Legislature, Its Kinds and Functions

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There are many interacting variables in a political system. The most important is the state, which is legal entity and possesses sovereignty, and the second is government, which has authority to exercise power of the state. It shows that government explains its composition and organization. Each government consist of three main organs such as legislature, executive, judiciary.

Legislature:

Functions and Kinds:

The concept of modern legislature is the outcome of the eighteenth century. Such as institution could not emerge until the ordinary citizens had reached a considerable level of political sophistication and the right of the king to make all laws had been effectively challenged. The modern legislature assemblies have replaced the old authoritative methods of law formation. They helped the citizens for direct and indirect legislation. A modern legislature performs several functions such as legislative function, financial function, administrative function, amendment of the constitution etc.

Legislative function:

The basic function of legislature is to make laws. It also amends and changes the old laws. A bill (proposal for law) is presented in legislature where it is thoroughly discussed and after passing through various stages, it is sent to the head of the state for his approval signature. If the legislature consists of two chambers, firstly, the proposed bill is discussed in lower chamber and secondly, in upper chamber. After this process, it is sent to head of the state for approval and ratification.

Financial Functions:

In modern democracies, legislature represents peoples. As people are sovereign, therefore, wealth of the state belongs to them. Unless they give permission, the government cannot impose taxes and spend the money, for this purpose, the executive department of the state presents budget (an estimate of income and expenditures) of a year to legislature for its approval. This function is called financial function of legislature.

Administrative Functions:

The executive department of the state is controlled by legislature in two ways. In parliamentary form of government, legislature controls executive directly while in presidential form of government. It controls executive indirectly. In parliamentary form of government prime minister and the cabinet is directly responsible and answerable before legislature of their all-executive functions because they are the members of legislature. In presidential form of government as in United States of America, congress controls the independent executive (president and his cabinet) through several checks on them.

Amendment of the Constitution:
The modern legislature has a power to amend the constitution but the methods o amending constitution is different in different states, for example, in England, India and Pakistan, parliament possesses powers to amend the constitution but in united states of America, the constitution can be amended only when central and the states legislatures participate in this process and agree on it. Moreover, modern legislature performs certain other functions such as; British parliament sometime performs the functions of judiciary. It also ratifies the programs of foreign trade and aid. It formulates and discusses the foreign policy and defense of the state as well. In United States of America, senate can impeach the president and judges of the Supreme Court. It also ratifies agreements and appointments made by the president. Based on different function’s legislature may be divided into different kinds.

Kinds:

There are two major kinds of legislature such as unicameral and bicameral.

Unicameral Legislature:

The unicameral legislature possesses one chamber, which deals with all matters relating to state’s internal and external aspects. For example, Pakistan had unicameral legislature under the constitution of 1956 an 1962.

Bicameral Legislature:

The bicameral legislature consists of two houses, the upper chamber, and the lower chamber. Bicameral legislature exists in majority of the world states. Pakistan also has bicameral legislature such as national assembly and Senate under the constitution of 1973. In South Africa, there had three chambers of legislature like a chamber for white color people, a chamber for Asians, and a chamber for black nature people but since 1990, the government and black people’s opposition are discussing the introduction of new constitution in South Africa, which would consist of upper chamber and lower chamber of the state legislature.
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