A dictator, like Halter and Mussolini, pays little attention to the existence of a legislature. Both Halter and suppressed the powers of the legislatures.
But in a democracy, the legislature occupies an important place. Although as the name implies, the primary function of the legislature is law-making, most of the modern legislatures perform the following categories of functions.
(1) Legislative Functions:
Firstly, the law-making power of legislature includes power to formulate new laws and the power to repeal obsolete legal provisions. Power to repeal obsolete laws is important, as legislation must be adapted to the changing social environment of modern life.
The power of law-making also includes deliberative functions of a legislature. Parliament while deliberating on bills is moulded by the sum total of the thinking forces of the nation. In course of parliamentary deliberations, the contents and the end of the law are discussed.
(2) Expression of Public Opinion:
Secondly, one of the most important but extra-legal or informal functions of the legislature is the moulding of public opinion On the one hand; legislature is the forum through which the Public opinion is expressed.
Legislatures in a democracy represent as far as possible, all shades of opinion of a country and quite naturally the deliberations and discussions in a legislature is reflect the public opinion.
On the other hand, the legislature is an effective agency that formulates and stimulates public opinion. When the debates, discussions, questions, which take place in the legislature, are publicised, the general public is in a position to view the political, economic and social problems form all possible perspectives.
Thus, legislatures provide leadership in the development of public support for some policies and in stimulating opposition to others.
(3) Constituent Functions:
The third category of functions performed by legislature includes constituent powers of the power to amend the Constitution. Legislatures in most of the countries share this function with other bodies, in India a major part of the Constitution may be amended solely by the Union Parliament On the other hand, is Switzerland, constitutional amendments are subjected to ratification by the people at a referendum.
(4) Financial Functions:
Fourthly, an important function of all modern legislatures is the control they exercise over national finance. The legislatures are the guardians of national finance. All proposals for taxation must bear the concurrence of legislature in order to be effective. All appropriations too must be authorised by the Parliament. The Indian Parliament exercise full control over our national finance.
(5) Control over Foreign Policy:
Fifthly, legislature do influence and direct the fore: policy of the State through their financial power and the power to ratify treaties made by the executive. The foreign policy’ nation is approved in the legislature.
(6) Judicial Functions:
Sixthly, legislatures in some countries perform limited judicial functions. too. In England, the highest court of justice the House of ‘Lords. In India, the parliament is empowered to impeach the President. Similar power is enjoyed by the U.S Senate. In India, an adverse parliamentary resolution results in the removal of the Chief Justice and other pausing judges. The legislature also interprets its own rules of business.
(7) Control over the Executive:
Lastly legislature exercises control over the executive, in the parliamentary system such control is exercised primarily through material responsibility. In the presidential system the through legislature controls the executive through power over the purse ^d’other special devices known as “checks and balance.”
(8) Electoral Functions:
Not only do legislatures generally elect their own officers, but they may also elect some executive officials. The elected members of both Houses of Parliament in India form a part of the Electoral College for the election of the President. Both the Houses also elect the Vice-President of India. Legislatures of other countries more or less perform this function.