According to Sidgwick, the relation between the legislature and executive is one of the knotiest problems in the constitutional structure. Montesquieu and Blackstone maintained that the three organs of government should be kept separate and distinct and one should have no relation with the other.
But strict separation of powers is neither desirable nor practicable. The government is an organic unity and the legislature and the executive must work in co-operation and collaboration.
One cannot be strictly separate and independent of the other. It is observed in practice that in every state the legislature partakes in the work of the executive and vice versa.
Executive Functions of the Legislature:
(1) In a parliamentary system of government the legislature controls the executive through a vote of no-confidence, interpellation (asking of questions) and adjournment motion.
The life of the executive depends upon the will of the legislature since it continues in office so long as it enjoys the confidence of the majority of members in the legislature. The moment a cabinet loses the confidence of the majority, it is liable to be thrown out of office by a vote of no confidence.
(2) Certain legislatures perform some direct executive functions e.g., the Senate of the United States shares with the President his power of making appointments and treaties.
Legislative Powers of the Executive:
Just as the legislature performs certain executive functions, similarly, the executive enjoys some legislative powers, which may be discussed as follows:
(1) The chief executive head in all parliamentary governments has the power to summon and prorogue both the Houses of the legislature. He may also dissolve the Lower House and order for fresh elections.
(2) The Bills passed by the legislature are submitted to the chief executive head for final approval. A Bill cannot become an Act unless it has been assented to by him. The chief executive, heads enjoy varying degrees of veto in this respect in different countries of the world.
(3) The chief executive head may issue ordinances during the recess of the legislature though the nature and life of ordinances differ from state to state. The ordinance issuing power, enjoyed by the executive, is a direct legislative authority in its hands.
(4) The executive head may address the legislature at any time, Specially under the cabinet form of government. The sessions of the legislature open with the speech of the chief executive head.
(5) A parliamentary executive has more or less complete control over the legislative work of the legislature. It initiates and pilots all the important measures in the House. A Bill moved by a private member has very little chance of success if it docs not enjoy the support of the ministry. In a presidential form of government, however, the executive has very little direct control over legislation.
(6) The executive exercises powers of 'delegated legislation'. The parliament makes laws in general broad terms and delegates the powers to the executive to fill in the details. The power takes the form of rules and regulations issued by the administration under a law of the parliament. This power has become so enormous that Chief Justice Haldane described it as 'new despotism.'
(7) The executive controls the finance, perpares the budget and presents it to the Parliament. No money bill can be introduced in parliaments like those of England and India without the previous consent of the Executive.
In fact, the executive provides leadership to the legislature whether it is cabinet system or presidential one. The U.S. President is not only chief executive but also has become the 'chief legislator' too. The executive initiates, formulates and explains the legislative and financial policy and urges the parliament to accept it.
In fact, in democracies, the general principle has come to be accepted that legislature performs one function, that is, to elect the executive and then entrust it with powers. It exercises only a supervision lest the executive betrays the trust.
These arc thus two wheels of the c art of the state and must move in harmony and cooperation. The executive has, in practice, become more powerful.