The President is the executive head of the state. The Constitution vests all the executive powers of the Union Government in him. He exercises these powers either directly or through officers subordinate to him.
Qualifications for election as President: To be eligible for election as President, a person—
must be a citizen of India;
must have completed the age of 35 years;
must be qualified for election as a Member of theLok Sabha; and
must not be holding any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local authority subject to the control of any of these Governments.
But a sitting President or Vice-President of the Union or the Governor of any State or a Minister either for the Union or for any State is not disqualified for election as President (Art. 58).
Procedure of Election. The procedure of Presidential election is contained in Articles 54 and 55. While Art. 54 provides for the creation of an electoral college consisting of all the elected M.L.As. and M.Ps., Art. 55 provides for the formula of uniformity in the scale of representation of different States, as far as practicable, by incorporating the method of proportional representation with single transferable vote system. Total number of votes of an elected M.L.A.
No person can be declared elected as the President unless he secures more than half of the total votes cast. To ensure this, the system of single transferable vote is adopted. The members of electoral college indicate their preference on the ballot paper. If none of the candidates secures majority of votes cast, the candidates with the least number of votes is eliminated, and his votes transferred to the candidates of second choice of voters. This exercise is continued till one of the candidates secures absolute majority of total number of votes cast.
Term of office. The President holds his office for a term of five years. He is eligible for re-election. He vacates his office (a) by retirement, (b) by death, (c) by resignation, or (d) he may be removed from office by impeachment for violating the Con-stitution according to a procedure laid down in the Constitution.
Salaries and Allowances
The President receives a salary of Rs. 20,000 per month. In addition to this, he is entitled to other allowances and privileges including free official residence with free electricity and water, telephone, car facilities and secretarial assistance. On retirement the President is entitled to a pension of Rs. 10,000 per month. The salary and allowances being given to the President cannot be curtailed during the term of office.
Powers. The President enjoys the following powers:
A. Executive powers. (i) The President executes laws passed by the Parliament.
(ii) The President appoints all the important constitutional functionaries of the Union. He appoints the leader of the majority party as the Prime Minister and on his advice the Council of Ministers. He appoints Governors of States, Ambassadors, Chief Justice and Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts, Attorney-General, Comptroller and Auditor-General, Chairman and the Members of the U.P.S.C., Members of the Election Commission, the Finance Commission and other such Commissions.
(iii) He holds the supreme command of India’s defence forces and has the power of declaring war and peace.
(iv) He governs the Union Territories through Lt. Governors, Administrators, or Chief Commissioners, who are appointed by him.
(v) He receives foreign dignitaries.
(vi) He has also the power to remove the ministers and other chief dignitaries of the State. But his power in this respect is highly restrained by the conditions laid down in the Constitution. He can remove a minister only on the advice of the Prime Minister and a Judge of the Supreme Court or High Court on the advice of the Parliament.
B. Legisla tive powers. (i) The Pr esid ent has t he power to summon, adjourn or prorogue the Parliament and dissolve the Lok Sabha. In case of a deadlock between the two Houses of Parliament, the President can summon a joint sitting of the two, i.e., Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
(ii) He has the power to address the two Houses of Parliament at the first joint session after each general election and at the commencement of the first joint session every year.
(iii) He nominates to the Rajya Sabha 12 members distinguished in arts, science, literature and social sciences and can nominate to the Lok Sabha two members from the Anglo-Indian community, if it is not adequately represented there.
(iv) All bills passed by the Parliament are submitted to the President for his assent. He may give his assent to a Bill, or send it back to the Parliament for reconsideration, or veto it. In case a Bill is sent back for reconsideration and is again passed in original or modified form, it is obligatory on the part of the President to give his assent to it. The President can exercise an absolute veto only in the case of a Private Member’s Bill. In the case of legislation conducted by the Cabinet, the President can exercise only a suspensive veto.
(v) The President can promulgate an ordinance at any time when the Parliament is not in session, but such an ordinance has to be ratified by the Parliament when it reassembles.
C. Financial powers. (i) The President causes the annual budget and other important reports to be laid before the Parliament.
(ii) Money Bills can be introduced in the Lok Sabha only on the President’s recommendation.
(iii) He has the power to operate the Contingency Fund of India to meet any unforeseen expenses although such expenses have later to be approved by the Parliament.
(iv) Any demand for grant can be made only on the recommendation of the President.
D. Judicial powers. The President has the power to grant pardon, reprieve or remission of punishment or commute death sentence. It should be noted that while the Governor of a State has certain powers of pardon, the President is the only authority who can pardon a death sentence.
E. Emergency powers. The President has the power to issue proclamation of emergency arising out of
(i) external aggression or internal disorder (National emergency),
(ii) failure of the constitutional machinery in the States (Constitutional emergency), or
(iii) threat to financial stability (Financial emergency). In an emergency the President enjoys enormous powers.
|Directive Principles||Fundamental Rights|
|Directive principles are positive instructions to the government to work for the attainment of set objectives.||Fundamental Rights are injunctions to the government to refrain from doing certain things.|
|These are not enforceable through courts.||These are enforceable through courts if government ignores or violates them.|
|It aims to promote the welfare of society.||It aims to protect the individual from state encroachment.|
Schedules In The Constitution
Schedule I—Territories of the 25 States and 7 Union Territories of India.
In case the President is guilty of the violation of the Constitution, he can be removed from the office before the expiry of his term.
A resolution for his impeachment can be moved in either House of Parliament and must be passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of that House.
Facts to be Remembered
Thereafter, the second House should investigate the charges and should pass a resolution by the same type of majority that the charges against the President have been proved.
Once the second resolution is passed, the President stands removed from his office.
To start the proceedings, a 14 days’ notice signed by not less than one-fourths of the Members in either House of Parliament has to be given.
During the investigation, the President has the right to defend himself.
Constitutional position of the President
In India, the President is the Head of the State and not the Head of the Government. It is the Prime Minister who is the Head of the Government.
Once the Prime Minister has been elected and theCouncil of Ministers formed, the President is bound to act in accordance with their advice as long as they enjoy the confidence of the Parliament.
The President of India exercises more or less nominal powers like the King or Queen of England and is not like the President of the U.S.A., who is the real executive.
Qualifications for election as Vice-President. To be eligible for election as Vice-President, a person: must be a citizen of India, must have completed the age of 35 years, must be qualified for election as a Member of theRajya Sabha, must not hold any office of profit under the Union Government or the Government of a State or any local authority, he should also not be a Member of either House ofParliament or of a State Legislature, he should not have been convicted by a court oflaw, and he should not be insolvent or of unsound mind.
Election. The Vice-President is elected by an electoral college consisting of all the Members of both the Houses of Parliament by the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote through secret ballot.
Term. The Vice-President remains in office for five years. He is eligible for re-election. He can be removed from office by an absolute majority of the Rajya Sabha if the decision is agreed to by a simple majority of the Lok Sabha provided 14 days’ advance notice has been given for this purpose.
The Vice-President is entitled to a salary of Rs. 7,500 (excluding allowances) in the capacity of his being Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. When he acts as President, he is entitled to emoluments equivalent to that of the President.
Functions: (i) The Vice-president is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
(ii) He officiates as President in case of death, resignation or removal of the latter till the new President is elected. This period cannot exceed six months.
(iii) He discharges the functions of the President if the latter is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence, illness or any other causes.
Facts To Be Remembered