What are the functions of State Executives?


The tenure of the chief executive varies in different countries. In countries hereditary chiefs, the tenure is life long. But in case of elective executives the tenure from state to state. The tenure of the office of the President in India is five years and that of the U. S. A. is four years.

The Austrian President is elected for six years. In Italy, France and Ireland the Pre is elected for seven years. The Chairman of the Swiss Federal Council is elected for one year.

The tenure of the chief executive should neither be too long nor too short. If the is very long, the executive may become an autocrat. In case of a short-term executive continuity in policy can be maintained. So, it is desirable that the tenure of the chief ex should be four or five years.


Functions of Executive

In the modern state a variety of functions are performed by the executive, as stated below.

1. Administrative Function:

The administration function of the executive includes the following.


(a) Execution of Laws and Judicial Decision:

The executive is entrusted with the responsibility to execute laws made by the legislature, and decisions of the Judiciary coming in the forms of judgements of courts.

(b) Maintenance of Law and Order:

Another important function of the executive is to maintain law and order. The police are mainly in change of this task.


(c) Policy-Formation:

In respect of policy-making, the executive has a crucial role. It prepares the blue-print of the policy which goes to the legislature in the form of bill. The policy emerges after the bill is passed by the legislature and the head of state gives assent to it.

(d) Appointment and Promotion:

The political executive enjoys the power of appointment, promotion, removal and suspension of civil servants.


2. Diplomatic function:

It means the conduct of foreign relations. The executive appoints diplomatic representatives to foreign states and receives representatives from them. Treaties and international conventions are negotiated and concluded by the executive, often subject to the approval of one or both houses of the legislature.

3. Military Function:

The chief executive, in most of the states, is made the supreme commander of the defence forces. The power of waging war and concluding peace with any foreign state is assigned to the executive. In times of emergency and grave national crisis the chief executive may declare martial law and suspend the rights of citizens.


4. Financial and Economic Function

(a) Budget-preparation:

In almost all the countries, the budget or the Annual Financial Statement is prepared by the executive and presented to the legislature for approval.

(b) Revenue-collection:

The executive prepares the sources of revenue of the government, collects taxes, and after the approval of the budget spends money on various heads.

(c) Auditing:

The auditing and accounting of public expenditure are done under the supervision of the executive.

(d) Economic policy:

The executive determines the economic policy of the country. This policy is designed to expedite economic development and make the country self- reliant. The executive prepares plans relating to production, distribution and exchange of goods and resources.

5. Judicial Function:

The chief executive has the right of pardon or clemency. He may suspend, remit or commute the sentence of a person convicted of an offence. This power is exercised in exceptional cases. In most of the states the executive officials decide administrative cases like tax evasions, industrial disputes, damages claimed against government and encroachments. This is known as ‘administrative adjudication.’

6. Constituent Function:

The constitution may require certain changes. It executive which determines what changes are necessary in the constitution, and such changes. It also takes the lead in piloting those constitutional amendments.

7. Legislative Function:

The following are the legislative functions of the ex

(a) Law-Making:

Law-making is the main function of the legislature, contribution of the executive to law-making is also significant. The executive pre legislative proposals, sends them in the form of bills to the legislature, pilots and them on the floor of the legislature and works hard for the passing of bills by the legislature.

A bill passed by the legislature, however, cannot be law unless it obtains the Asser of the head of state. He has the power to veto a bill or send it back to the legislature reconsideration.

(b) To summon and provoke the House:

The head of state (President in A India, and King or Queen in Britain) has the power to summon and prorogue the legislature. In India, for examples, he can dissolve the lower house of the legislature recommendation of the council of ministers.

(c) Promulgation of Ordinance:

When the national legislature is not in session head of state can promulgate ordinances to meet exigencies. The ordinance has force as law. It has to be placed before the legislature for approval when it meets passed by the legislature, it becomes a law.

(d) Delegated Legislation:

For lack of time and technical competence, the le delegates the power to make detailed laws and regulations to the executive. The volume of such ‘delegated legislation’ has increased in recent years.

8. Welfare Function:

As people have become increasingly conscious of the fact that the state has a responsibility to provide basic amenities of life to them, they are de the same and the governments, in general, are trying to meet their demand. It is the duty of the government to ensure that the people have food, clothes, shelter and access to education etc. The states are generally becoming ‘welfare states’.

9. Miscellaneous Functions – The executive gives leadership to the government. It leads the legislature. It leads the party in power. It leads the nation in general, leadership to the state and represents it in various international conferences and organisations.

Increase in the Functions of the Executive

A review of the functions of the executive reveals that the executive is a functioning organ. C. F. Strong opines that “in spite of the vast importance of the le function in modern government, it tends to be overshadowed by the executive.”

A number of factors has contributed to the enormous growth in executive functions in recent time.

1. Complexities and Technicalities of Modern Life:

In course of time life has been burdened with many complexities and technicalities. In order to meet this challenge, the executive needs specialized knowledge and technical competence. This has led to increase in the function of the executive.

2. Welfare of People:

In most of countries, there are large number of people afflicted by poverty and deprivation. They demand prompt attention of government which feels duty-bound to take welfare measures for them.

3. Overburdened Legislature:

The complex problems of the modem state require more laws with great degree of complexities and technical nature. The modem legislature consisting of amateurs does not have the time and competence to deal with complex law making. Hence the executive has assumed more power.

4. Planning:

Modern state is a planned one. Planning has become an important aspect of executive activities. It has led to the growth of executive power.

5. Delegated Legislation:

Modem legislature makes laws on broad outlines only. The executive makes details and therefore, its power has grown.

6. Administrative Adjudication:

The role of the executive in deciding administrative cases and disputes has led to administrative adjudication. Through this, the executive has taken over some powers of the judiciary.

7. Emergency Situations:

Due to collapse of law and order, natural disasters and external invasion, emergency situations may arise at different times in different parts of the country. In the last few years, terrorism has become a serious issue in several countries. It is only the executive which can tackle these problems promptly and effectively. No other branch of the government can successfully face these emergency situations.

The demand for vigour, efficiency and welfare in government has given impetus to the expansion of executive power. Due to the increase in the power and functions of the executive through delegated legislation and administrative adjudication, a new kind of despotism, as Lord Hewart, a British jurist, has said, ‘neo-despotism’ has evolved.

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