President of India

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  • Articles 52 to 73 in Part V
  • Part V deals with the Union Executives.
  • The Union executive consists of
    • President
    • Vice-President
    • Prime Minister
    • Council of ministers
    • Attorney general of India
  • The President of India is the head of the Indian State.
  • He is the first citizen of India.
  • He acts as the symbol of unity, integrity and solidarity of the nation.
  • But the President of India is only a nominal executive.

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President of India

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Election of the President of India

  • Article 54
  • The President is elected by members of electoral college consisting of:
    • Elected members of both the Houses of Parliament
    • Elected members of the legislative assemblies of the states
    • Elected members of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories
  • Value of the vote of an MLA

Election of the President of India

  • Value of the vote of an MP

Election of the President of India

  • Value of vote of MLA of UP is highest & value of vote of MLA of Sikkim is lowest.
  • Value of the vote of MP is more than value of MLA.
  • Election is held in accordance with
  • Each member of the electoral college is given only one ballot paper.
  • A candidate, must secure a fixed quota of votes to became the President of India.
  • Electoral quota

Electoral quota

  • Single transferable vote process continues till a candidate secures the required quota.
  • Decision of Supreme Court is final in the case of any doubts and disputes regarding election of the President.
  • The indirect election of the President is in harmony with the parliamentary system of govt.

 

 

Qualifications for Election as President

  • He should be a citizen of India.
  • He should 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 or state govt. or any local or public authority.
  • The nomination of a candidate must be subscribed by min 50 electors as proposers and 50 electors as seconders.
  • Every candidate has to make a security deposit of Rs.15,000 in the Reserve Bank of India.
  • Security deposit forfeited in case the candidate get less than 1/6th of the votes polled.

 

 

Oath or Affirmation by the President

  • to faithfully execute the office
  • to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law
  • to devote himself to the service and well-being of the people of India
  • The oath is administered by the CJI or the seniormost judge of the Supreme Court available, in his absence.

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Mughal Garden of Rashtrapati Bhavan
Mughal Garden of Rashtrapati Bhavan

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Conditions of President’s Office

  • He should not be a member of either House of Parliament or state legislature.
  • In the case of a member, must vacated his seat in that House on the date on which he enters upon his office as President.
  • President should not hold any other office of profit.
  • He is entitled, without payment of rent, to the use of his official residence (Rastrapathi Bhavan).
  • He is entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as may be determined by Parliament.
  • His emoluments and allowances cannot be diminished during his term of office.
  • Privileges and immunities to the President
    • He enjoys personal immunity from legal liability for his official acts.
    • During his term of office, he is immune from any criminal proceedings, even in respect of his personal acts.
    • He cannot be arrested or imprisoned.
    • Civil proceedings can be instituted against him during his term of office in respect of his personal acts after giving 2 months’ notice.

 

 

Term of President’s Office

  • The President holds office for a term of 5 years from the date on which he enters upon his office.
  • He can resign at any time by addressing the resignation letter to the Vice-President.
  • President can also be removed from the office by the process of impeachment.
  • He is also eligible for re-election to that office.
  • He may be elected for any number of terms.
  • In USA, a person cannot be elected as President more than twice.

 

 

Impeachment of President

  • Article 61
  • Impeachment of President can be initiated for ‘violation of the Constitution’.
  • Constitution does not define the meaning of ‘violation of the Constitution’.
  • The impeachment charges can be initiated by either House of Parliament.
  • These charges should be signed by 1/4th members of that House.
  • 14 days’ notice should be given to the President.
  • Impeachment resolution must passed by a majority of 2/3rd of the total membership of that House.
  • Then it is sent to the other House, which should investigate the charges.
  • The President has the right to appear and to be represented at such investigation.
  • If the other House also sustains the charges and passes the impeachment resolution by a majority of 2/3rd of the total membership, then the President stands removed from his office.
  • Impeachment of President
    • It is a quasi-judicial procedure.
    • Nominated members of either House of Parliament can participate.
    • Elected members of the legislative assemblies of states and the UTs do not participate.
    • No President has so far been impeached.

 

 

Vacancy in the President’s Office

  • A vacancy can occur in following ways:
    • On the expiry of his tenure of 5 years.
    • By his resignation.
    • On his removal by the process of impeachment.
    • By his death.
    • when he becomes disqualified
      • For holding office of profit.
      • His election is declared void by SC.
  • An election to fill the vacancy must be held before the expiration of the term.
  • The outgoing President continues to hold office in case of any delay in conducting the election.
  • He continues beyond his term of 5 years until his successor assumes charge.
  • If case of resignation, removal, death or disqualification
    • Election to fill the vacancy should be held within six months.
    • Newly-elected President remains in office for a full term of 5 years.
    • When a vacancy occurs Vice-President acts as the President.
  • If sitting President is unable to discharge his functions
    • Vice-President acts as the President.
    • In case the office of Vice-President is vacant, the CJI acts as the President.
    • If the office CJI is also vacant, the seniormost judge of the SC available acts as the President.

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1st President & 1st female President of India

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Powers & Functions of the President
  • Executive powers
  • Legislative powers
  • Financial powers
  • Judicial powers
  • Diplomatic powers
  • Military powers
  • Emergency powers

 

 

Executive Powers

  • All executive actions of the Govt. of India are formally taken in the name of President.
  • President can seek any information relating to the administration of the Union
  • He can ask for proposals for legislation from the prime minister.
  • President directly administers the UTs through administrators appointed by him.
  • He can declare any area as scheduled area.
  • He has powers regarding administration of scheduled areas and tribal areas.

 

Pardoning Power

  • Article 72
  • President may grant pardons to persons who have been tried and convicted of any offence .
    • Punishment or sentence is for an offence against a Union Law
    • Punishment or sentence is by a court martial (military court)
    • Sentence is a sentence of death
  • Pardoning power of the President is independent of the Judiciary.
  • It is an executive power.
  • President while exercising this power, does not sit as a court of appeal.
  • Types of pardoning power
    • Pardon – complete release the convict from all sentences.
    • Commutation – giving a lighter form of punishment by changing its character.
    • Remission – reducing the period of sentence without changing its character.
    • Respite – awarding a lesser sentence due to some special facts
      • such as the physical disability of a convict
      • pregnancy of a woman offender
    • Reprieve – stay of the execution of a sentence for a temporary period
  • Purpose of reprieve is to enable the convict to have time to seek pardon or commutation from the President.
  • The petitioner for mercy has no right to an oral hearing by the President.
  • President can examine the evidence afresh and take a view different from the court.
  • The power is to be exercised by the President on the advice of the union cabinet.
  • President is not bound to give reasons for his order.
  • President can afford relief not only from a sentence that he regards as unduly harsh but also from an evident mistake.
  • Supreme Court cannot give guideline for exercising of power by the President.
  • This power of President is not subject to judicial review.
  • Judicial review can be done where the presidential decision is arbitrary, irrational, mala fide or discriminatory.
  • Petitioner cannot file another petition, if one petition for mercy has been rejected by the President.

 

Powers to Appoint

  • Every appointment of union govt. is made in the name of president.
    • Prime minister of India
    • Council of Ministers
    • Attorney General of India
    • Comptroller & Auditor general of India
    • Judges of Supreme Court & High court
    • Governor of the states & administrators of UTs
    • Finance commissioner & its members
    • Members of UPSC & JPSCs
    • Chief election commissioner & its members
    • Chairman & members of SC & ST of commissions
    • Inter-state council

 

 

Legislative Powers

  • President can summon or prorogue the Parliament.
  • He can dissolve the Lok Sabha.
  • He can also summon a joint sitting of both the Houses.
  • President address the Parliament at the commencement of the 1st session after each general election and the first session of each year.
  • He can send messages to the Houses of Parliament, regarding any pending bill.
  • He can appoint any member of the Lok Sabha to preside over its proceedings when the offices of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker fall vacant.
  • President  can also appoint any member of the Rajya Sabha to preside over its proceedings when the offices of both the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman fall vacant.
  • He nominates 12 members of the Rajya Sabha and 2 members to the Lok Sabha from the Anglo-Indian Community.
  • He decides on questions as to disqualifications of members of the Parliament, in consultation with the Election Commission.
  • His prior recommendation or permission is needed to introduce certain types of bills in the Parliament.

 

Ordinance Making Power

  • Article 123
  • Those are in the nature of temporary laws.
  • It is the most important legislative power of the President.
  • It empowers the President to promulgate ordinances when
    • Both the Houses of Parliament are not in session
    • Either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session
  • An ordinance can also be issued when only one House is in session because a law can be passed by both the Houses.
  • In Cooper case, (1970), the Supreme Court held that the President’s satisfaction can be questioned in a court on the ground of malafide.
  • An ordinance can be issued only on those subjects on which the Parliament can make laws.
  • Ordinance is subject to the same constitutional limitation as an act of Parliament.
  • Ordinance must be laid before both the Houses of Parliament when it reassembles.
  • If the ordinance is approved by both the Houses, it becomes an act.
  • If Parliament takes no action, ordinance ceases to operate after 6 weeks from the reassembly of Parliament.
  • If both the Houses of Parliament disapproving ordinance, it ceases to operate.
  • The President can also withdraw an ordinance at any time.
  • Power of ordinance-making is not a discretionary power.
  • President can promulgate or withdraw an ordinance only on the advice of the council of ministers.
  • An ordinance can be retrospective, and may come into force from a back date.
  • It may modify or repeal any act of Parliament or another ordinance.
  • It can alter or amend a tax law also.
  • Ordinance cannot be issued to amend the Constitution.
  • D C Wadhwa case (1987) Supreme Court held that the exceptional power of law-making through ordinance cannot be used as a substitute for the legislative power of the state legislature.

 

Discretionary Power of President

  • President has no constitutional discretion power.
  • He has some situational discretion power.
  • Discretion power of President mean that he can act without the advice of the council of ministers.
  • President can act on his discretion
    • Appointment of Prime Minister when no party has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha
    • Prime Minister dies suddenly without any obvious successor
    • Dismissal of the council of ministers when it cannot prove the confidence of the Lok Sabha.
    • Dissolution of the Lok Sabha if the council of ministers has lost its majority

 

 

Reports laid before Parliament by the President

  • Auditor General Report relating to accounts of govt. of India
  • Recommendation made by Finance commission
  • Report of UPSC, explaining the reasons where any advice of the commission has not been accepted.
  • Report of National commission for SCs & STs
  • Report of special officers for linguistic minorities

 

 

Financial Powers

  • Money bills can be introduced in Parliament only with prior recommendation of President.
  • He causes to be laid before the Parliament the annual financial statement.
  • No demand for a grant can be made except on his recommendation.
  • President can make advances out of the contingency fund of India to meet any unforeseen expenditure.
  • He constitutes a finance commission after every 5 years to recommend the distribution of revenues between the Centre and the states.

 

 

Judicial Powers

  • President appoints the Chief Justice and the judges of Supreme Court and High courts.
  • He can seek advice from the Supreme Court on any question of law or fact.
  • The advice tendered by the Supreme Court is not binding on the President.

 

 

Diplomatic Powers

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

 

 

Military Powers

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

 

 

Emergency Powers

  • President can declare three types of emergencies
    • National Emergency (Article 352)
    • President’s Rule (Article 356 & 365)
    • Financial Emergency (Article 360)

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Veto Power of the President of India

  • When a bill is sent to the President after it has been passed by the Parliament, he can:
    • give his assent to the bill, or
    • withhold his assent to the bill, or
    • return the bill (if not a money bill) for reconsideration of the Parliament.
  • If the bill is passed again by the Parliament, with or without amendments, the President has to give his assent to the bill.
  • The object of conferring this power on the President is two-fold
    • to prevent hasty and ill-considered legislation by the Parliament.
    • to prevent a legislation which may be unconstitutional.
  • President has no veto power in respect of a constitutional amendment bill.
  • 24th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1971 made it obligatory for the President to give his assent to a constitutional amendment bill
  • American President qualified veto power, which is not available to Indian President.

 

Absolute Veto

  • It refers to the power of the President to withhold his assent to a bill passed by the Parliament.
  • This veto is exercised in the following two cases:
    • With respect to private members’ bills
    • With respect to the govt. bills when the cabinet resigns and the new cabinet advises the President not to give his assent to such bills.
  • Absolute veto power used
    • President Dr. Rajendra Prasad – 1954
    • President R Venkataraman – 1991

 

Suspensive Veto

  • President exercises this veto when he returns a bill to Parliament for reconsideration.
  • If the bill is passed again by the Parliament, with or without amendments, the President has to give his assent to the bill.
  • So the presidential veto is overridden by a re-passage of the bill by the same ordinary majority.
  • In USA it need a higher majority.
  • President does not possess this veto in the case of money bills.
  • The President can either give his assent to a money bill or
  • withhold his assent to a money bill but cannot return it for the reconsideration
  • of the Parliament. Normally, the President gives his assent to money bill as it
  • is introduced in the Parliament with his previous permission.

 

Pocket Veto

  • President simply keeps the bill pending for an indefinite period.
  • Constitution does not prescribe any time-limit to President to take decision with respect to a bill.
  • In USA, President has to return the bill for reconsideration within 10 days.
  • So, the pocket of the Indian President is bigger than that of the American President.
  • In 1986, President Zail Singh exercised the pocket veto with respect to the Indian Post Office (Amendment) Bill.

 

Presidential Veto over State Legislation

  • Governor can reserved a state legislature bill for consideration of the President.
  • The President can
    • Give his assent to the bill, or
    • Withhold his assent to the bill, or
    • Direct the governor to return the bill for reconsideration of the state legislature.
  • It is not obligatory for the President to give his assent even if the bill is again passed by the state legislature.
  • If the case of a money bill, President can’t return the bill.

 

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