i think one of the problems is that the word 'authority' is being used to designate someone who can tell other people what to do rather than one who is an expert in something.
i go to the doctor and i generally know what is wrong with me first and the various ways it can be treated, the side effects and advantages of each type of treatment, etc. because i have done all i can to find out. i am consulting the doctor in as knowledgeable a way as possible according to the amount of time i want to put into the issue and the capacity for understanding that i have. i do the same with my computer, but to a lesser degree because i care more about my health and i cant replace my body with a newer and better one.
but scholars are definitely needed-because i cant spend years trying to learn something if i have to make a decision on a matter. i can then investigate what the scholars have to say about any subject, and have at least a basis for making a more informed decision. also i can investigate the scholars and compare their backgrounds.
scholars should be available in an advisory capacity in all areas, but each individual may use whatever amount of intelligence and understanding he has achieved for the purpose of decision making.
maulana maududi himself explained it very well though i cant find it exactly now. i know he did say that without knowing the history of the changes that have been made in the past to law in the light of the historical changes that were the reason for them, he would be less in a position to make changes as they were needed in the modern world. some people want to get rid of scholars altogether, but that is not necessary, in fact would add to the problem.
here in india there are some people considered scholars who are exceedingly ignorant, but since they have an even more ignorant society around them who take their word for everything they are highly revered and cause a lot of harm. among the labor class and poorest of the poor, there is no motivation for studying religion so they are easy to manipulate. the kind of people who do this are not only not good scholars, they are not good people. the people here who are intelligent enough to understand what is going on either dont care or cant get enough support to change the situation. the clerics also use fear on the ignorant to keep a hold over them.
i think the problem is much worse and more widespread in the undeveloped and developing parts of the world.