In the twentieth century, the power of the legislature is on its decline. The reasons are as follows.
1. The Concept of Welfare State:
The two World Wars, economic depression and complex problems of modern life converted all states into welfare states. The concept of social welfare has strengthened the hands of the executive. The executive has become a multi-functioning organ. The rise in the power of the executive has led to corresponding decline in the powers of the legislature.
2. Development of Science and Technology:
The development of science and technology has made the society complex. So complex laws are necessary to tackle social problems. The modern legislature, being composed of amateur politicians, lacks scientific and technical knowledge. Therefore, it makes laws in broader principles and delegates some legislative authority to the executive.
3. Rigidity of the Party System:
The party whip has increased day by day. Rigid party discipline has curtailed the independence of the ordinary members of the legislature and reduced the debate to a mechanical level. On the other hand, the party whip has strengthened the hands of the executive.
4. Delegated Legislation:
Legislatures lack the time and technical competence to deal with the ever-increasing volume of legislation in a modern state. As a result, the legislature passes the laws in broad outline and delegates the power of making details of laws to the executive.
By this delegated legislation the civil servants enjoy enormous power and influence. In the welfare states of today the executive has gained leadership in the matter of governmental operation.
5. Meeting Emergencies and crisis situations:
Modern states are faced with several crises and emergencies. War, financial crisis, natural disasters like earthquakes, cyclones and floods demand immediate response and that can be done only by the executive. The legislature, being a large body of motley crowd, cannot rise to the occasion. As a result, its importance has declined.
The Legislature is an integral part of democracy. The success of democracy largely depends on the quality, dedication and commitment of the members of legislature. Legislators of high quality can properly represent the problems and demands of people on the floor of legislature and pressurize the government to take necessary steps.
They can also actively participate in the process of law-making and significantly influence the policies and decisions of government.