Question: Explain the concept of Separation of Powers in a STATE and the Concept of Judicial Review with examples of case law involving Ultra Vires and Breach of Natural Justice.
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Separation of Powers
Separation of Powers refers to the idea that the state should be functioning independently and that no individual should have powers that exceed their limits. When a person or group has a large amount of power, they can become dangerous to public. Therefore, the Separation of Power is the constitution principle that limits the powers vested in any person or institution. It divides government authority into three branches, the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive. All three branches are required for the making, executing, and administering of laws.
Therefore, the Constitution has come out with Section 9 – (1) and Section 9 – (4) to protect the citizen. Section 9 – (1) and 9 – (4) state that even the police are not allow to arrest the citizen for more than 48 hours without bringing the citizen to the court. In order to hold the citizen for more than 48 hours, the police will have to present evidences to prove that the citizen committed a crime. Section 9 – (2) is where if the family members of the citizen are being held by the police for more than 48 hours without any sufficient evidences, the family members can hire a lawyer to file a complaint to the high court.
However, according to Section 6, 1.6.4, for the Executive and Legislature, there is no complete separation of powers. Section 6, 1.6.4, states:
1.6.4 There is no complete separation of powers between the Executive and Legislature. In terms of composition, the Ministers from the Cabinet are drawn from the MPs. Parliamentary Secretaries are further appointed from amongst the MPs to assist the Ministers. Moreover, the Ministers and the relevant government agencies are responsible for enacting subsidiary legislation to supplement the parent legislation passed by the Parliament.
Three Separate Arms of the State
A properly constructed Constitution limits the power of a government by specifying which actions they are allowed to take, and not allowed all others. As mention, to prevent arbitrary governance and to protect individual freedoms of speech and equal rights, the Constitution consists of three separate branches of government, The Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive.
Firstly, The Legislative comprises both the government and the Parliament of Singapore. The legislature authority is responsible for looking after the law and order in the country. The Legislative branch also makes laws. For example, when the government legal officers begin with a Bill, normally drafted a law, the parliament will debates whether this law (Bill) is favorable or needed any amendments. The Members of Parliament (MPs) may, in some cases, decided to refer the Bill to a Select Committee to deliberate upon and submit a report to the Parliament. When the Parliament approved the law, the Constitution tasked is to scrutinize the draft to ensure that the law is fair to the citizens and do not benefits only to a certain group of citizens.
Secondly, the Judiciary branch oversees the court system. It will explain the meaning of the Constitution and laws passed by the Legislative and also responsible for the development of the common law. Under Article 93 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, the Judiciary power in Singapore is vested in the Supreme Court (comprising the Singapore Court of Appeal and High Court) as well as the Subordinate Courts. (Section 7, 1.7.2) The Supreme Court is the highest court, its decisions are final and no other court can overrule those decisions. It is made of the Court of Appeal and the High Court, and hears both civil and criminal matters.
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