President of India
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President of India – Indian Polity Notes

India has adopted Westminster style parliamentary democracy which needs to two heads: nominal and real. The office of the President is envisaged as nominal head of state. The constitution makes him head of state and vests executive power of the union under him/her.

The current President of India is Ms Draupadi Murmu. She is second women along with being first woman from India’s rich & diverse tribal population to occupy this prestigious office.

Election Procedure of the President:

Articles 54, 55 deals with the Presidential elections. 

Article 54: The President is elected by an electoral college consisting of:

  • Elected members of parliament.
  • Elected members of state legislative assemblies.
  • Elected MLAs of Delhi and Pondicherry also participate in Presidential elections.

Article 55: Manner of election. 

  • Proportional representation by single transferrable vote.
  • Winning candidate requires a quota of votes. 
  • Quota represents absolute majority.
  • For the presidential election concept of weighted voting is adopted, to ensure parity between states and between states & union.

Nomination

  • 50 electors as proposers.
  • 50 electors as seconders.
  • ₹15000 security deposit with RBI.

Qualification for the position (Article 58):

  1. Citizen of India 
  2. Must have completed age of 35 years.
  3. Must not be holding any office of profit.
  4. Must be eligible to be elected as member of Lok Sabha.

Conditions of Office (Article 59)

  • The President shall not be member of parliament or any of state legislature. If he was member of parliament or state legislature, he/she deemed to have vacated the seat on date he/she enters into the office of President.
  • The President shall not hold any office of profit.
  • The President is entitled to use without rent official residence and also entitled to allowances, emoluments determined by parliament.
  • Emoluments, allowance cannot be reduced during the term of office of the President.
  • President is immune from any criminal proceedings (even for personal acts). Cannot be arrested or imprisoned.
    • However giving 2 months notice, civil proceedings can be started (for personal acts) during his term.

Resignation of President:

  • Under Article 56, the President has term of 5 years and holds office until his successor assumes charge.
  • During his term, he can resign writing to Vice President. In that case Vice President assumes charge of the President.
  • If Vice President is absent/vacant the resignation can be addressed to CJI. If office of CJI is vacant/absent then it is to be addressed to to senior most Supreme Court judge 

Impeachment (Article 61):

Article 61 provides for impeachment of the President only on grounds of violation of the constitution.

Procedure of Impeachment:

  1. Motion has to be brought in either house, it needs to be supported by 1/4th of members of the house.
  2. No proceedings shall be started before expiry of 14 days notice to given in writing by members bringing motion to the President.
  3. The motion needs to be passed by 2/3rd of total strength of the house.
  4. Second house will investigate charges, it can investigate on its own or can set up a tribunal or authorise any other body to do so.
  5. If motion is passed by second house with 2/3rd of total membership then the house will mention that charges have sustained.
  6. The President stands impeached from the day motion is passed by second house.

Important Constitutional Provisions:

ARTICLESDESCRIPTION
Article 52Provides for office of the President.
Article 53Vests executive power of the union under the President 
Article 54Electoral college
Article 55Manner of election of President 
Article 56Term of office 
Article 57Eligibility for re-election 
Article 58Qualifications for election.
Article 59Conditions of office
Article 60Oath of office 
Article 61Impeachment of President 
Article 70Discharge of President’s functions in other contingencies. 
Article 71Matter relating to election of President 
Article 72Pardoning Powers
Article 74Council of Ministers to aid & advice President
Article 75Other provisions relating to Ministers
Article 87Special address by President 
Article 123Ordinance making power of President 
Article 143Power to consult Supreme Court 
Article 352National Emergency 
Article 356President’s Rule
Article 360Financial Emergency 

Powers and Functions of President:

Legislative Powers of President:

  • Under Article 79, the President is part of the parliament of India but is not member of it.
  • President performs following functions relating to Parliament:
    • Summon, prorogue, dissolution of Lok Sabha (Article 85)
    • Special Address (Article 87)
    • Address (Article 86)
    • Right to send messages to Houses(Article 86)
    • Power to veto a bill, certain bills can only be introduced on her recommendation, she can send bills for reconsideration.
    • Joint sitting.
    • Ordinance making power (Article 123).
    • President can nominate 12 members of Rajya Sabha.
    • The President can give assent or veto bills reserved for his consideration by the governor under Article 200.
    • Disqualification of sitting MP is decided by the President on advice of Election Commission.
    • Asks presentation of annual financial statement (Budget).
    • Laws made by parliament are applicable to scheduled areas only after Presidential regulations. 

Executive Powers of President:

  • All executive actions of the union are taken in the name of the President.
  • He can make regulations for conduct of business of government of India (article 77).
  • President appoints Central council of ministers led by the Prime Minister under articles 74, 75 and can seek information relating to the administration from the PM under article 78.
  • The ministers hold office on pleasure of the President.
  • President administers oath of office to ministers.
  • Appointments key constitutional office holder on recommendations of the Prime Minister like CAG, Chairman of NCSC, NCST, Finance Commission, Attorney General, Election Commissioners etc.
  • Appoints Inter State Council under article 263.
  • Can declare scheduled areas
  • Administers union territories.

Diplomatic Powers of President:

  • The President is head of state and represents India at various international forums.
  • He appoints heads of Indian diplomatic missions to various countries.
  • He accepts credentials of foreign diplomats.

Military Powers of President:

  • President is Supreme Commander in Chief of Indian Armed Forces under Article 53(2).
  • He can declare war, conclude peace on advice of council of ministers led by PM.

Emergency Powers of President:

  • The President can proclaim national emergency on written recommendation of the cabinet under art 352.
  • He can declare Presidents Rule in state upon receipt of report from state governor under art 356.
  • He can declare financial emergency under article 360.
  • President can revoke proclamation of emergency or can convene session of parliament to pass resolution revoking the emergency.

Judicial Powers of President:

  • President takes oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of India.
  • Article 72 gives the President power to grant pardons.
    • Pardon: Completely free
    • Commutation: Substitution to lighter punishment.
    • Remission: Reduction in periods of punishment without change in nature.
    • Respite: Lesser sentence due to special fact.
    • Reprive: Stay on execution.
  • The judges of supreme court and high court are appointed by the President.
  • The President can remove the judges of the supreme court and high court after passing of resolution seeking their impeachment is passed by both houses.
  • Under Article 143, President can seek legal advice from the Supreme Court.

Ordinance Making Power of President (Article 123):

  • President can promulgate ordinances during the time of recess. Recess means house is prorogued not dissolved.
  • Ordinance making power is parallel to legislative power of parliament.
  • Conditions:
    • When both houses are not in session or only one house is in session.
    • President should be satisfied that circumstances exists which render him necessary to take immediate action. He may promulgate ordinances as circumstances appear to him to require.
  • He may promulgate: Means it’s not mandatory for President to promulgate.

Can Presidential satisfaction be subjected to judicial review?

  • Laxmi Narayan vs State of Bihar 1950: Supreme Court held that is should not inquire the appropriateness of President’s satisfaction.
  • R C Cooper vs UoI 1970: President’s satisfaction can be challenged on the grounds of malafide intention.
  • 38th Amendment Act 1975 made presidential satisfaction final.
  • 44th Amendment Act 1978 repealed 38th amendment, so position of RC Cooper Case will apply.
  • DC Wadhwa vs State of Bihar: Ordinance making power cannot bypass legislature. It will be treated as colourable exercise.

Validity of Ordinance:

  • Ordinance shall be laid before house once they reassemble.
  • If it is passed, it takes shape of law.
  • It will lapse within 6 weeks from the date second house reassembles.
  • Without parliamentary approval, ordinance can sustain for max 6 months +6 weeks (7 ½ months).

Discretionary Powers of President:

  • Unlike Governor, there are no provision relating to President’s discretionary powers.
  • There are certain cases wherein the President isn’t bound by advice of Council of Ministers, which can be called as conditional discretion.
    • Choosing the Prime Minister to form government when no party holds majority in Lok Sabha. (Hung Lok Sabha).
    • President can reject advice of PM to dissolve the Lok Sabha, PM has lost majority in Lok Sabha.
    • In case of disqualification of sitting MPs, President can act independent of union council of ministers. He has act in accordance to advice of ECI.

Reports laid down before Parliament by the President:

  1. Annual Financial Statement (Budget)
  2. Reports of CAG
  3. Report of recommendations of Finance Commission
  4. Report of UPSC
  5. Reports of NCSC, NCST, NCBC.
  6. Report of Special Linguistic Officer.

To complete UPSC Polity Notes, Click Here

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