Deep learning in law, incisive and alert mind to quickly grasp the controversy, energy and commitment to resolve the problem are critical elements which make a Judge efficient and enable him to decide cases quickly. However, every Judge who has all the above-mentioned qualities need not automatically be a Judge who can generate confidence in the litigants unless the litigant believes that the Judge is absolutely fair and impartial.

Belief regarding the impartiality of a Judge depends upon the fact that Judge shares no relationship with either of the parties to the litigation. Relationship in the context could be personal, financial, political or even philosophical etc. When one of the parties to the litigation is either the State or one of its instrumentalities, necessarily there is a relationship. Because, it is the State which establishes the judiciary. Funds required to run the judicial system including the salaries and allowances of Judges necessarily flow from the State exchequer.

Democratic societies believe that the State not only has authority to govern but also certain legally enforceable obligations to its subjects. The authority of judicial fora to command the State to discharge its obligations flows from the existence of such enforceable obligations. To generate confidence that the judicial fora decide controversies brought to their consideration impartially, they are required to be independent. Notwithstanding the fact that they are established and organized by the State as a part of its larger obligation to govern.

Judiciary is the watchdog of the Constitution and its fundamental values. It is also said to be the lifeblood of constitutionalism in democratic societies. At least since Marbury v. Madison the authority of courts functioning under a written democratic constitution takes within its sweep the power to declare unconstitutional even laws made by the legislature. It is a formidable authority necessarily implying an awesome responsibility.

A wise exercise of such power requires an efficient and independent Judge (Judicial System). In the context, wisdom is to perceive with precision whether the legislative action struck the constitutionally demanded balance between the larger interests of society and liberties of subjects.

Independence of such fora rests on two integers – independence of the institution and of individuals who man the institution. “(Judicial independence) connotes not merely a state of mind or attitude in the actual exercise of judicial functions, but a status or relationship to others, particularly to the executive branch of government that rests on objective conditions or guarantees.

* * * It is generally agreed that judicial independence involves both individual and institutional relationships: the individual independence of a judge, as reflected in such matters as security of tenure, and the institutional independence of the court or tribunal over which he or she presides, as reflected in its institutional or administrative relationships to the executive and legislative branches of Government.”

It can be said without any fear of contradiction that all modern democratic societies strive to establish an independent judiciary. The following are among the most essential safeguards to ensure the independence of the judiciary – Certainty of tenure, protection from removal from office except by a stringent process in the cases of Judges found unfit to continue as members of the judiciary, protection of salaries and other privileges from interference by the executive and the legislature, immunity from scrutiny either by the Executive or the Legislature of the conduct of Judges with respect to the discharge of judicial functions except in cases of alleged misbehaviour, immunity from civil and criminal liability for acts committed in discharge of duties, protection against criticism to a great degree.

Such safeguards are provided with a fond hope that so protected, a Judge would be absolutely independent and fearless in discharge of his duties.

Democratic societies by and large recognize the necessity of the abovementioned protections for the judiciary and its members. Such protections are either entrenched in the Constitution or provided by legislation.


Justice Chelameswar in Supreme Court Advocate on Record Association v. Union of India (2015)