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HC has taken over executive functions A.P

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

HC has taken over executive functions: A.P:


Andhra Pradesh government recently told the Supreme Court that Andhra Pradesh High Court has “virtually taken over the executive functions of the State”.

Instances in support of this allegation:

A November 2 direction of the High Court to the State to submit before it the construction plans for a guest house proposed in Vishakapatnam.

What’s the issue now?

  • State government says that the High Court had “seriously violated the doctrine of Separation of Powers”.
  • Besides, in doing so, the High Court has completely ignored the warning that the Supreme Court has, time and again, sounded advising the courts to respect the other co-equal organs of the State and to refrain from assuming such powers to itself.

What has the Supreme Court said on the issue?

A 2008 judgment of the Supreme Court said “in the name of judicial activism, judges cannot cross their limits and try to take over functions which belong to another organ of the State”.

Concerns associated with Judicial Activism:

The independence of the judiciary is jeopardised when courts become embroiled in the passions of the day (Observation made by the U.S. Supreme Court).

What is Judicial Activism?

It refers to the court’s decision, based on the judges personal wisdom that do not go rigidly within the text of the statutory passed by the legislature and the use of judicial power broadly to provide remedies to the wide range of social wrongs for ensuring proper justice.

The Doctrine of separation of Power:

The Constitution, under various provisions, has clearly drawn the line between Legislature and the Judiciary to maintain their independence in their respective functioning.

  • Article 121 and 211 forbid the legislature from discussing the conduct of any judge in the discharge of his duties.
  • Articles 122 and 212 prevent the courts from sitting in judgment over the internal proceedings of the legislature.
  • Article 105(2) and 194(2) protect the legislators from the interference of the Courts with regards to his/her freedom of speech and freedom to vote.


  1. Provides a system of checks and balances to the other government branches.
  2. Brings out required innovation in the form of a solution.
  3. Provides judges to use their personal wisdom in cases where the law failed to provide a balance.
  4. It shows the instilled trust placed in the justice system and its judgments.
  5. Checks misuse of public power.
  6. Provides speedy solutions where the legislature gets stuck in the issue of majority.

Disadvantages or concerns associated:

  1. Violates the line drawn by the constitution.
  2. Judicial opinions of the judges become standards for ruling other cases.
  3. Judgment may be influenced by personal or selfish motives.
  4. Repeated interference of courts can erode the faith of the people in the quality, integrity and efficiency of governmental institutions.
  5. Courts limit the functioning of government.


In Ram Jawaya v. The State of Punjab (1955), the court observed: “Our Constitution does not contemplate assumption, by one organ or part of the state, of functions that essentially belong to another.”

  • This implies that there should be a broad separation of powers in the Constitution among the three organs of the state (legislative, executive, judiciary) and that one organ should not encroach into the domain of another. If this happens, the delicate balance in the Constitution will be upset and there will be chaos.


Sources: the Hindu.