President of India is the ceremonial head of India and the Commander-in-chief of Indian Armed Forces. India got independence in 1947 but from 1947 to 1950 India was a dominion within the Commonwealth of Nations and King George VI was the Head of the state and King of India. On 26th January 1950 when India became Republic and Constitution of India came into effect replacing the Government of India Act 1935. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was selected as the first President of India by the Constituent Assembly. And Ram Nath Kovind is the current and 14th President of India.
Article 52 – Article 62 of the Constitution of India lay down the provisions regarding appointment, election, qualifications and removal of President of India.
Article 52 provides that there should be a President of India.
Article 53 states that all the powers of the Executive should be vested in President and he can exercise those powers himself or through any subordinate officer. Clause 2 of the Article makes President the Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces.
Article 54 lay down the provision for Election of President. It provides that President should be elected by the members of Electoral College that consist the elected members from both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States. The National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Puducherry is also included in the “State” for election of President as they are having their own Legislative Assemblies. Article 55 lay down the manner for election of President. Article 55 also requires that all States are given uniformity in scale of representation also that parity should be there in States as a whole and the Union. And to achieve the parity and uniformity Article 55 contains a formula that determines the number of votes each member of the Electoral College is entitled to cast.
The number of votes every elected member of the Legislative Assembly of the State is entitled to cast is –
Population of State/Total number of elected members of all the Legislative Assemblies of the States ÷ 1000
With this formula total number of votes that elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all States are entitled can be found. And in case as a result of the above formula the reminder is larger than 500 then the vote of each member should be increased by one.
The number of votes which each elected member of Parliament are entitled to cast is –
Total number of votes assigned to all the elected members of all the Legislative Assemblies/Total number of elected members of both the Houses of Parliament
The term of office of President is laid down under Article 56. It states that term of office for a President is five years counted from the date when he enters the office. He cannot leave his office until his successor is elected. But he can resign anytime by writing to the Vice-President and can be removed by impeachment in case of violation of Constitution. In case of resignation the President had to communicate the same with the Speaker of the House of People. Article 61 provided the procedure for impeachment of the President. It provides that any House of Parliament can propose the charges against the President. And those charges should be preferred only if –
- The proposal is in form of a resolution. But firstly, a notice of 14 days in written form and signed by minimum 1/4th of the total members of the House in which resolution is proposed. The intention to move the resolution must be expressed in the notice.
- The resolution must be passed by atleast 2/3rd of the members of the House of the Parliament in which it is proposed.
- After passing of the resolution the other House of Parliament have to investigate the charge and the President have the right to appear and to present before the House during the investigation.
- After the investigation if the House investigating passes a resolution that charges against the President sustained with atleast 2/3rd of the total members of the House. The President is removed from his office from the date on which the resolution is passed.
Article 57 provides that a person serving as or served as the President can be elected again as the President. The eligibility qualifications for the election of President are laid down under Article 58. The qualifications are:-
- One must be citizen of India.
- Attained 35 years of age.
- Qualified for election as a member of House of People.
- Must not hold any office of profit under Government of India or any State Government or local authority.
Also there are certain conditions that need to be fulfilled for President’s office provided under Article 59. Those conditions are:-
- The President should not be a member of any House of Parliament. In case the person elected as President is member of any House of Parliament, he/she has to vacate his seat before entering office as President.
- He/she should not hold any office of profit under Government of India or any State Government or any local authority.
- The President is entitled to use official residencies and emoluments, allowances and privileges determined by the Parliament until that as specified in Second Schedule. During President is in office no change in the emoluments and allowances can be made.
The procedure and manner for the Oath or Affirmation by the President at the time of acting as a President and discharging the functions as President is provided under Article 60. A person elected as President before entering his office and discharging his functions as the President should take the Oath in presence of the Chief Justice of India or the senior-most Judge of the Supreme Court in absence of Chief Justice of India. One has to take the Oath in following manner –
“I, A.B., do (swear in the name of god/ solemnly affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President (or discharge the functions of the President) of India and I will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and the law and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of India.”
Article 62 provides that the election of new President should be completed before the expiration of term of the President. In case of death, resignation or removal of President the election should be held soon as possible and in case of any delay, within 6 months from the date of occurrence of vacancy. In case of such vacancy as mentioned above Article 65 entitles the Vice-President to act as the President until new President is elected.
Author: Vikramjit Singh,
Panjab University SSG Regional Centre, Hoshiarpur