Judiciary is the guardian of the constitution and defender of fundamental rights of the people. For performance of this role it is essential that the judiciary must be independent. It is only when judiciary is independent of the control of executive and legislature that justice can be assured to the citizens. Laski says, “the independence of the judiciary from the executive is essential to freedom.
” By “independence” of judiciary is, therefore, meant that it should be free from the control of the executive and legislature in the performance of its duties so that it can bring the executive to account and is not subjected to the expediency of the political party holding majority in the legislature.
If judiciary is subjected to the executive control, it may become oppressive and if it is subjected to legislature, the majority might become tyrannical and violate the constitution and freedom of the people. It is also essential that, the judges should possess a high degree of impartiality, dignity, integrity and above all independence of judgement. In other words, they should not be prone to political corruption and executive arbitrariness.
The judiciary is the custodian of individual freedom. It keeps the executive within the bounds of its legitimate authority. It docs not allow it to act in an arbitrary way.
In the interests of individual liberty, it is desirable that the judges should be given complete independence. They should administer justice fearlessly and dauntlessly. The fact of the matter is that it is an independent judiciary which can protect the spirit of democracy.
Judicial independence is thus important in a modern state for the following purposes:
(a) To secure an impartial trial of the accused and to protect the innocent from injury and usurpation.
(b) To keep the Government officials within the bounds of their legitimate authority and to check the arbitrary use of their powers.
(c) To act as the guardian of the constitution especially in a federal form of government.