The Judiciary in India performs various important role and functions which do not remain confined within the traditional jurisdiction of Civil and Criminal:
1. Prevention of violation of law: In case of violation of law, a suit is filed against the offender. The judge hears both sides and decides whether there has been a break of the law. In case of violation of law, the judiciary establishes justice by providing redress and punishing the offender.
2. Making of new law: The judges, by way of interpreting the existing laws, make new laws. The judiciary can follow precedents established in previous decisions; it can also overrule such precedents, and thereby, makes new law.
3. Decides on constitutional questions: The highest federal Court, namely the Supreme Court, decides constitutional questions. If there is any constitutional conflict or dispute between the Union and the States or among different States, the dispute is brought to the federal Court who decides and acts as the guardian of the federal constitution. There are hundreds of such constitutional cases decided by the Indian Judiciary, Gopalan vs. the State of Madras, Golak Nath vs. State of Punjab are few examples.
4. Interprets the constitution and Laws: In addition to adjudication, the responsibility of safeguarding and interpreting the constitution and law rests on the judiciary. In the United States the power of the interpretation is absolute as expressed in the words of Chief Justice Charles Evan Hughes: We are under a constitution but the constitution is what the judges say it is. But the Indian Court does not enjoy the vast power in this area.
5. Administrative functions: The judges perform certain executive functions. Appointments of officers and servants, maintenance of records, administration of staff etc. are performed by the judiciary. Superintendence over lower courts is another function of the judiciary.
6. Advisory function: The highest court of the country sometimes gives advices to the executive and the legislature on constitutional points, if sought for. Thus the Judiciary has advisory functions too. If it appears that a question of law or fact has arisen, it may be referred to the judiciary for its advice.
7. Protection of fundamental rights: The Judiciary acts as a protector of rights of the citizens guaranteed by the law of the land and the constitution. The court can declare any law which transgresses a fundamental right as invalid. In India the judiciary has the power to issue writs in the name of habeas corpus, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto and certiorari.
8. Guardian of the constitution: The Judiciary is regarded as the guardian of the constitution. In federal States this function is discharged by the application of the power of judicial review. The Supreme Court of India enjoys limited power of judicial review in invalidating laws made by Parliament or State Legislatures.
Importance of the Judiciary: The importance of the judiciary in a democratic society can hardly be exaggerated. Judiciary is a part of the democratic process. Judiciary not only administers justice, it protects the rights of the citizens and it acts as the interpreter and guardian of the constitution. In many states the judiciary enjoys the power of judicial review by virtue of which the judiciary decides the constitutional validity of the laws enacted or of the decree issued. It can invalidate such laws and decrees which are not constitutional.