Before we discuss how independence of judiciary is maintained in India, it is essential to explain what do we mean by the term “independence of judiciary. In the words of Dr. V.K. Rao, “Independence of judiciary has three meanings:
(i) The judiciary must be free from encroachment from other organs in its sphere. In this respect, it is called separation of powers. Our Constitution makes the judiciary absolutely independent except in certain matters where the Executive heads are given some powers of remission etc.,
(ii) It means the freedom of the judgments and free from legislative interference. In this respect, our constitutional position is not very happy because the legislature can in some respects override the decisions of the judiciary by legislation. The Income-tax Amendment Ordinance of 1954 is an example,
(iii) The decisions of the judiciary should not be influenced by either the Executive or the Legislature—it means freedom from both, fear and favour of the other two organs.”The Constitution of India envisages an independent Supreme Court. In fact, every member of the Constituent Assembly had been eager to see that the Court was made independent, as it could possibly be. In the words of Austin, “The members of the Constituent Assembly envisaged the judiciary as a bastion of rights and of justice. The Assembly has been careful to keep judiciary out of politics.”
In the words of a member of the Constituent Assembly. “This is the institution which will preserve those fundamental rights and secure to every citizen, the rights that have been given to him under the Constitution. Hence, it must naturally be above all interference by the Executive. The Supreme Court is the watchdog of democracy.”
In fact, independence of judiciary is necessitated not because of eagerness on the part of the people to treat judges as favored members of the public services. It is essential for maintaining purity of justice in the social system and enabling them to earn public confidence in the administration of justice.
In the words of Graham Walles, “The psychological fact behind the principle of independence is not the immediate reaction of feeling in a man whose impulses are obstructed but the permanent result in his conduct of the destruction of some impulses and the encouragement of others. We make a judge independent not in order to spare him personal humiliation but in order that certain motives shall not and certain other motives shall direct his official conduct.”