Lord Acton said that “Power corrupts, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.” He was right in emphasizing that concentration of powers in one individual or in one of individuals is inimical to the liberty of the individual.

Modern governments have three well-differentiated organs, namely, legislature, executive and judiciary. The legislature deals with the making of laws and the formulation of policy. The executive, while enforcing laws, has control over the administration. And the judiciary has the august functions of interpretation of laws and administration of justice.

The theory of separation of powers states that these functions should be perform different bodies of persons, that each organ of government should be limited to ii sphere of action without encroaching upon those of others, and that it should be independent within its own sphere of action. Liberty is very safe when powers are divided among three organs of government.

This was clearly stated by the French Philosopher, Monte; | in his theory of separation of powers. But he was not the first to deal with this theme this regard, the credit goes to the famous Greek philosopher and Father of Political Science, Aristotle,


Evolution of Theory of Separation of Powers:

Aristotle made a distinction among the deliberative, the magisterial and the judicial powers. This roughly corresponds to the modern division of governmental powers among| the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

Polybius and Cicero, two Roman writers who came after Aristotle, laid stress up judicious balance of three kinds of power.

Jean Bodin, an eminent French philosopher of the 16th century, laid emphasis on the need of separating judicial powers from executive powers. In the Republic, published in 1576, he argued that the Prince, instead of administering justice in person, should leave it to independent judges.


To quote Bodin, “If justice is not well-administered, the litigating parties are not free enough; they are crushed by the authority of the sovereign.” Locke, the famous English Philosopher in the 17th century, enunciated a theory of separation of powers, but it was, to some extent, different from the one which was later developed by Montesquieu.

Locke, in his Civil Government, strongly advocated the separate of executive and legislative powers to espouse the cause of Glorious Revolution of 1688.Such separation is necessary “because it may be too great a temptation to human tap to grasp at power, for the same persons who have the power of making laws to have also in their hands the power to execute them.”

Locke stressed that there should he division of powers into the legislative, the executive and the federative. However, he did not mention the judicial organ of the government- Federative power meant to him the diplomatic power of a community in relation to other communities.