ii. Vice- President
iii. Council of Ministers
iv. Attorney General
v. Comptroller & Auditor General
The President of India or Rashtrapati is the head of state and first citizen of India and the Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces. In theory, the President possesses considerable power. With few exceptions, most of the authority vested in the President is in practice exercised by the Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister.
The President is elected by the elected members of the Parliament of India (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) as well as of the state legislatures (Vidhan Sabhas), and serves for a term of five years. Incumbents are permitted to stand for re-election. A formula is used to allocate votes so there is a balance between the population of each state and the number of votes assembly members from a state can cast, and to give an equal balance between State Assembly members and National Parliament members. If no candidate receives a majority of votes there is a system by which losing candidates are eliminated from the contest and votes for them transferred to other candidates, until one gains a majority. The Vice-President is elected by a direct vote of all members (elected and nominated) of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
The 13th and current President of India is Pranab Mukherjee to serve in the office, who was sworn in on 25 July 2012.
India became formally independent from the United Kingdom on August 15, 1947. However, the country remained a Commonwealth realm, and continued in a personal union relationship with the other countries who each regarded the same person as their monarch and Head of State. The Monarch of India was represented by the Governor-General of India.
This was a temporary measure, however, as the continued existence of a shared monarch in the Indian political system was not considered appropriate for a truly sovereign nation. The first Governor General of independent India, Lord Mountbatten, was also the last British Viceroy of India before independence. He soon handed power over to C. Rajagopalachari, who became the first, last and only ethnically Indian Governor General. In the meantime, the Constituent Assembly led by Dr. Rajendra Prasad . The drafting was finished on November 26, 1949, and the Constitution was formally adopted on January 26, 1950—a date of symbolic importance as it was on January 26, 1930, that the Congress Party had first issued the call for complete independence from Britain. When the constitution took effect, the Governor General and King was replaced by an elected President, with Rajendra Prasad serving as the first President of India.
The move ended India's status as a Commonwealth realm, but the republic remained in the Commonwealth of Nations. Nehru argued that a nation should be allowed to stay in the Commonwealth simply by observing the British monarch as "Head of the Commonwealth" but not necessarily head of state. This was a ground-breaking decision that would set a precedent in the second half of the twentieth century for many other former British colonies to remain in the Commonwealth after becoming newly-independent republics.
1. A citizen of India
2. who is of 35 years of age or above
3. should be qualified to become a member of the Lok Sabha and
4. Should not hold any office of profit under the government.
Certain office-holders, however, are permitted to stand as Presidential candidates. These are:
· The current Vice President
· The Governor of any State
· A Minister of the Union or of any State
In the event that the Vice President, a State Governor or a Minister is elected President, they are considered to have vacated their previous office on the date they begin serving as President.
Whenever the office becomes vacant, President is elected by an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both houses of the Parliament and the elected members of the State Legislative Assemblies (Vidhan Sabha). The election uses the Single Transferable Vote method of proportional representation. Voting takes place by secret ballot.
Each elector casts a different number of votes. The general principle is that the total number of votes cast by Members of Parliament equals the total number of votes cast by State Legislators. Also, legislators from larger states cast more votes than those from smaller states. Finally, the number of legislators in a state matters; if a state has few legislators, then each legislator has relatively more votes; if a state has many legislators, then each legislator has fewer votes.
The actual calculation for votes cast by a particular state is calculated by dividing the state's population by 1000, which is divided again by the number of legislators from the State voting in the Electoral College. This number is the number of votes per legislator in a given state. For votes cast by those in Parliament, the total number of votes cast by all state legislators is divided by the number of members of both Houses of Parliament. This is the number of votes per member of either house of Parliament.
The President is elected for a five year term. The salary of the President is Rs. 150,000 per month and their emoluments cannot be reduced during their term of office.
Article 52 of the Indian Constitution states “There shall be President of India” Article 53(1) vests in the President the executive powers of the Union which are exercised either directly or through subordinate officers in accordance with the Constitution. Although the Constitution explicitly says that the President is the executive head of the state, real executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister. This is inferred from Article 74 of the Indian Constitution, providing for a "... council of ministers to aid and advise the President who shall, in exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice".
The President of India swears before entering the office of the President that he/she shall protect, preserve and defend the Constitution (Article 60), which provides for an executive head of state who is nominal or ceremonial. The powers of the President are intended to be similar to those of the British Crown, in that they would 'reign and not rule'.
Executive powers of the President
· All the executive actions of the Government of India are formally taken in his name.
· He appoints the Prime Minister, and the other Ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Ministers hold the office during the pleasure of the President.
· He appoints the Attorney-General of India and determines his remuneration. The Attorney-General holds office during the pleasure of the President.
· He appoints the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners, the Chairman and Members of the Union Public Service Commission, the Governors of the States, the Chairman and the Members of the Finance Commissions, and so on.
·He can seek any information relating to the administration of affairs of the Union, and proposals for legislation from the Prime Minister (Article 78).
· He can require the Prime Minister to submit, for consideration of the Council of Ministers, any matter on which the decision has been taken by a Minister but which has not been considered by the Council.
·He can appoint a Commission to investigate into the conditions of the SCs, the STs, and the OBCs.
· He can appoint the Inter-State Council to promote the Centre-State and the Inter-State coalition.
· He directly administers the Union Territories through either the Lt. Governor or the Commissioner or the Administrator.
· The President is an integral part of the Parliament of India (Article 79). In this capacity, he enjoys the following legislative powers.
· He can summon or prorogue both the Houses of the Parliament and dissolve the Lok Sabha.
· He can summon a joint sitting of both the Houses of the Parliament, which is presided over by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
· He can address both the Houses of the Parliament at the commencement of the first session after each general election and the first session of each year.
· 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 simultaneously.
· He 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 simultaneously.
· He nominates 12 members to the Rajya Sabha from amongst the persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of Literature, Science, Arts and Social Services.
· He can nominate 2 members to the Lok Sabha from the Anglo-Indian Community.
· He decides on questions as to the qualifications of the 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. For example, (i) a bill involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, and (ii) a bill for the alteration of boundaries of the States or creation of a new State.
· When a bill is sent to the President after it has been passed by the Parliament, he can:
· However, if the bill is again passed by the Parliament, with or without amendments, the President has to give his assent to the bill.
· The President has the option of veto with respect to the bills passed by the Parliament.
· The veto power enjoyed by the President of India is a combination of absolute, suspensive and pocket vetos.
· When a bill passed by a State legislature is reserved by the Governor for consideration of the President, the President can
o Give his assent to the Bill, or
o Withhold his assent to the Bill, or
o Direct the Governor to return the Bill (if it is not a Money Bill) for reconsideration of the State Legislature.
Note: It is not obligatory for the President to give his assent even if the Bill is again passed by the State legislature and sent again to him for his consideration. Thus, the President enjoys absolute veto over State Bills.
· He can promulgate ordinances when both the Houses of the Parliament are not in session (Article 123). These ordinances must be approved by the Parliament within the six weeks of its reassembly. He can also withdraw an ordinance any time.
· The ordinance can be effective, for a maximum period of 6 months and 6 weeks in case of non-approval by the Parliament. (This is a hypothetical possibility where we assume Parliament did not meet for 6 months.)
· He lays the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General, the Union Public Service Commission, the Finance Commission, and others, before the Parliament
Such an emergency was declared in India in 1962 (Indo-China war), 1965 (Indo-Pakistan war), and 1975 (declared by Indira Gandhi on account of "internal disturbance").
Important Presidential interventions
The President's role as defender of the Constitution, and their powers as Head of State, especially in relation to those exercised by the Prime Minister as leader of the government, have changed over time. In particular, Presidents have made a number of interventions into government and lawmaking, which have established and challenged some conventions concerning Presidential intervention. Some of the more noteworthy are documented here.
In 1979, the then Prime Minister, Charan Singh, did not enjoy a Parliamentary majority. He responded to this by simply not advising the President to summon Parliament. Since then, Presidents have been more diligent in directing incoming Prime Ministers to convene Parliament and prove their majority within reasonable deadlines (2-3 weeks). In the interim period, the Prime Ministers are generally restrained from making policy decisions.
The constitution gives the President the power to return a bill unsigned but it circumscribes the power to send it back only once for reconsideration. If the Parliament sends back the bill with or without changes, the President is duty bound to sign it. However, deliberately or inadvertently, the constitution does not set a time-limit in which the President is obliged to approve the bill, so they may withhold assent indefinitely. This has come to be known in legal and constitutional circles as the "Pocket Veto", and has been used on a number of occasions against controversial Bills.
· In the mid-1980s, President Zail Singh withheld assent to a Bill passed by Parliament that gave sweeping powers to the State to intercept mail. This was considered by the President to be an encroachment on citizens' freedom of speech and liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution.
· In early 1990, President Venkataraman withheld assent to a Bill passed by the outgoing Parliament that gave pension benefits to themselves. This was interpreted by the President to be self-aggrandisement.
Since the nineties, Parliamentary elections have generally not resulted in a single party or group of parties having a distinct majority. In such cases, Presidents have used their discretion and directed Prime Ministerial aspirants to establish their credentials before being invited to form the government. Typically, the aspirants have been asked to produce letters from various party leaders, with the signatures of all the MPs who are pledging support to their candidature. This is in addition to the requirement that a Prime Minister prove he has the support of the Lok Sabha (by a vote on the floor of the House) within weeks of being sworn in to office.
In the late nineties, President Narayanan introduced the important practice of explaining to the nation (by means of Rashtrapati Bhavan communiqués) the thinking that led to the various decisions he took while exercising his discretionary powers; this has led to openness and transparency in the functioning of the President.
In mid-2006, President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam sent back a controversial bill regarding enlarging the scope of the offices of profit, which disqualify a person from being a member of parliament. The opposition combine, the NDA, hailed the move. The UPA chose to send the bill back to the President without any changes, and after 30 days A. P. J. Abdul Kalam gave the assent.
Impeachment of the President
The President may be removed before the expiry of his/her term through impeachment. A President can be removed for violation of the Constitution.
The process may start in either of the two houses of the Parliament. The house initiates the process by levelling the charges against the President. The charges are contained in a notice which has to be signed by at least one quarter of the total members of that house. The notice is sent up to the President and 14 days later, it is taken up for consideration.
A resolution to impeach the President has to be passed by a two-third majority of the total members of the originating house. It is then sent to the other house. The other house investigates the charges that have been made. During this process, the President has the right to defend himself/herself through an authorised counsel. If the second house also approves the charges made by two-third majority again, the President stands impeached and is deemed to have vacated his/her office from the date when such a resolution stands passed. Other than impeachment, no other penalty can be given to the President for the violation of the Constitution.
No President has faced impeachment proceedings. Hence, the above provisions have never been tested.
In the event of a vacancy created for the President's post due to death, resignation, removal, etc., Article 65 of the Indian Constitution says that the Vice President will have to discharge his duties. The Vice President reverts to his office when a new President is elected and enters upon his office. When the President is unable to act owing to his absence, illness or any other cause, the Vice President discharges the President's functions for a temporary period until the President resumes his duties.
When the Vice President acts as, or discharges the functions of the President, he has all the powers and immunities of the President and is entitled to the same emoluments as the President.
Parliament has by an enactment made provision for the discharge of the functions of the President when vacancies occur in the offices of the President and of the Vice President simultaneously, owing to removal, death, resignation of the incumbent or otherwise. In such an eventuality, the Chief Justice, or in his absence, the senior most Judge of the Supreme Court of India available discharges the functions of the President until a newly elected President enters upon his office or a newly elected Vice President begins to act as President under Article 65 of the Constitution, whichever is the earlier.
Presidential Form of Government:
Main features of a Presidential form of Government are:
1. No distinction between the Notional and the Real Executive. The executive powers of the Government are not only vested in the President, they are exercised by him in actual practice also. The President is, thus, both the head of the State and the head of the Government.
2. 2. President is elected by the people for a fixed term. The President is elected, not by the Legislature, but directly by the entire electorate. Thus, both in regard to his election and tenure the President is not dependent on the Legislature.
3. 3. The President is the sole Executive. All executive powers of the Government are vested in the President and are exercised by him. His Cabinet has merely the status of an advisory body. Constitutionally, he is not bound by its advice. He may take the advice or may not take it at all. After getting the opinion of the Cabinet, he may refuse to accept it and may choose to act according to his own judgement.
4. 4. Both the President and the Legislature are independent of each other in respect of their terms. The President and the members of his Cabinet are not members of the Legislature. The Legislature has no power to terminate the tenure of the President before its full constitutional course, other than by impeachment. Similarly, the President has no power to dissolve the Legislature before the expiry of its term. Thus, the President and the Legislature are elected for fixed terms.
The following are the merits of the Presidential form of Government:
1. Greater Stability: In the Presidential systems, the head of State has a fixed term. This ensures stability of the system. He is also free from day-to-day Legislative duties and control, which enable him to devote his entire time to administration.
6. 2. Valuable in time of War or National Crisis. The Presidential executive is a single executive. In taking decisions, the President is not bogged down by endless discussions in his Cabinet. He can take quick decisions and implement them with full energy. Such a government, therefore, is very useful in the times of war or national crisis.
7. 3. Experts may be obtained to head the Departments. The President can select the persons with proper expertise to head various departments of the Government. These heads of
8. epartments constitute his Cabinet. The Ministers under the Presidential system, therefore, prove to be better administrators, whereas Ministers in a Parliamentary system are appointed as Ministers not because of administrative acumen, but simply because of their political affiliation.
9. 4. Less dominated by the Party Spirit. Once election to the office of the President is over, the whole nation accepts the new President as the leader of the nation. Political rivalries of the election days are forgotten. Both inside the Legislature and outside it,, people look at problems from a national rather than a party angle. This gives the system greater cohesion and unity.
5. No concentration of Legislative and Executive powers. Presidential system is organised on the principle of separation of functions and checks and balances. This provides much better protection to personal liberties than in the Parliamentary system.
Presidential system has been criticized on the following grounds:
1. Autocratic and Irresponsible. The Presidential system places immense powers in the hands of the President.
10. It is autocratic because the President is independent of the control of the Legislature. He may govern largely as he pleases. He cannot be made answerable regularly for the misdeeds of his administration. The Legislature (Congress) in the United States can turn down the appointments and treaties made by the President, but it can in no way remove him from the office, except through the impeachment. A power hungry President may misuse his powers to amass wealth, and to finish off political opponents.
2. Presidential Election is an Untidy Affair. The President in this system is elected directly. The election to this office generates great heat and tension. The whole national life gets disturbed. In countries where constitutional traditions are not as deep rooted as in the United States, tensions and instability of the election time can even result in revolutions.
11. 3. Friction and Discord between the President and the Legislature. The separation of the Executive and the Legislature may led to conflicts and deadlocks between the President and the Legislature. The Legislature may refuse to accept executive policies, or enact the laws suggested by the executive. The President, on the other hand, may show lack of interest in implementing the laws passed against his will. He may even veto the bills passed by the Legislature. Such deadlocks are more frequent when the party to which the President belongs does not have a majority in the Legislature.
12. 4. Responsibility is hard to find. In the Presidential system, it becomes difficult to fix responsibility for the Governmental failures. The President may blame the Legislature; the Legislature may put the blame on President. In the US, most of the bills are referred to the committees of the Legislature, on the report of which the bills are passed. The powers of these committees are immense. The committees have not only seized the power of law-making, they have also made fixing of responsibility in this regard very difficult.
List of Indian President
Vice-President of India
The Vice-President of India is the second-highest ranking government official in the executive branch of the Government of India after the President. The Vice-President also has the legislative function of acting as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Art. 64: Vice-President is the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya sabha).
The present Vice-President of India is Mr. Mohammad Hamid Ansari who was elected on 10th August 2007.
Article 63 of the Constitution of India provides for a Vice-President: "There shall be a Vice-President of India".
Election of the Vice-President and Qualification (Article 66)
The Vice-President is elected indirectly in accordance with the system of proportional representation with single transferable votes, by an Electoral College consisting of all the Members of both Houses of Parliament. The State Legislature shall have no part in it.
In order to qualified for the election of the vice-President a person must be:
Terms of office (Article 67)
The term of Vice-President is five years. His office may terminate earlier by resignation or by removal. No formal impeachment is required for his removal. He may be removed by a resolution of the Council of States passed by a majority of its members and agreed upon by the House of People. But no resolution for the purpose shall be moved unless 14 days notice has been given of the intention to move the resolution.
Functions of the Vice-President
No functions are, however attached to the office of the Vice-President as such. The normal function of the Vice-President is to act as the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha. But if there occurs any vacancy in the office of the President, he’ll act as the President until a new President is elected and enters upon his office.
When the vice-President acts as the President,he gets the emoluments of the President otherwise, he gets the salary of the chairman of the Council of States.
When vice-President act as President, he ceases to perform duties of Rajya Sabha chairman and then the Deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha will act as the chairman.
Council of Ministers .
• Article 74(1) provides that "There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head to aid and advice the President who shall, in exercise of his functions act in accordance with such advice."
• Article 75(1), "the Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President and other Ministers shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister."
• The Council of Ministers is formed as soon as the Prime Minister is sworn in.
A person from outside the Legislature can be appointed as Minister, but he can’t continue as minister for more than 6 months unless he secures a seat in either House of the Parliament.
A minister who is member of one House has a right to speak in and to take part in the proceedings of the other House though he has no right to vote in the House of which he is not a member (Art88).
• The number of the Ministers in the Council has been fixed in the Constitution (91st Amendment Act 2003; effective date January 1, 2004), where the number has been provisioned not to exceed 15% of the number of the MPs in the Lower House.
• The Prime Minister has the right to refer to the President, the removal of dissident minister(s) because technically the ministers are responsible individually to the President.
• The Council of Ministers consists of three categories of ministers - Ministers of Cabinet rank, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers. Cabinet Ministers are the senior most Ministers to head a department with portfolio.
• They constitute the Cabinet and have the right to attend all the Cabinet meetings convened by the Prime Minister.
• The word 'Cabinet Ministers' has been incorporated into the Constitution through the 44th Amendment Act in Article 352.
• Ministers of State are lower in rank to Cabinet Ministers and normally assist the latter.
• Ministers of State are paid the same salary as the Cabinet Ministers, usually they are not given independent charge of a ministry but the Prime Minister has the prerogative to allot an independent charge if he desires so.
• They cannot attend the Cabinet meetings normally but can be invited to attend them.
• The Deputy Minister cannot hold independent charge and always assist the Cabinet or State Minister or both.
• They never attend the Cabinet meetings.
• They are paid lesser salary than the Cabinet rank ministers.
• The Cabinet is the smaller body of the Council of Ministers.
• The Cabinet is the supreme policy making body.
• The Cabinet is an extra Constitutional growth based upon convention.
Note: All Council of Ministers are not the members of the Cabinet.
• A Minister can be a member of either House of the Parliament, but he is liable to vote in the House to which he belongs.
• A person not belonging to any House can be appointed as a Minister but he has to get elected to either House within a period of six months, [Art75 (5)].
• Non-member cannot be re-appointed without being elected.
• According to article 75 (2), Ministers hold office during the pleasure of the
The council of ministers formulates and implements the policy of the country. It prepares and presents the budget to the Parliament for its approval. It plays an important role in making foreign policies, recognition of new states and advice the President with regard to appointment of Diplomats, regarding proclamation of emergency on ground of war, external aggression or armed rebellion.
• In the Scheme of the Parliamentary system of Government provided by the Constitution, the President is the nominal executive (de-jure) authority and the Prime Minister is the real executive authority (de-facto).
• The President is the Head of the State while the Prime Minister is the Head of the Government.
• He is the leader of the party in power.
• He is Political Head of the Services
• He is the crisis manager-in-chief at the political level during emergency.
• He plays a significant role in shaping the foreign policy of the Country.
• As a leader of the Nation, he meets various sections of people in different States and
receives memoranda from them regarding their problems.
• He is the ex-officio Chairman of the Planning Commission, National Development Council, ' National Integration Council and Inter-state Council.
• The Prime Minister plays a very significant and highly crucial role in the politico-administrative system of the Country.
Powers and functions
In relation to the Council of Ministers:
• He recommends the persons who can be appointed as the Ministers by the President i.e., the President can appoint only those persons as the Ministers who are
ecommended by the Prime Minister
• He allocates and reshuffles various portfolios among the Ministers.
• He can ask a Minister to resign or advice the President to dismiss him in case of difference of opinion.
• He presides over the meetings of the Council of Ministers and influences its
• He guides, directs, controls, and coordinates the activities of all the Ministers.
• He can bring about the collapse of the Council of Ministers by resigning from the office any time.
• He can call the meeting of the Cabinet any time.
• The position of the Prime Minister in the Council of Ministers is described as Primus Inter Pares i.e. first among equals.
• The so called life and death of the ruling party is the Prime Minister.
• He summons and decides the agenda of the Cabinet meetings. Even the venue of such meetings is decided by the Prime Minister.
• He has right to call for any file from any ministry. This right is basically in
ursuance of his role as a coordinator of various ministries.
In relation to the President
• He advises the President with regard to the appointment of important officials like—the Attorney-General of India, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the Chairman and the members of the UPSC, the Election Commissioner^ the Chairman and the Members of the Finance Commission, and so on.
• An advisory body to the President and its advice is binding on him.
• The chief crisis manager and deals with all emergency situations.
• Deals with all major legislative and financial matters.
• Deals with all foreign policies and foreign affairs.
• Exercises control over higher appointments like the Constitutional authorities and senior Secretariat administrators.