President of India

President of India

President of India

  • The President of India is the first citizen of the country.
  • According to Article 52 of the Indian Constitution, he/she is said to be the head of the Republic of India. Therefore the President of India is also the formal head of the judicial, executive, and legislative activities.
  • He/She is also the Supreme Commander of the Defense Forces and a part of the Union executive along with the Prime Minister, Vice President, Attorney General, and Council of Ministers.

How is the President of India Elected?

The President of India is elected indirectly by the people but by the members of the electoral college consisting of the elected members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, elected members of the Legislative Assembly of States, and elected members of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi and Puducherry.

President of India Election

  • There should be uniformity between States, uniformity among the states together union.
  • Value of the vote of 1 MLA – Total population divided by total no. of elected members and then multiplied by 1/1000.
  • Value of the vote of 1 MP – Total value of votes of all MLAs of all states divided by the total no. of elected MPs.
  • The presidential election is held on the principle of a Single Transferable Vote by way of Proportional Representation (STVPR).
  • FORMULA Total no. of valid votes divided by No. of seat +1 then whole added by 1.

The President of India is elected through a process in which a particular candidate is required to win/secure a certain number of absolute votes decided by the above formula.

  • If no candidate secures the requisite vote, then the candidate with the least number of first-category votes is picked, and his second-category votes are divided among other candidates.
  • The process goes on till the President is elected.
  • It is a completely secret ballot, and no whip can be issued.
  • The election of the President can only be challenged in the Supreme Court and vacancy in case of resignation, death, or dissolution of the State legislative assembly cannot be a reason to challenge the election.

Who Cannot be a part of the President’s Election?

In the election of the President, the following group of people are not involved-

The 12 nominated members of the Rajya Sabha, nominated members of the State Legislative Assemblies, In bicameral legislature – both elected and nominated members of the Legislative Councils, and nominated members of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.

Qualification of President of India

The qualifications of the President (nominee) to be eligible for election are as follows-

  • He should be a citizen of India and have completed 35 years of age.
  • He should be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha.
  •  He should not hold any office of profit under the Union government any State government or any Local authority.
  • The Oath of the President of India is mentioned in the constitution itself.
  • The tenure is of 5 years but he can stay in office until the new President arrives.

Conditions of the President’s Office

The condition of the President’s office is as follows-

  • He should have to vacate the seat of the member of either house on the first day as President in office, that is he cannot be a member of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
  • He should not hold any office of profit in the Union, States, and Local Authority of India.
  • Rashtrapati Bhavan is provided for his residence without any rent payment.
  • The president’s emoluments, allowances, and privileges are decided by the Parliament.
  • During his term of office, the emoluments and allowances cannot be diminished by the Parliament.
  • He enjoys the privileges in case of any criminal proceeding, even in respect of his acts.
  • After giving the prior two-month notice, only civil proceedings can be initiated for his acts, and the president cannot be arrested or imprisoned.

Impeachment of the President in India

The parliament can impeach the President of India. The violation of the Constitution can remove him/her, but the Constitution’s violation is not defined in the Constitution.

According to the Constitution, the removal of the President is done through a process where-

  • A proposal to prefer a charge is contained in a resolution brought after 14 days’ notice to the President in writing.
  • The house then takes up the resolution and if the house passes the resolution with the majority of two-thirds of the total membership of the house.
  • Then the resolution is passed to the second house and the second house investigates the charges where the President is entitled to either represent himself or get represented.
  • If the second house passes the resolution with the same majority the president stands impeached.

Vacancy in the President’s Office

The following are the situations when the president’s office can be vacant-

  • When the tenure of 5 years is completed.
  • If he/she resigns.
  • He is removed when an impeachment charge initiated by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha stands valid.
  • In case he dies in the office.
  • If the election of the President is declared invalid by the Supreme Court.

Various Powers and Functions of the President of India

To fulfill the role of the President as the head of state, the Constitution of India grants the President certain powers and functions. These powers and functions are designed to ensure that the President can effectively serve as the head of the state and oversee the functioning of the government. The powers and functions of the President of India can be analyzed under the following categories:

Executive Power of President

The President of India is the formal head of the executive branch of the government, and all actions taken by the government are carried out in his name.

  • He has the power to establish rules for authenticating official documents and instruments, as well as to streamline the administration of government business and allocate tasks among ministers. (Article 77)
  • He has the authority to appoint the Prime Minister and other ministers, as well as other key officials such as the Attorney General, the Comptroller and Auditor General, and State Governors, etc. (Article 75)
  • He can also request information from the Prime Minister and other ministers. He can initiate investigations into the conditions of marginalized communities and promote cooperation between the central government and the states. (Article 78)
  • Additionally, he has the authority to appoint administrators for Union Territories (Article 239) and has the power to declare certain areas as scheduled or tribal areas (Article 244). 

Judicial Powers of the President:

The President of India has the power to appoint the Chief Justice and other judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. 

  • He also can consult the Supreme Court for advice on legal or factual matters, though the advice given is not binding on him. (Article 143)
  • Additionally, the President has the authority to grant clemency, including pardons, reprieves, and commutations, to individuals convicted of offenses and can suspend or reduce sentences. (Article 72)

Legislative Power of President:

The President can summon and prorogue the Parliament and dissolve the Lok Sabha on the advice of the Prime Minister. He also summons a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, which is presided over by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.

  • He addresses the Parliament at the commencement of the first session after each general election and the first session of each year. (Article 87)
  • He sends messages to the Houses of Parliament, whether concerning a bill pending in the Parliament or otherwise. (Article 86)
  • He appoints any member of the Lok Sabha to preside over its proceedings when the offices of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker fall vacant. (Article 93)
  • He nominates 12 members of the Rajya Sabha from amongst persons having special knowledge or practical experience in literature, science, art, and social service. (Article 80)
  • He decides on questions as to the disqualifications of members of the Parliament in consultation with the Election Commission. (Article 103)
  • His prior recommendation or permission is needed to introduce certain bills like the money bills in the Parliament. (Article 117)
  • He can promulgate ordinances when Parliament is not in session. (Article 123)

Financial Powers of the President

  • Money bills can be introduced in Parliament only with his prior recommendation.
  • He causes to be laid before the Parliament the annual financial statement (i.e., the Union Budget). (Article 110)
  • No demand for a grant can be made except on his recommendation. (Article 113)
  • He can make advances out of the contingency fund of India to meet any unforeseen expenditure. (Article 267)
  • He constitutes a Finance Commission every five years to recommend the distribution of revenues between the Centre and the states. (Article 280)

Diplomatic Powers and Functions

Diplomatic Powers and Functions of the President of India include 

  • The international treaties and agreements are negotiated and concluded on behalf of the President. However, they are subject to the approval of the Parliament. (Article 253)
  • He represents India in international forums and affairs and sends and receives diplomats like ambassadors, high commissioners, etc.

Military Powers and Functions

Military Powers and Functions of the President of India include

  • He is the supreme commander of the defense forces of India. In that capacity, he appoints the chiefs of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. (Article 53(2))
  • He can declare war or conclude peace, subject to the approval of the Parliament.

Emergency Powers and Functions

In addition to the normal powers mentioned above, the Constitution confers extraordinary powers on the President to deal with the following three types of emergencies:

  • National Emergency (Article 352)
  • President’s Rule (Article 356 & 365)
  • Financial Emergency (Article 360)

What are the limitations upon the powers of the President of India?

The Constitution of India limits the President’s powers to ensure that the President does not become too powerful and to maintain the separation of powers among the branches of government. Some limitations on the President’s powers include

  • The President’s powers are subject to the provisions of the Constitution and the laws passed by the Parliament. The President can either sign or return a bill passed by the parliament. If the President signs the bill, it becomes law. If the President returns the bill before it becomes law, the same bill can be reintroduced and passed by the parliament again, and the President is bound to give the assent.
  • The President’s exercise of executive powers is subject to the advice of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The President is bound by the Constitution to act on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, and the final order is eventually issued by the President. 
  • The President’s powers are subject to review by the judiciary. The judiciary can examine the decisions made by the President, including the President’s power to grant pardons and reduce sentences. 
  • The President has limited legislative powers, confined to summoning and proroguing the sessions, issuing ordinances and giving assent to the bills, and dissolving the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament.
  • The President’s power to grant pardons and reduce sentences is subject to the advice of the Council of Ministers.
  • The President’s term in office is limited to five years, and the President can be impeached by the Parliament for violation of the Constitution.
  • The President’s power to declare an emergency is subject to the approval of the Parliament.

Hence, The President’s powers are subject to several checks and balances to ensure that the government maintains a balance of powers between the President, the Council of Ministers, and the Parliament.

What are the different Veto Powers of the President?

  • A bill can become an act only if it receives the assent of the President. When such a bill is presented to the President for his assent, he has three alternatives (Article 111)
    • Give his/her assent
    • Withhold his/her assent
    • Return the bill for reconsideration
  • The veto power enjoyed by the executive in modern states can be classified into the following four types:
    • Absolute veto: withholding of assent to the bill passed by the legislature.
    • Qualified veto: which can be overridden by the legislature with a higher majority.
    • Suspensive veto: which can be overridden by the legislature with an ordinary majority.
    • Pocket veto: taking no action on the bill passed by the legislature.

The President of India is vested with three–absolute veto, suspensive veto and pocket veto. There is no qualified veto in the case of an Indian President; it is possessed by the American President. 

What are the discretionary powers of the President of India?

The President of India has the following discretionary powers based on different situations(Situational Discretion): 

  • The President has discretion in inviting the leader or coalition of leaders to form a government when no party or coalition holds a majority in the Lok Sabha.
  • The decision to dissolve the Lok Sabha when the Council of Ministers loses its majority in the Lok Sabha is left to the discretion of the President.
  • The Indian President has discretionary powers to return the advice provided by the Council of Ministers and ask for a reconsideration of a decision.

Moreover, the President of India does not enjoy any constitutional discretion along the lines of the Governor of a state.

Related Links:

Governor of IndiaFundamental Rights
Supreme Court of IndiaCentral Vigilance Commission