President of India

Article 52 of the Indian Constitution states that there shall be a President of India.

The President of India is the head of the State and acts a symbol of unity, integrity and solidarity of the nation. He is the first citizen of India. He does not belong to any particular political party. The President is not directly elected by the people but by members of an Electoral College. The Electoral College consists of –

  • The elected members of both the Houses of Parliament and
  • The elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States; and
  • The elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.

Shri Ram Nath Kovind is the 14th and incumbent President of India. He assumed office on 25th July 2017.

Qualifications for election as President – To be eligible for election as President one must fulfill the following qualifications:

  1. Should be a citizen of India;
  2. Should have completed the age of 35 years;
  3. Should be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha;
  4. Should not hold any office of profit under the Government of India or any state government or under any local authority or any of these Governments.

The President holds office for a period of five years. However, he can resign from his office anytime by handing the resignation letter addressed to the Vice-President of India. He can also be removed from office for violation of the Constitution before the completion of his term by the process of impeachment. When a vacancy occurs due to his death, resignation, removal or otherwise, the Vice-President is to officiate as President until a new President is elected. An election to fill the vacancy of President must take place before the expiry of six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy.


Powers and Functions of the President of India:

  • Legislative powers
  • Executive powers
  • Financial powers
  • Judicial powers
  • Diplomatic powers
  • Military powers
  • Emergency powers

Legislative powers

The President can prorogue the Parliament and dissolve the Lok Sabha. He can also summon a joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament.

He can address either or both House of Parliament at the commencement of the first session after general election and at the first session of Parliament each year.

A bill passed by both the Houses of Parliament can become laws only after receiving the assent of the President. The President can give his assent to the bill, or withhold his assent, or return the bill (if it is not a money bill) for reconsideration. However, if the bill is presented to the President for the second time, with or without amendments, it becomes obligatory for the President to give his assent. The President may also reserve the right for the consideration of a bill passed by a State Legislature in such cases where those are referred to him by the Government of a State.

The President can nominate members in both Houses of the Parliament. He can nominate 12 members of the Rajya Sabha and 2 members to the Lok Sabha from the Anglo-Indian Community.

He can decide on questions for disqualifications of members of the Parliament, in consultation with the Election Commission.

Executive powers

The President is the head of the union executive. All executive powers of the country are exercised by the President. He appoints the Prime Minister and other ministers. They hold office during his pleasure. He also appoints the attorney general of India. The President appoints the Governors of States, the Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts, the Auditor General of India and many other high officials, such as the members of Finance Commission, Election commission, Union Public commission etc.

Financial powers

Money bills can be introduced in the Parliament only with the recommendation of the President. The President lays the annual Union budget before the Parliament every year. He can make advances out of the Contingency Fund of India to meet unforeseen expenses. The President constitutes a finance commission after every five years to recommend the distribution of the revenues between the Centre and the States.

Judicial Powers

The President of India appoints the Chief Justice and other judges on the advice of the Chief Justice. He can also seek for advice from the Supreme Court. The President of India grant pardons, reprieves, respite and remissions of punishment, or suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence.

Diplomatic powers

The international treaties and agreements are negotiated and concluded on behalf of the President. However, such negotiations are subject to the approval of the Parliament. The President represents India in international forums and affairs and receives diplomats like ambassadors, high commissioners, and so on.

Military powers

The President is the Supreme Commander of the defence forces of India. He appoints the chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. The President can declare war or conclude peace, subject to the approval of the Parliament headed by the Prime MInister.

Emergency powers

In addition to the powers mentioned above, the President exercises extra-ordinary powers in times of emergency.

The following are the three types of emergencies:

  1. National Emergency (Article 352)
  2. President’s Rule (Article 356 and 365)
  3. Financial Emergency (Article 360)

Salary

The president of India currently draws a salary of one lakh fifty thousand only which is decided by the Parliament of India.

Impeachment of the President of India

The President of India can be removed from office before the expiry of his term by a process of impeachment for ‘violation of the Constitution’. The charges shall be initiated by either Houses of the Parliament. These charges should be signed by not less than one-fourth of the total members of the House. The President should be given a 14 days’ notice. The impeachment resolution should be passed by two-thirds of the total membership of that House. It is then sent to the other House which should investigate the charges. The President shall have the right to appear and to be represented at such investigation. If after investigation the other House sustains the charges and passes a two-thirds majority of the total membership, the President shall be removed from office from the date on which the resolution is so passed.


External links:

Official Site of The President of India

Maps of India – President of India

ImportantIndia – Powers and Functions of President in India


Questions:

President of India

  1. Under which article of the Indian Constitution states that there shall be a President of India?
    a) Article 50
    b) Article 52
    c) Article 61
    d) Article 78
  2. _________is regarded as the head of the Indian state.
    a) Prime Minister
    b) Chief Justice of India
    c) Governor
    d) President
  3. How is the President of India elected?
  4. How many types of emergency powers does the President of India enjoys?
    a) 2
    b) 3
    c) 4
    d) 5
  5. How is the President of India removed from office?
Query Box