgments- on the cash-for-query case and on the Ninth Schedule have once again brought the powers and roles of the legislature and the judiciary into focus. In the case of the former, the court upheld the Lok Sabhas decision to expel members of Parliament, who were caught on camera taking bribes, but clearly rejected the contention that it cannot review parliaments power to expel MPs and claimed for itself the role of final arbiter on decisions taken by the legislature. The judgment on the Ninth Schedule has curtailed Parliaments power to keep certain progressive laws outside judicial Review. In the Second case, i.e., I.R. Coelho vs. State of Tamil Nadu , S.C. took the help of doctrine of basic structure as propounded in Kesavananda Bharati case and said that Ninth Schedule is violative of this doctrine and hence from now on the Ninth Schedule will be amenable to judicial

review which also forms part of the basic feature theory. The basic structure theory and the Golden triangle comprising of A.14, 19, and 21, will now be the criterion in scrutiny of the Ninth Schedule. In a democratic country goals are enshrined in the constitution and the state machinery is then setup accordingly. And here it can be seen that constitutional provisions are made as such to support a parliamentary form of government where the principle cant be followed rigidly. The S.C. rulings also justify that the alternative system of checks and balances is the requirement, not the strict doctrine. Constitutionalism, the philosophical concept of the constitution also insists on limitations being placed upon governmental power to secure basic freedoms of the individual. Hence, the conclusion drawn out of the study is that there is no strict separation of powers but the functions of the different branches of the government have been sufficiently differentiated.

Separation of powers
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Separation of powers, a term ascribed to French Enlightenment political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu,[1][2] is a model for the governance of democraticstates. The model is also known as trias politica. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the uncodified Constitution of the Roman Republic. Under this model, the state is divided into branches or estates, each with separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility. The normal division of estates is into an executive, a legislature, and a judiciary.

Parliamentary democracies do not have distinct separation of powers. The executive, which often consists of a prime minister and cabinet ("government"), is drawn from the legislature (parliament). This is the principle of responsible government. However, although the legislative and executive branches are connected, in parliamentary systems there is usually an independent judiciary and the Governments role in Parliament does not give them unlimited Legislative powers. No democratic system exists with an absolute separation of powers or an absolute lack of separation of powers. Nonetheless, some systems are clearly founded on the principle of separation of powers, while others are clearly based on a fusion of powers.


1 Origins in the Constitution of the Roman Republic 2 Montesquieu's tripartite system 3 Separation of powers vs. fusion of powers 4 Other branches 4.1 Auditory 4.2 Civil examination 4.3 Data 4.4 Electoral 4.5 The people 4.6 Independent executive agencies 4.7 The press 4.7.1 The press around the world 5 Various models around the world 5.1 Australia: three branches 5.2 People's Republic of China 5.3 Costa Rica: five branches 5.4 European Union 5.5 France 5.6 Germany: three branches and six bodies 5.7 Republic of China ("Taiwan"): five branches of government 5.8 United Kingdom 5.9 United States: three branches 5.9.1 Checks and balances 5.9.2 Maintaining balance 5.9.3 State and local governments 5.10 Venezuela: five branches

6 Criticisms 7 Related restraint-of-power concepts 8 See also 9 Notes 10 References 11 External links

Origins in the Constitution of the Roman Republic

The government of the Roman Republic divided power into three independent branches: the senate, the legislative branch, and the executive branch. The Senate made military and foreign policy, and directed domestic policy. It also issued orders to executive branch officials, which were usually obeyed. The Senate was not a legislative body and it did not pass laws. The legislative branch had two primary functions. First, it elected all executive officials. Election to such office usually meant automatic membership in the senate (senate terms were for life). The second major function of the legislative branch was to pass domestic laws. These legislative assemblies were not bodies of elected representatives. Rather, they were bodies of citizens, participating in a direct-democracy legislative system. The laws (Latin: lex) passed by these assemblies were called plebiscites, the modern equivalent of popular referendums. Members of the executive branch commanded the military, enforced the laws, and acted as high judges. A network of checks and balances existed between the three branches. This system of checks and balances was designed to prevent the accumulation of too much power into the hands of a single person.

Montesquieu's tripartite system

Montesquieu described division of political power among an executive, a legislature, and a judiciary. He based this model on the British constitutional system, in which he perceived a separation of powers among the monarch, Parliament, and the courts of law. Subsequent writers have noted that this was misleading, because Great Britain had a very closely connected legislature and executive, with further links to the judiciary (though combined with judicial independence).

Montesquieu did specify that "the independence of the judiciary has to be real, and not apparent merely".[3] "The judiciary was generally seen as the most important of powers, independent and unchecked", and also considered the least dangerous.[3] Some politicians decry judicial action against them as a "criminalization" of their behavior, but such "criminalization" may be seen as a response to corruption, collusion, or abuse of power by these politicians.[4]

Separation of powers vs. fusion of powers

In democratic systems of governance, a continuum exists between "Presidential government" and "Parliamentary government". "Separation of powers" is a feature more inherent to presidential systems, whereas "fusion of powers" is characteristic of parliamentary ones. "Mixed systems" fall somewhere in between, usually near the midpoint; the most notable example of a mixed system is France's (current) Fifth Republic. In fusion of powers, one government (invariably the elected legislature) is supreme, and the other estates are subservient to it. In separation of powers, each estate is largely (although not necessarily entirely) independent of the others. Independent in this context means either that selection of each estate happens independently of the other estates or at least that each estate is not beholden to any of the others for its continued existence. Accordingly, in a fusion of powers system such as that of the United Kingdom, first described as such by Walter Bagehot, the people elect the legislature, which in turn "creates" the executive. As Professor Cheryl Saunders writes, "...the intermixture of institutions [in the UK] is such that it is almost impossible to describe it as a separation of powers."[5] In a separation of powers, the national legislature does not select the person or persons[6] of the executive; instead, the executive is chosen by other means (direct popular election, electoral college selection, etc.) In a parliamentary system, when the term of the legislature ends, so too may the tenure of the executive selected by that legislature. Although in a presidential system the executive's term may or may not coincide with the legislature's, their selection is technically independent of the legislature. However, when the executive's party controls the legislature, the executive often reaps the benefits of what is, in effect, a "fusion of powers". Such situations may thwart the constitutional goal or normal popular perception that the

legislature is the more democratic branch or the one "closer to the people", reducing it to a virtual "consultative assembly", politically or procedurally unableor unwillingto hold the executive accountable in the event of blatant, even boldly admitted, "high crimes and misdemeanors."

Other branches

With the title Comptroller General, Auditor General or Comptroller and Auditor General, the European Union's Court of Auditors and Taiwan's Control Yuan are individual or bodies of independentombudsmen. They are often independent of the other branches of government. Their purpose is to audit government expenditure and general activity. Also non as checks and balance
Civil examination

Sun Yat Sen proposed a branch of government based on the Imperial examination system used in China. The "Examination Yuan" (Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Kosh Yun), as it is called in Taiwan, is in charge of validating the qualification of civil servants. This structure has been implemented in the Republic of China.

In Germany, as in the rest of the EU, there is a notion of data protection. In Germany it is represented by its own commissioners. Additionally there is the BStU dealing with the Stasi archives and the German Federal Archives, each providing access to data only in accordance with special laws.

Costa Rica's Supreme Elections Tribunal is a branch of government that manages elections. Similar independent institutions exist in many other democratic countries, however they are not seen as a branch of government. In many countries, these are known as Electoral Commissions.

The people

Many philosophers and political scientists believe that democratic governments are created and constitutions exist to serve the people. The people have their own system of checks and balances by electing the legislative and executive branches. The government also draws its power directly from the people. Without the people, there is no government, just as without the legislative branch, there can be no judicial branch. In the Constitution of Venezuela, the "citizen's power" is a formal branch of government, though it acts like auditors' branches in other jurisdictions. See also:

Direct democracy Initiative Referendum Recall election

Independent executive agencies

The federal executive of the United States is a very large bureaucracy, and due to civil service rules, most middle- and low-level government workers do not change when a new President is elected. (New high-level officials are usually appointed and must be confirmed by the United States Senate.) Moreover, semi-independent agencies (such as the Federal Reserve or the Federal Communications Commission) may be created within the executive by the legislature. These agencies exercise legally defined regulatory powers. High-level regulators are appointed by the President and confirmed by the legislature; they must follow the law and certain lawful executive orders. But they often sit for long, fixed terms and enjoy reasonable independence from other policy makers. Because of its importance to modern governance, the regulatory bureaucracy of the executive is sometimes referred to as a "fourth" branch of government. This separation is even more pronounced in the United Kingdom. The separation was a prominent element of the Yes Minister comedy television series.

The press

The press has been described as a "fourth power" because of its considerable influence over public opinion (which in turn affects the outcome of elections), as well as its indirect influence in the branches of government by, for example, its support or criticism of pending legislation or policy changes. It has rarely, however, been a formal branch of democratic government; nor have political philosophers suggested that it become one. The press is also sometimes referred to as the Fourth Estate, a term of French origin, which is not related to the modern three-branch system of government. Originally, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution explicitly guaranteed freedom of the press only against interference by the federal government. Later this right was extended by the United States Supreme Court in the Incorporation Cases to cover state and local governments. Traditionally, the press has been the "voice of the people", keeping government somewhat in check. Examples of this were the Watergate scandal, where two Washington Post reporters exposed corruption andcoverup at the highest levels of government, or the Adscam (Sponsorship scandal) which was uncovered by the press in Canada. This exposure caused the resignation, firing, or prosecution of many officials. There exist situations where the press can affect public opinion in ways that are contrary to the spirit of separation of powers. One of the most compelling of these situations is when the state controls the content and distribution of the information disseminated by the press. However, even if the press is immune to censorship and compulsion from the government, the controlling entity of a press association or media outlet must almost always edit, and may editorialize, providing opportunities to affect public opinion in ways that may contradict public interest. In all cases, the "voice of the people" (as perceived by some) is modified by the opinions of those producing the stories.
The press around the world

Freedom of the reporting media is generally considered to be essential for the perpetuation of democratic governments, and it is found in all strong democracies, regardless of the organizational principle of the "branches" of government. Many governments financially support public broadcasting in some way, but in strong democracies these media outlets can enjoy wide editorial latitude. An independent press acts as a powerful check on all forms of government by providing information about governmental activities to the public. There are weighty arguments to suggest that the press is the external 4th branch which continuously scrutinizes a government's operations, with David Blunkett's two resignations as both Home Secretary(2004) and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2005) as particular examples.

Various models around the world

Constitutions with a high degree of separation of powers are found worldwide. The UK system is distinguished by a particular entwining of powers. India's democratic system also offers a clear separation of power under Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament), Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament), and the President of India, who overlooks independent governing branches such as the Election commission and the Judiciary. Under the Indian constitution, just as in the British system, the Prime Minister is a head of the governing party and functions through a selected group of ministers. In Italy the powers are completely separated, even if Council of Ministers need the vote of confidence from both chambers of Parliament, that's however formed by a wide number of members (almost 1,000). Countries with little separation of power include New Zealand and Canada. Canada makes limited use of separation of powers in practice, although in theory it distinguishes between branches of government. Complete separation-of-powers systems are almost always presidential, although theoretically this need not be the case. There are a few historical exceptions, such as the Directoire system of revolutionary France. Switzerland offers an example of non-Presidential separation of

powers today: It is run by a seven-member executive branch, the Federal Council. However, some might argue that Switzerland does not have a strong separation of powers system, as the Federal Council is appointed by parliament (but not dependent on parliament), and the judiciary has no power of review.
Australia: three branches People's Republic of China Costa Rica: five branches

After eight years of social conflict, the question of who would lead Costa Rica and which transformational model the State would use was decided by who killed the president. A constituent assembly followed and drew up a new constitution, approved in 1949. This document was an edit of the constitution of 1871, as the constituent assembly rejected more radical corporatist ideas proposed by the ruling junta. Nonetheless, the new constitution increased centralization of power at the expense of municipalities and eliminated provincial government altogether. It established the three supreme powers as the legislature, executive, and judicial branches, but also created two other autonomous state organs that have equivalent power but not equivalent rank. The first is the Supreme Elections Tribunal (electoral branch) which controls elections and makes unique, unappealable decisions on their outcomes. The second is the office of the Comptroller General (auditory branch), an autonomous and independent organ nominally subordinate to the unicameral legislative assembly. All budgets of ministries and municipalities must pass through this agency, including the execution of budget items such as contracting for routine operations. The Comptroller also provides financial vigilance over government offices and office holders, and routinely brings actions to remove mayors for malfeasance, firmly establishing this organization as the fifth branch of the Republic.
European Union

The branches of the European Union are slightly mixed due to the complex nature of the EU's design. There are five institutions of the European Union. The functioning of the EU is split into intergovernmental and supranational spheres (see three pillars of the European Union). In intergovernmental matters, most power is concentrated in the Council of the European Union giving it the characteristics of a normalinternational organization. Here, all power at EU level is in one branch. In the latter there are four main actors. The European Commission acts as an independent executive which is appointed by the Council in conjunction with the European Parliament. The European Parliament is one half of the legislative branch and is directly elected. The Council itself acts both as the second half of the legislative branch and also holds some executive functions (some of which are exercised by the related European Council in practice). The European Court of Justice acts as the independent judicial branch, interpreting EU law and treaties. The remaining institution, the European Court of Auditors, is an independent auditory authority (due to the sensitive nature of fraud in the EU).

European Commission - executive European Parliament - legislative Council of the European Union - legislative and executive European Court of Justice - judicial European Court of Auditors - auditory

France Germany: three branches and six bodies

The six main bodies enshrined in the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany are:

Federal President (Bundesprsident) - executive Federal Cabinet (Bundesregierung) - executive Federal Diet (Bundestag) & Federal Council (Bundesrat) - legislative Federal Assembly (Bundesversammlung) - presidential electoral college Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) - judiciary

The Bundesversammlung is primiraliy constituted of members of the Bundestag and Bundesrat. Besides the constitutional court the judicial branch at the federal level is made up of five supreme courts - one for civil and criminal cases (Bundesgerichtshof), and one each for administrative, tax, labour, and social security issues. There are also state (Lnder / Bundeslnder) based courts beneath them, and a rarely used senate of the supreme courts.
Republic of China ("Taiwan"): five branches of government

Some countries take the doctrine further than the three-branch system. The politics of the Republic of China, for example, has five branches: the Executive Yuan, Legislative Yuan, Judicial Yuan, Control Yuan, and Examination Yuan. Due in part to the Republic's youth, the relationship between its executive and legislative branches are poorly defined. An example of the problems this causes is the near complete political paralysis that results when the president, who has neither the power to veto nor the ability to dissolve the legislature and call new elections, cannot negotiate with the legislature when his party is in the minority.[7]
United Kingdom

Although the principle of separation of power plays a role in the United Kingdom's constitutional doctrine, the UK constitution is often described as having "a weak separation of powers", despite its constitution being the one to which Montesquieu originally referred. For example, in the United Kingdom, the executive forms a subset of the legislature, as doesto a lesser extentthe judiciary. The Prime Minister, the chief executive, must by convention be a Member of the House of Commons and can effectively be removed from office by a simple majority vote. Furthermore, while the courts in Britain are undoubtedly amongst the most independent in the world, the Law Lords, who are the final arbiters of judicial disputes in the UK, sit simultaneously in the House of Lords, the upper house of the legislature, although this arrangement will cease in 2009 when the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom comes into existence. Furthermore, because of the existence

of Parliamentary sovereignty, while the theory of separation of powers may be studied in Britain, a system such as that of the UK is more accurately described as a "fusion of powers." The development of the British constitution, which is not written down in one document, is based on this fusion in the person of the Monarch, who has a formal role to play in the legislature (Parliament, which is where legal and political sovereignty lies, is the Crown-in-Parliament, and is summoned and dissolved by the Queen who must give her Royal Assent to all Bills so that they become Acts), the executive (the Queen appoints all ministers of Her Majesty's Government, who govern in the name of the Crown) and the judiciary (the Queen, as the fount of justice, appoints all senior judges, and all public prosecutions are brought in her name). The British legal system is based on common law traditions which require:

Police or regulators cannot initiate complaints under criminal law but can only investigate (prosecution is mostly reserved for the Crown Prosecution Service), which prevents selective enforcement, e.g. the 'fishing expedition' which is often specifically forbidden. Prosecutors cannot withhold evidence from attorneys for the defendant; to do so results in mistrial or dismissal. Accordingly, their relation to police is no advantage. Defendants convicted can appeal, but no new evidence can usually be introduced, restricting the power of the court of appeal to the process of law applied.

United States: three branches

In the United States Constitution, Article I Section I gives Congress only those "legislative powers herein granted" and proceeds to list those permissible actions in Article I Section 8, while Section 9 lists actions that are prohibited for Congress. The vesting clause in Article II places no limits on the Executive branch, simply stating that, "The Executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America."[8] The Supreme Court holds "The judicial Power" according to Article III, and it established the implication of Judicial review in Marbury vs Madison.[9] The federal government refers to the branches as "branches of government", while some

systems use "government" to describe the executive. The Executive branch has attempted to usurp power from Congress arguing for Separation of powers to include being the Commander in Chief of a standing army since the Civil war, executive orders, emergency powers and security classifications since WWII, national security, signing statements, and now the concept of a unitary executive.
Checks and balances

To prevent one branch from becoming supreme, and to induce the branches to cooperate, governance systems that employ a separation of powers need a way to balance each of the branches. Typically this was accomplished through a system of "checks and balances", the origin of which, like separation of powers itself, is specifically credited to Montesquieu. Checks and balances allows for a system based regulation that allows one branch to limit another, such as the power of Congress to alter the composition and jurisdiction of the federal courts.
Legislative Executive Judicial Also known as Preserves, protects Determines which jurisdiction Congress and defends the any given case falls under Makes all laws. Constitution Judges when a law is Controls all the Faithfully executes unconstitutional money; taxes, the laws of the Has the responsibility to borrows, and sets the United States administer Constitutional law budget (with Executes the and to apply it to constitutional exception of instructions of disputes unappropriated Congress Determines the disposition of spending by central May veto laws but prisoners bank). the veto may be May legally compel testimony Has sole power to overridden by and the production of evidence declare war. Congress by a 2/3 as the law provides. Oversees, majority. Judges and competently investigates, and Executes the administers uniform policies via makes the rules for spending the appeals process, but gives the government and authorized by discretion in individual cases to its officers. Congress low-level judges. (The amount Appoints the heads of Executes the of discretion depends upon the the executive branch. instructions of standard of review, determined Confirms federal Congress when it by the type of case in question.) judicial appointments. declares war or Oversees and administers Ratifies treaties. makes rules for the members of the judiciary military

Originates cases of impeachment.

Declares states of emergency and publishes regulations and executive orders Appoints judges with the advice and consent of the Senate President and VicePresident can be impeached and removed from office by Congress Has the power to grant pardons for crimes against the United States

Is subject to impeachment by Congress

Maintaining balance

The theoretical independence of the executive and legislative branches is partly maintained by the fact that they are separately elected and are held directly accountable to the public. There are also judicial prohibitions against certain types of interference in each others' affairs. (See "separation of powers" cases in the List of United States Supreme Court cases.) Judicial independence is maintained by life appointments of judges, with voluntary retirement, and a high threshold for removal by the legislature. In recent years, there have been accusations that the power to interpret the law is being misused (judicial activism) by some judges in the US. In the checks and balances system, the judicial branch has the right to say that something is unconstitutional, like a law or a bill (Credited to an opinion piece by Chief Justice John Marshall presiding over the case of Marbury v. Madison (1803)). The legal mechanisms constraining the powers of the three branches depend a great deal on the sentiment of the people. A common perception is that popular support establishes legitimacy and makes possible the actual implementation of legal authority. National crises (such as the Civil War, the Great Depression, pre-Pearl Harbor World War II, the Vietnam War) have been the times at which the principle of separation of powers has been most endangered, either through official "misbehavior" or through the willingness

of the public to sacrifice such principles if more pressing problems are solved. The system of checks and balances is also self-reinforcing. Potential abuse of power may be deterred, and the legitimacy and sustainability of any power grab is hindered by the ability of the other two branches to take corrective action; though they still must actually do so, therefore accountability is not automatic. This is intended to reduce opportunities for tyranny sometimes. However, as James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 51 regarding the ability of each branch to defend itself from actions by the others, "But it is not possible to give to each department an equal power of self-defense. In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates." Bicameralism was, in part, intended to reduce the relative power of the legislature by turning it against itself, by having "different modes of election and different principles of action." (This is one of the arguments against the popular election of Senators, which was instituted by the Seventeenth Amendment.) But when the legislature is unified, it can obtain dominance over the other branches.
State and local governments

The American states mirror the executive/legislative/judicial division of the federal government. Major cities tend to do so as well, but the arrangements of local and regional governments vary widely. Because the judicial branch is often a part of a state or county government, the geographic jurisdiction of local judges is often not coterminous with municipal boundaries. In many American states and local governments, executive authority and law enforcement authority are separated by allowing citizens to directly elect public prosecutors (district attorneys and state attorneys-general). In some states, judges are also directly elected. Many localities also separate special powers from their executive and legislative branches through the direct election of sheriffs, school boards, transit agency boards, park commissioners, etc. Juries (groups of randomly selected citizens) also have an important role in the checks-and-balances system. They have the sole authority to not only

determine the facts in most criminal and civil cases, but to judge the law, acting as a powerful buffer against arbitrary enforcement by the executive and judicial branches. In many jurisdictions they are also used to determine whether or not a trial is warranted, and in some places Grand Juries have independent investigative powers with regard to government operations.
Venezuela: five branches

The constitution establish that the government of Venezuela has five branches: the executive, the legislature, the judiciary, an electoral branch, and a citizen's branch that acts as an auditor.

It can be argued that there is no natural distinction between executive and legislative forms of government: legislation that is passed must always be executed, and much executive action requires new laws. This argument might be compared to the arrangement between Architect, Contractor and Owner, where the architect designs a plan, the contractor executes it, and the owner pays. Not all plans are built as designed, but where there are change orders its the architect who writes them, where there are requisitions for payment its the architect who approves them, and where there are disputes its the architect who decides them. As such, while the division can be said to be an artificial one, the roles defined by the division have different degrees of power and responsibility.In the United States the Legislative branch has all the power, the Executive branch has the responsibility to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and the laws of the United States and the Judicial branch decides. There is currently no constitutional system which has a complete separation of powers where there is a distribution of functions among three independent organs with no overlapping or cross-coordination except for the United States as described above. Some of the early American States and the French Constitution of 1791 tried to enforce this doctrine strictly, but they failed. Instead, most constitutions give slightly overlapping powers to each branch, such as the US president's ability to veto legislation, or the power of judicial appointment.

Some observers believe that no obvious case exists in which such instability was prevented by the separation of powers. In parliamentary systems such as the United Kingdom the three "powers" are not separated (although the judiciary is independent). However, this has not threatened British stability, because the strong tradition of parliamentary sovereignty serves the purpose of limiting executive power. In contrast, many countries which have adopted separation of powers (especially in Latin America) have suffered from instability (coups d'tat, military dictatorships, civil war and unrest, etc). If the separated executive is granted strong powers, it may well encourage instability, because it is less consensus-oriented than a parliamentary system, and because it inures the population and political elite to the influence of a dominant leader. In times of instability, competing political groups can become obsessed with controlling the executive office, and it is often the loss of a presidential election which triggers greater instability. In a presidential system, there can only be one winning party, and all others fail entirely to gain power. In contrast, a parliamentary system can allow all political groups to have some share in control of the executive by participating in a coalition. Some are concerned that where the executive branch is granted few powers, there is the danger of political gridlock. When the executive cannot operate without waiting for the legislature to deliberate, then government action to solve problems can be delayed. Others are concerned that where there is deciciveness without deliberation the consequences can be grave. Some political scientists have wondered whether there is a tendency for separation-of-power systems, especially those with strong executives, to develop into two-party systems. As the executive is as a "winner-take-all" position, voters and lobby groups might tend to adopt a strategy of supporting their preferred choice from the two leading candidates, the perception being that a vote or donation to a third-party candidate is a waste. As the executive is usually considered the most important position in government, members of the legislature will coalesce into groups supporting the two dominant executive candidates. Recently we have seen an alternative to this partisan schism may be offered when there is a competent and cooperative relationship established between branches respecting their established roles.

The categories of the functions and corresponding powers of government are inclined to become blurred when it is attempted to apply them to the details of a particular constitution. Some hold that the true distinction lies not in the nature of the powers themselves, but rather in the procedure by which they are exercised. Sometimes systems with clearly defined separation of powers are complex and difficult for any person to understand, resulting in a nebulous political process and leading to a lack of engagement. Proponents of parliamentary systems and the legislative process claim that they make it easier to understand how "politics is done" by providing a clearer view of who does what, who is responsible for what, and who is to blame. This is important when it comes to engaging the people in political debate and increasing citizens' interest and participation in politics. However, for a parliamentary system to work effectively, institutional arrangements such as fair electoral laws, freedom of the press, independent courts, due process, and the independence of the Houses of Parliament must be so designed as to prevent executive supremacy over the legislative and judicial branches while also encouraging a culture of public debate, open government, accountable office holders, and policy contest-ability and compromise, rather than a culture of "winner takes all" political domination.

Related restraint-of-power concepts

Federalism, also known as vertical separation of powers Prevents abuse by dividing governing powers, usually by separating municipal, provincial, and national governments. See also subsidiarity. Rule of law - Prevents arbitrary exercise of the executive power, preserves general and minority rights, and promotes stability and predictability. Democracy and civil society - Attempts to constrain elected branches of government to act in the public interest, not in self-interest. Separation of church and state or Lacit - Ensures freedom of religion by preventing government interference in its practice. Also constrains the power of government by maintaining freedom of conscience and belief.

Civilian control of the military - Helps prevent dictatorship that otherwise might occur through military rule. In some systems, an independent central bank. Separation of duties in organizations. Independent Civil Service. Negarchy - The self-interests of separate powers canceling one another via indirect yet interdependent means. Multicameralism - The division of legislature into separate autonomous chambers.

See also

Constitution of the Roman Republic Absolute power Balance of power Corruption Perceptions Index - Parliamentary systems are, in general, perceived as less corrupt than other systems Judicial activism List of democracy and elections-related topics Signing statement Unitary executive theory Fifth power


2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

^ "Baron de Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de Secondat (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)". Plato.stanford.edu. Retrieved on 200810-29. ^ "K-Zone law - Separation of Powers: the reality". Kevinboone.com. Retrieved on 2008-10-29. ^ a b Przeworski 2003, p.26, p.13, p.223-4 ^ Przeworski 2003, p.14 [1] ^ Cheryl Saunders. "Separation of Powers and the Judicial Branch" (doc). ^ Two examples of executives of more than one person are a triumvirate (three rulers) and a constitutional monarchy (two rulers).

7. 8. 9.

^ "E-Notes: Why Taiwan's Political Paralysis Persists - FPRI". Fpri.org. Retrieved on 2008-10-29. ^ Constitution of the United States. [2] ^ Madison, James. (8 February 1788) "The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments"The Federalist Papers No. 51


Alec Stone Sweet, Governing With Judges: Constitutional Politics in Europe2000 Oxford University Press ISBN 978-0-19-829730-7 Adam Przeworski, JM Maravall, I NetLibrary Democracy and the Rule of Law(2003) The Invention of the Modern Republic(March 2007) ISBN 978-0-52103376-3 Manin, Bernard Principles of Representative Government(English version 1997) MJC Vile Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers(1967, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998) Second edition.

External links

Polybius and the Founding Fathers: the separation of powers Arbitrary Government Described and the Government of the Massachusetts Vindicated from that Aspersion (1644)

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Separation of Power

Government, one of the most important factors in our life, is very complicated. After I have studied the American government, I find out that the American government is the most perfect and democratic government in the world. The government is doing their jobs in the best interest of people, to protect people? s rights. The most important concept I have learned about the American government, which guarantee the government won? t get too much power over people, is the concept of separation of powers.The Doctrine of Separation of powers is that political power should be divided among several bodies as a precaution against tyranny. The ideal is opposed the absolute sovereignty of the Crown, Parliament, or any other body. The blueprint for United States? separation of powers is laid out in the U.S. Constitution and expanded upon in the Federalist Papers. The checks and balances of the U.S. government involve the vertical separation of powers among the executive (the Presidency), the legislature (the two houses of Congress), and the judiciary (the federal courts). There is also a horizontal separation between the federal government and the states. Defenders of separation of powers insist that it is needed against tyranny, inclu

These powers include a number of varying areas. Constitution realized that power of government coming from people. Finally, Article III deals with the judicial powers of the United States. In the application of the theory of separation of powers to the United States, the U. This was the argument that James Madison addressed in The Federalist Papers. Therefore, the primary duty of government is to protect people? s rights. This is a check that is put on the executive branch by the legislative branch. In addition, the Constitution was an antidote for the ? evils of democracy. In order constrain both majorities as well as minority, the founders favored a less efficient government checked and balanced against itself because it seemed safer than the risk of tyranny in a more efficient system. It states that the judicial powers shall be vested in the Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as Congress may establish. ? Checks and balances and separation of powers are concerned with checking both minority and majority ? factions? that spring from man? s self-interest. Chief Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. ? The prime purpose was to protect vested interests by such curbs upon the masses as checks and balances, especially judicial review, and central government in which only the House of Representatives was to be popularly elected. ? The founders were haunted by the monarchial system and this idea of checks and balances was designed to cure the evils of that form of government. This becomes a check of Congress of the judicial branch.

Separation of Powers

Understanding that a government's role is to protect individual rights, but acknowledging that governments have historically been the major violators of these rights, a number of measures have been derived to reduce this likelihood. The concept of Separation of Powers is one such measure. The premise behind the Separation of Powers is that when a single person or group has a large amount of power, they can become dangerous to citizens. The Separation of Power is a method of removing the amount of power in any group's hands, making it more difficult to abuse. The US government has a partial Separation of Powers. It distinguishes between three groups. The Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial. They are distinguished by the kind of power they wield. The Legislative branch has the ability to enact laws. The Executive branch has the ability to see those laws enforced. The Judicial branch has the ability to decide the guilt of a party, allowing punishment. If a single group shared all three powers, they would have unlimited power. They could specify any law, arresting the 'criminal', and then decide that they are guilty. Through the Separation of Powers, though, no group can have more than one of these powers. Only through the combined use of all three can the government use force. By requiring the consent of all three branches, it increases the likelihood that the government will not initiate violent force. There are many different ways to separate the powers of a government. The US, for instance, requires those that declare war to be different from those that execute the war. Only by combining the two can a war be declared. Also, the Legislative branch is further broken into two, each with separate responsibilities and powers. By any number of possible separations, a government can be made safer for its citizens.