As government is the agency for maintaining law and order, progress and happiness of the people, its executive branch is more Important than the other two branches, the legislature and the judiciary. “The essence of government is an executive. The legislature and the Judiciary are merely the instruments for constitutionalizing it.” Before the rise of the modern constitutional State, the executive was the most Important organ of the State. The legislature was non-existent, while the Judges were the servants of the king. That was why the French King, Louis XIV, could boast: “I am the State”.
But the excessive and oppressive exercise of the authority by the kings and other rulers caused a reaction and ii widespread distrust of the executive power, which led to the demand for constitutional limitations on it by means of the legislature and the judiciary. The result was the establishment of the modem constitutional democracy, in which laws are made by the legislative body, and enforced by the executive In such a way that it is responsible to the former for the enforcement of the luws. It is also accountable to the legislature for the policy it lays down and the acts it performs. In spite of the legislative control and responsibility, the ixecutive still exercises great powers and performs important functions. They are now constantly increasing, as the State is becoming more and more a service or welfare State. Even in the socialist States the powers of the executive have increased tremendously.
Its Essential Attributes
In order to perform its important functions, the executive must possess certain qualities or attributes. They are mainly the attributes of leadership. Leadership is the essence of the executive. It means the fxecutive must have the qualities of energy, unity of will, promptitude in action, finality of decision and secrecy. The proper function of the executive ll not deliberation but prompt action and execution of the laws made by the legislature, which requires both speed and secrecy. Hence the executive Consists of one or few persons and not of many as does the legislature.
The mecutive should have ample discretionary, but not arbitrary, powers. If the ixecutive possesses unlimited and irresponsible powers, individual liberty Would be endangered. Moreover, the term of office of the executive heads ihould be fairly long so that they may properly cafry out their policy and judge its results. But this period should not be so long as to break off all Onnection with public opinion and cease to be responsible to the people. Hamilton, writing in the Federalist, summarised the attributes of the pxecutive thus: “Energy in the executive is a leading character in the definition of good government. The ingredients which constitute energy in the executive are firstly, unity; secondly, duration: thirdly, an adequate provision for its support, fourthly, competent power. While those which constitute safety in the republican sense are, firstly, a due dependence on the people and secondly, a due responsibility.”