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Q4. Write a note on the Montesquieu Theory of “separation of powers”

ANSWER:

Montesquieu was not the first scholar to develop the theory of separations of powers. Its origin can be traced back to Aristotle, the father of Political Science.

He in his book “The Spirit of Laws” published in 1748 gave the classic exposition of the idea of separation of powers.

During his days the Bouborne monarchy in France had established despotism and the people enjoyed no freedom. The monarch was the chief law giver, executor and the adjudicator. The statement by Louis XIV that ‘I am the state’ outlined the character and nature of monarchial authority. Montesquieu, a great advocate of human dignity, developed the theory of separation of powers as a weapon to uphold the liberty of the people. He believed that the application of this theory would prevent the overgrowth of a particular organ which spells danger for political liberty.

Montesquieu’ view is that concentration of legislative, executive and judicial functions either in one single person or a body of persons results in abuse of authority and such an organization becomes tyrannical. He argued that the three organs of government should be so organized that each should be entrusted to different persons and each should perform distinct functions within the sphere of power assigned to it.

 

Advantages

  1. i) Separation of powers according to Montesquieu is the best guaran­tee of the liberty of people.
  2. ii) Separation of power promotes efficiency in the administration.

 

Criticism

  1. i) Complete separation of powers is neither possible nor desirable.
  2. ii) Separation of powers is likely to lead to inefficiency in adminis­tration.

iii)            The theory is based on the supposition that all the three organs of the government are equality important, but in reality it is not so.

  1. iv) Liberty of the people largely depends more on factors like their psyche, political culture, consciousness, and institutions than separa­tion of powers

 

However, separation of power is useful if used judiciously to bring about a balance between the vigorous action of the welfare state and the enjoyment of the liberty of the people.

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