The President of India is the country’s first citizen and is the supreme commander of all the forces i.e. namely the Indian Army, the Indian Navy, and the Indian Airforce. To understand this constitutional post we must look at the history of where the concept of the President of India came from. All the important appointments are made by him for example – Prime Minister, Chiefs of Army, Navy & Airforce, Chief Justice of India, and Judges of the Supreme Court & High Courts.
The Indian constitution from the perspective of a student has three parts namely Article, Schedules & Parts and it is left to our discretion how we study it to solve the tricky questions related to the constitution in our examination. This topic of the President of India falls under Schedule 2, Part V (5) which consists of subjects related to the Union of India, Article 52-78 that deal with the Union Executive, including articles related to the President (Article 52-62).
Table of Content
- British Crown
- Eligibility Criteria
- Election Procedure
Britain – The President of India ≈ The British Crown Monarch
The inspiration for the concept of the President of India comes from the British Crown, where everything was done in the name of the Crown whereas the real power rests in the hands of the British Parliament. He is a part of the Union Executive along with the Vice-President, Prime Minister, Council of Ministers, and Attorney-General of India.
The background story of the inspiration comes from this article in the Indian Express where arguments and counter-arguments about the position, its power and the election were discussed. If a reader wants to understand the context of creating such an executive position then give this article in the Indian Express a good read, it will help in having a deeper understanding of the topic.
“We considered whether we should adopt the American model or the British model where we have a hereditary King who is the fountain of all honor and power, but who does not actually enjoy any power. All the power rests in the legislature to which the Ministers are responsible. We have had to reconcile the position of an elected President with an elected legislature and in doing so, we have adopted more or less the position of the British monarch for the President.“
“His position is that of a constitutional President, Then we come to the Ministers. They are of course responsible to the legislature and tender advice to the President who is bound to act according to that advice. Although there are no spécifié provisions, as far as I know, in the Constitution itself making it binding on the President to accept the advice of the ministers, it is hoped that the convention under which in England the King acts always on the advice of his ministers will be established in this country also.”
Eligibility Criteria to become the President of India | Who can become the President of India?
To be elected as a President of India one must fulfil the following criteria.
- He should be an Indian Citizen
- His age should be a minimum of 35 years
- He should qualify the conditions to be elected as a member of the Lok Sabha
- He should not hold any office of profit under the central government, state government, or any public authority
Lok Sabha Member Eligibility Criteria
A person must satisfy all the following conditions to be qualified to become a member of parliament of the Lok Sabha
- Must be a citizen of India.
- Must not be less than 25 years of age.
- He must be a voter for any parliamentary constituency in India.
- A candidate of a recognised political party needs one proposer from his/her constituency for his/her nomination.
- An independent candidate needs ten proposers.
- *Candidates are required to make a security deposit of ₹25,000 – This deposit can change from time to time therefore shouldn’t be memorized
All these points are taken from Wikipedia
Election Procedure of the President of India | What is the procedure for the election of the President?
The election of the President is an indirect election where an electoral college of only the elected Members of the Parliament & State Legislative Assemblies vote for the election of the President.
- Elected members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
- Elected members of Legislative Assemblies of the states and not Legislative Councils. There are only six states in India with Legislative Council or Upper house. They are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh.
- Elected Members of Legislative Assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry
- No nominated Member of Parliament (either of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha) or MLA (Member of State Legislative Assembly) or nominated member of Union territories votes for the election of the President of India.
First, read the above paragraphs and then watch this video on the quint that will help you in understanding what is the value of each vote of the member of the electoral college.
Powers of the President of India
To understand the legislative powers of the President of India first we must understand what is legislation. The process of drafting a bill and then passing the bill by consensus in the parliament is known as legislation. There are certain types of bills and certain processes to pass the bills. Therefore in order to understand the legislative powers first we have to understand the types of bills and how they are passed in the parliament.
Legislative Powers of the President
- A bill can only become law after the President gives his assent.
- He summons (calls for) a joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in case of deadlock
- He addresses the Indian Parliament at the commencement of the first session after every general election
- He appoints the speaker, deputy speaker of Lok Sabha, and chairman/deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha when the seats fall vacant
- He nominates 12 members of the Rajya Sabha
- He consults the Election Commission of India on questions of disqualifications of MPs.
- He summons or prorogues the Parliament and dissolves the Lok Sabha
- He promulgates ordinances
- He lays the following reports before the Parliament:
- Comptroller and Auditor General
- Union Public Service Commission
- Finance Commission
Financial Powers of the President of India
- To introduce the money bill, his prior recommendation is a must
- He causes Union Budget to be laid before the Parliament
- To make a demand for grants, his recommendation is a pre-requisite
- The contingency Fund of India is under his control
- He constitutes the Finance Commission after every five years
Executive Powers of the President of India
- Every executive action is taken in the name of the President of India
- He appoints the following people:
- Prime Minister, CDS, Chiefs of all the Defence forces, CJI & Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts of India
- Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)
- Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners
- Chairman and members of the Union Public Service Commission
- State Governors
- Finance Commission of India chairman and members
- He appoints the attorney general of India and determines his remuneration
- The President of India seeks administrative information from the Union government
- He requires PM to submit, for consideration of the council of ministers, any matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but, which has not been considered by the council
- He appoints National Commissions of:
- Scheduled Castes
- Scheduled Tribes
- Other Backward Classes
- He appoints inter-state councils
- He appoints administrators of union territories
- The President of India can declare any area as a scheduled area after the consultation with the Governor of that state and has powers with respect to the administration of scheduled areas and tribal areas – There was a question regarding this power of the President in the UPSC 2022 Prelims paper. The Fifth Schedule under Article 244(1) of the Constitution defines “Scheduled Areas” as such areas as the President may by order declare to be Scheduled Areas after consultation with the Governor of that State. Read more about the 5th Schedule in this small PDF Document of 2 pages.
Judicial Powers of the President of India
- Appointment of Chief Justice and Supreme Court/High Court Judges are on him
- He takes advice from the Supreme Court, however, the advice is not binding on him.
- He has pardoning power: Under article 72, he has been conferred with the power to grant pardon against punishment for an offense against union law, punishment by a martial court, or death sentence.
Note: Pardoning powers of the president include the following types:
- Pardon with the grant of pardon convicts both conviction and sentence completely absolved
- Commutation with this nature of the punishment of the convict can be changed
- Remission reduces the term of the imprisonment
- Respite awards lesser punishment than original punishment by looking at the special condition of a convict
- Reprieve stays the execution of the awarded sentence for a temporary period
Emergency Powers of the President of India
He deals with three types of emergencies given in the Indian Constitution:
- National Emergency ( Under Article 352)
- President’s Rule ( Under Articles 356 & 365)
- Financial Emergency ( Under Article 360)
Military Powers of the President of India
He is the commander of the defense forces of India. He appoints:
- Chief of the Army
- Chief of the Navy
- Chief of the Air Force
Diplomatic Powers of the President of India
- International Treaties and agreements that are approved by the Parliament are negotiated and concluded in his name
- He is the representative of India in international forums and affairs.
Impeachment | How to remove the President of India from his office?
- The President can be removed from office through an impeachment process for the “violation of the constitution.”
- However, the phrase “violation of the Constitution” is not defined in the Constitution.
- Article 61 of the Constitution of India prescribes the President’s impeachment procedure.
- The charges of impeachment can be brought by either House of Parliament.
- These charges must be signed by one-fourth of the members of the House (who framed the charges), and the President must be given 14 days’ notice.
- After the impeachment resolution is passed by a two-thirds majority of the total membership of that House(where charges were framed), it is sent to the other House, for an investigation into the charges.
- In such an investigation, the President has the right to appear and be represented.
- If the other House also upholds the charges and passes the impeachment resolution by a two-thirds vote of the total membership of the house present and voting, the President is removed from office as of the date the resolution is passed.
- Impeachment is a quasi-judicial procedure in Parliament, which means that a special majority of two-thirds of members present and voting in both houses is required, and an investigation is set up by the opposing party prior to this.
- Two things should be noted in this context:
- nominated members of either House of Parliament can participate in the impeachment of the President even though they do not vote in his election; and
- elected members of legislative assemblies of states and the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry cannot participate in the impeachment of the President even though they vote in his election.
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