The Judicial Branch of Government: Powers and Functions

The Judicial arm of government is the government’s third branch. It is responsible for enforcing the laws in specific circumstances and resolving any disputes. The true ‘meaning of law’ is determined by the judges as they render their decisions in diverse instances. The judiciary is the most important instrument of the government in the eyes of citizens because it protects them from the legislative and executive branches’ potential excesses. The role of the judiciary as the defender and protector of the constitution and the people’s fundamental rights gives it greater respect than the other two organs.

SEE ALSO:

The Legislative arm of Government: Its powers and Functions

The Executive Arm of Government and its Powers and Functions

The Functions of the Judicial arm and Importance:

The Judicial arm of government

The Judicial arm of government

To serve the people with justice:

The judiciary’s primary and most important responsibility is to provide justice to the people whenever they seek it. It punishes those who are found guilty of breaking state or national laws or breaching people’s rights after a trial.
Citizens who have been wronged can seek restitution and compensation through the courts. They can do so if they are concerned about their rights being violated or if they have incurred a loss. The amount and quality of punishment meted out to criminals is determined by the judiciary. It makes decisions on all cases involving the payment of compensation to residents.

Law Interpretation and Application:

Interpreting and applying laws to individual instances is one of the major functions of the judiciary. The judges understand and apply laws when they decide the cases that come before them. Every legislation requires a proper interpretation before it can be applied to a specific situation. The judges are in charge of this task. The law is only as good as the judges’ interpretation of it.

Role in Legislation:

Lawmaking is also influenced by the judiciary. The meaning, nature, and scope of the laws passed by the legislature are all determined by court judgements.

The judiciary’s interpretation of laws amounts to lawmaking because it is these interpretations that define the laws.

Furthermore, the decisions of the upper courts, the Courts of Records, are binding on the lesser courts. On the basis of the decisions of the higher courts, the latter can decide the cases before them. Judicial decisions are a type of legal authority.

Legislation on Equity:

Judges rely on their sense of justice, fairness, impartiality, honesty, and knowledge to decide matters where a law is silent or ambiguous, or appears to be conflicting with another law of the land. Such judgments almost invariably necessitate the enactment of legislation. It’s commonly referred to as equity legislation.

Rights Protection:

The greatest responsibility for protecting people’s rights lies with the court. In the event that a citizen’s rights are violated or threatened to be violated by the government, private organizations, or fellow citizens, the citizen has the right to seek judicial protection. In all of these circumstances, it is the judiciary’s role to preserve the people’s rights.

Constitutional Protector:

The judiciary serves as the Constitution’s watchdog. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and the judiciary is charged with interpreting and protecting it. For this aim, the judiciary can conduct judicial review of any statute to determine if it is in compliance with the constitution’s word and spirit. If a statute is deemed to be ultra vires (unconstitutional), it is overturned by the courts and becomes unenforceable in the future. The power of judicial review refers to the court’s ability to exercise this authority.

Power to enforce its decisions and judgments:

The judiciary has the authority to not only deliver judgments and resolve disputes, but also to see that they are carried out. It has the authority to order the executive to carry out its decisions. It has the ability to summon anyone and learn the truth directly from them.

In the event that somebody is detained:

(I) Guilty of failing to follow a court order, or

(ii) of acting in defiance of a court order, or

(iii) Deception of the court, or

(iv) If a person fails to appear in court in a case that the court is hearing, the court has the authority to punish the individual for contempt of court.

In a Federation, you have a unique role:

In a federal system, the judiciary also serves as the defender of the constitution and the mediator of conflicts between the central government and the states. It serves as a neutral and independent arbiter between the federal government and state governments, as well as between states. The judiciary resolves all legal center-state issues.

Administration of the Judicial System:

The judiciary is not a government department. It is unaffected by either the legislature or the executive branch. It is a distinct and autonomous organ with its own structure and authorities.

It has the authority to determine the nature of the state’s judicial system. It establishes and enforces its own set of regulations.

These regulations control the recruitment and work of magistrates and other court employees. It establishes and enforces standards for the effective and orderly administration of justice.

Functions of Advice:

Frequently, the courts are tasked with providing advisory opinions to the rulers on any legal issue. For example, the President of India has the authority to refer any subject of law or fact of public concern to the Supreme Court.

To Conduct a Judicial Investigation:

Judges are frequently asked to lead Enquiry Commissions tasked with investigating major situations allegedly caused by government or public servant errors or omissions. Commissions of inquiry, sometimes led by a single judge, are formed to look into serious and complex issues and concerns.

See Also:

The Constitutional Responsibilities of the Government

Functions that aren’t listed above:

Aside from the core activities listed above, the judiciary also conducts a number of other tasks. The appointment of certain municipal court officials, as well as the selection of clerical and other personnel, are examples of such functions. Cases involving the grant of licenses, patents, and copy rights, the appointment of guardians and trustees, the admission of wills, the appointment of trustees to look after the property of minors, the issue of administering the estates of deceased persons, the appointment of receivers, naturalization of aliens, marriage and divorce cases, and the election.

Each state’s judiciary plays a significant role in all of these functions. It also contributes to the formation of the Constitution by exercising its right to interpret and protect it against legislative and executive excesses.

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