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Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Acts
Despite the possibility of maliciousness, a judge cannot be held liable for any actions or words used in the course of performing his judicial duties. Judges should be free to carry out their duties independently and without fear of repercussions.
A judicial officer is protected under the Judicial Officers Protection Act of 1850 from being held accountable for any actions he takes or is instructed to take while performing his judicial duties. He is protected even if he goes beyond his authority as long as he at the time had a sincere belief that he had the authority to carry out or order the act in question.
Judicial Officers Protection Act, of 1850
According to Section 1 of the Judicial Officers Protection Act, of 1850 −
“No Judge, Magistrate, Justice of the Peace, Collector or other person acting judicially shall be liable to be sued in any civil court for any act done or ordered to be done by him in the discharge of his judicial duty, whether or not within the limits of his jurisdiction"
Meaning of Judicial Acts
A judicial act is an action taken by a competent authority for the purpose of imposing liability or affecting the rights of others after taking into account relevant circumstances and facts. The actions taken by a specific competent authority while taking into account the relevant facts and circumstances are referred to as judicial acts. The law requires judges to render judgments while adhering to the full course of court proceedings.
Judicial acts are performed by judges or other judicial officers in the course of their official duties. A judge may raise this defense if an atrocity is committed against him. According to the law, judges cannot be held accountable for any actions taken or words said while performing their duties.
Conditions Necessary to take Defence
The Court must make sure that the following two requirements are satisfied before allowing such a defense −
The action must be taken in the course of performing a judicial duty;
The judge must act within his jurisdiction, or at the very least believe that he has jurisdiction to act.
This rule of immunity in judicial acts applies to judges of regular civil courts as well as the members of naval and military courts-martial and courts of inquiry established in accordance with military law and usage. It also partially applies to those appointed to positions that are comparable to those of an arbitrator, including the arbitrators themselves.
Meaning of Quasi-judicial Acts
The Latin word "quasi" means "similar but not exactly." The quasi-judicial actions are not really court proceedings. They may appear to have some of the rights and obligations of some laws, but they are still not regarded as courts. Some organizations and people, such as colleges, societies, and institutions, exercise quasi-judicial powers and are therefore immune from civil liability.
For instance, the duties of commissions like the Human Rights Commission and tribunals like the Income Tax Tribunal. Typically, they don't adhere to any court-established procedure. These actions are carried out by people who are not judges of any courts or who, in accordance with some laws, do not have any judicial authority.
These quasi-judicial bodies adhere to natural justice principles. They may make certain appropriate rules in accordance with the laws applicable to them and the traditional rules in order to function effectively.
Difference between judicial and quasi-judicial acts
Judicial acts refer to legal decisions made by a court of law. These decisions are made by a judge or a panel of judges and are based on the application of existing laws to a specific case. Judicial acts are generally final and binding, and they have the force of law. Judicial acts are also subject to appeal in a higher court.
Quasi-judicial acts, on the other hand, refer to legal decisions made by administrative bodies or boards. These decisions are made by individuals or panels appointed by the agency and are based on the application of laws and regulations to a specific case. Quasi-judicial acts are usually subject to appeal within the administrative bodies or to a higher court.
Judicial and quasi-judicial acts are necessary components of the tort law system because they provide a mechanism for resolving disputes and compensating individuals for harm caused by others. These acts ensure that legal principles are applied consistently and fairly, thereby promoting legal development and protecting the rights of individuals and society as a whole.
The defense of immunity is something that cannot be eliminated because many cases necessitate the said authorities saying or doing things in order to reach a just and fair decision in a court of law. These immunities are required so that a person is not injured while performing his or her duties.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What are judicial acts?
Ans. A judicial act refers to a decision made by a court of law to resolve a legal dispute involving a tort claim.
Q2. What is a quasi-judicial act?
Ans. A quasi-judicial act refers to a decision made by an administrative agency or other non-judicial body that has been granted the authority to adjudicate certain types of disputes, such as workers' compensation claims.
Q3. What is the difference between a judicial and quasi-judicial act?
Ans. The main difference between a judicial and quasi-judicial act is the entity that makes the decision. A judicial act is made by a court of law, while a quasi-judicial act is made by an administrative agency or other non-judicial body that has been granted the authority to adjudicate certain types of disputes.
Q4. Can a quasi-judicial act be appealed to a court of law?
Ans. Yes, in most cases a quasi-judicial act can be appealed to a court of law. However, the specific procedures for appealing a quasi-judicial decision may vary depending on the agency or body that made the decision.
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