Introduction to Doctrine of Separation of Power By Diksha Dubey @Lexcliq


The separation of Power is a method of removing the amount of power in any groups hands, making it more difficult to abuse. It is generally accepted that there are three main categories of governmental functions: (i) the legislative, (ii) the Executive, and (iii) the Judicial. At the same time, there are three main organs of the Government in state i.e. legislature, executive and judiciary. According to the theory of separation of powers, these three powers and functions of the Government must, in a free democracy, always be kept separate and exercised by separate organs of the Government. Thus, the legislature cannot exercise executive or judicial power; the executive exercise legislative or judicial power of the Government


The definition of separation of power is given by different authors.  But in general, the meaning of separation of power can be categorized into three features:

  • Person forming a part of on organs should not form the part of other organs.
  • One organ should not interfere with the functioning of the other organs.
  • One organ should not exercise the function belonging to another organ.

The separation of power is based on the concept of trias politica. This principle visualizes a tripartite system where the powers are delegated and distributed among three organs outlining their jurisdiction each.

Three Tier Machinery of State Government

It is impossible for any of the organs to perform all the functions systematically and appropriately. So for the proper functioning of the powers, the powers are distributed among the legislature, executive and judiciary. Now let’s go into the further details of the functioning of each organ.

  • Legislative

The main function of the legislature is to enact a law. Enacting a law expresses the will of the State and it also acts as the wain to the autonomy of the State. It is the basis for the functioning of executive and judiciary. It is spotted as the first place among the three organs because until and unless the law is framed the functioning of implementing and applying the law can be exercised. The judiciary act as the advisory body which means that it can give the suggestions to the legislature about the framing of new laws and amendment of certain legislation but cannot function it.

  • Executive

It is the organs which are responsible for implementing, carrying out or enforcing the will of the state as explicit by the constituent assembly and the legislature. The executive is the administrative head of the government. It is called as the mainspring of the government because if the executive crack-up, the government exhaust as it gets imbalanced. In the limited sense, executive includes head of the minister, advisors, departmental head and his ministers.

  • Judiciary

It refers to those public officers whose responsibility is to apply the law framed by the legislature to individual cases by taking into consideration the principle of natural justice, fairness.


There are various advantages with the acceptance of this doctrine in the system;

  1. The efficiency of the organs of state increased due to separation of works hence time consumption decreases.
  2. Since the experts will handle the matters of their parts so the degree of purity and correctness increases.
  3. There is the division of work and hence division of skill and labour occurs.
  4. Due to division of work there is no overlapping remains in the system and hence nobody interfere with others working area.
  5. Since the overlapping removed then there is no possibility of the competition in between different organs.


As there are advantages attached to this doctrine, there are some disadvantages can also occur due to this doctrine;

  1. As I have said there will be increased efficiency but reverse effect can also be seen because of the overlapping between rights of the organs if we are not following the doctrine in its strict sense because organs may fight for the supremacy over each other.
  2. There is also a possibility of competition between organs again for proving ones supremacy over the other organ.
  3. There is also possibility of delay of process because there will not be any supervisor over other hence the actions of the organs can become arbitrary

Separation of powers is vital to protect any responsible democracy from turning into a tyrannical state. However, absolute separation of power is detrimental to the development of any society. Thus, though it is important that power shouldn’t get concentrated in one hand, a system of checks and balances must be maintained for a smooth functioning.

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