Independence of Judiciary

justice seperation of power

Judicial independence is the concept that the judiciary should be independent from the other branches of government. That is, courts should not be subject to improper influence from the other branches of government or from private or partisan interests. Judicial independence can be defined as the ability of individual judges and the judiciary as a whole to perform their duties free of influence or control by other actors. Judicial independence is as old as constitutionalism itself. The principal role of the judiciary is to protect rule of law and ensure supremacy of law. It safeguards rights of the individual, settles disputes in accordance with the law and ensures that democracy does not give way to individual or group dictatorship.

The independence of judiciary can be secured by many way. One way to promote judicial independence is by granting life tenure or long tenure for judges, which ideally frees them to decide cases and make rulings according to the rule of law and judicial discretion, even if those decisions are politically unpopular or opposed by powerful interests.

Essential to the rule of law in any land is an independent judiciary, judges not under the thumb of other branches of Government, and therefore equipped to administer the law impartially. The U.S. Fed- eral Judiciary has been a model for the world in that regard. The U.S. Constitution, for example, protects judicial independence in two ways. First, Article III says that federal judges may hold their positions “during good Behaviour.” In effect, they have lifetime appointments as long as they satisfy the ethical and legal standards of their judicial office. Second, Article III says that the legislative and executive branches may not combine to punish judges by decreasing payments for their services. The constitutions of some democratic countries provide appointments to the judges for a specific period of time, but invariably they protect their independence of action during their terms of office.

Likewise the preamble of the constitution of Nepal has also ensured the independence of judiciary through independent, impartial and competent judiciary. In the Nepal, the tenure of chief justice of supreme court is 6x years after their appointment unfilled the age of 65 years. The judicial council recommends that judges of all the courts(except chief justice). Judicial council is an independent constitutional body, whose main function is to appoint, transfer and take disciplinary action against and dismissal of judges. However, the constitutional council appoints the chief justice.

The independence of the judiciary shall be guaranteed by the State and enshrined in the Constitution or the law of the country. It is the duty of all governmental and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary. The judiciary shall decide matters before them impartially, on the basis of facts and in accordance with the law, without any restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason. There shall not be any inappropriate or unwarranted interference with the judicial process, nor shall judicial decisions by the courts be subject to revision. This principle is without prejudice to judicial review or to mitigation or commutation by competent authorities of sentences imposed by the judiciary, in accordance with the law.

Read this also : Judicial Review

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