Powers and functions of president of India

Powers and Functions of President of India


Today the Governments in different countries are either Parliamentary or presidential. The members of the constituent assembly while making the Constitution of India decided to make Parliamentary form of Government both for Center and states as it had been governed by this form of Government since the British regime and had acquired a sense of Understanding for this.

In a parliamentary form of Government President is the nominal head. And Prime-minister is the real Executive. The President of India is the first citizen of Country and acts like the symbol of unity and integrity of the nation . Article 52 of the constitution provides “there shall be a President of India. In the following paragraphs we will know

  • Who can be the president of India
  • Conditions of President’s office
  • Who can vote for election of president
  • Manner of election
  • Powers and functions of president of India

Who can be the President of India? – Qualifications

Article 58 of the constitution provides that a person to be eligible for election of president should be

  1. The citizen of India
  2. Should have completed the age of 35
  3. And is qualified for the election as a member of house of the people
  4. Should not hold any office of profit under the Government of India or Government of state.

The explanation of Article 58 provides that A person shall not be deemed to hold any office of profit who is the President or the Vice-president of the union or the Governor of any State or the Minister of the Union or of any State.

Conditions of president’s Office

Article 59 says that the president of India at the time of holding his office should not be the member of either house of Parliament or house of the legislature of any state. And if he is member of any of the house at the time of acquiring his office he shall be deemed to have vacated his seat in that house.

Who can vote for Election of president?

Article 54 of the Constitution provides that The president of India is elected By the elected members of both houses of Parliament and legislative assemblies of the state and union territories of Delhi and Pondicherry.
Thus the nominated members of both houses and legislative assemblies Can not participate in the election of President.

Manner of Election of President of India

Article 55 provides that the election of president is done by way of proportional representation by means of the Single transferable vote. The voting system adopted in it is Secret Ballot.

Powers and functions of president of India

President playing the role of head of Republic performs various functions in reference with the powers he is entitled with. The powers of the president of India are as under ;

  • Executive powers
  • Military powers
  • Diplomatic powers
  • Legislative powers
  • Ordinance making power
  • Pardoning power
  • Emergency power

1.Executive powers of President of India

Article 77(1) of the constitution says that President of India is the head of republic and executive power of union of India is vested in him. All orders and instruments performing executive functions are executed in the name of president.

The President of India has power to appoint

  • Prime minister
  • Ministers of union on the advice of prime minister
  • The judges of Supreme Court
  • The judges of High courts
  • The Governors of the state
  • Attorney general
  • Comptroller and Auditor general
  • The chairman and members of Public service Commission
  • The members of Finance Commission and official commissions
  • Chief Election commissioner and other Election Commissioners
  • Special officers of Scheduled casts and scheduled tribes
  • Commission to investigate into condition of backward classes
  • Commission to report on administration of Scheduled areas
  • Special officer for linguistic minorities.

2. Military powers of President of India

The president of India is the supreme commander of Armed forces. He has the power to declare war and peace. However the parliament is empowered to regulate and control this function of president.

3.Diplomatic powers of President of India

All international treaty and agreements are concluded on the name of president but they are subject to the ratification by parliament. President sends and receives Ambassadors and other diplomatic representatives.

4. Legislative powers of President of India

President also performs many legislative functions which are as follows

  • President has the power to summon, prorogue the parliament and he can dissolve the loksabha.(Article 85)
  • President may address either house of parliament or both houses assembled together (Article86)
  • The president addresses both houses of Parliament assembled together on the first of each year and on the first session after each General election.(Article87)
  • He may call for joint sitting of both the houses to resolve the deadlock in the matter of conflict between them.(Article108) (not applicable in money bills)
  • After a bill is passed by both of the houses of parliament it is presented before president for his assent. President may give his assent or withhold it. He can also return the bill to parliament to reconsider it and may recommend the amendments he desires (other than money bills). After which parliament may considering those amendments act upon it or may again pass and resend it the president. The president shall not with hold assent therefrom.(Article111)
  • He may appoint 12 persons in the council of states having special knowledge in literature, science, art, and social service.(Article 80)
  • He may nominate two anglo -Indians to loksabha if he is of the opinion that they are not adequately represented.(Article331)
  • The state bills which impose restrictions on trade and commerce require his recommendation (Article 304)

5. Ordinance making power of President of India – (Article 123)

If both the houses of parliament are not in session and the president is satisfied that the circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action he may promulgate ordinances. Theses ordinances have the same force and effect as an act of parliament but these ordinances are not permanent unless they are converted Into an act. Thus each of these ordinances must be presented before both houses of Parliament after their reassembly and if they pass a resolution of disapproving it or it Has been six weeks since their reassembly the ordinance will cease to have effect. It must be laid down here that Six months shall not exceed between two sessions of parliament (Article-85)

Clause 3 of article 123 says that the ordinances should not override any provision of constitution of its basic structure i.e. It must be competent to constitution. Otherwise it will be held void.

In A.k. Roy V. Union of India the court held that ordinances are subject to test of vagueness, arbitrariness, reasonableness, public interest and was passed when the legislatures were not in session. Thus an ordinance can be held invalid on the basis of the above grounds.

There are Chances that executive can misuses his ordinance making power. The case of Dc Wadhwa v. State of Bihar is one example of it. In this case SC held that it is unconstitutional to repromulgate ordinances unless in exceptional circumstances as ordinances themselves are Exception. In the Present case ordinances were being promulgated from last 15 years. The court called it colorable exercise of powers and fraud on constitution.

6. Pardoning power of President of India

  • The president has the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remission, or suspend remit Or commute the sentence
    • In all cases where the punishment or sentence is by Court martial,
    • Where punishment Is for the offence against any law to which the executive power of the union extends, and
    • In all cases where the sentence is sentence to death. (Article 72)
  • The object of this power is to revise the orders and make sure they are free from imperfections or mistakes.
  • A pardon completely absolves the punishment.
  • Commutation means exchange. When commutation is granted The punishment is changed with the punishment of lighter character or less rigorous.
  • Remission means reduction of the amount of punishment without changing its character.
  • Remission means awarding a lesser punishment on some special grounds. For ex. Granting simple imprisonment in place of rigorous imprisonment to a pregnant women offender.
  • Reprieve means temporary suspension of death sentence
  • In the case of Devendra pal Singh v. State of NCT Of Delhi The court held that the president or Governor can not overturn the decision of court and should properly scrutinize each case before exercising his power under Article 72.
    And in case of Epuru Sudhakar v. Govt. Of Andhra Pradesh it was held that the pardoning power of President and Governor is subject to judicial review.

7. Emergency Powers of President of India

There are three kinds of emergency provided in the constitution.

  • War, external aggression or armed rebellion(Article 352(1))
  • Failure lf constitutional machinery in state (Article 356(2))
  • Financial emergency (Article 360 (1))

The president may suspend the right to move courts for enforcement of fundamental rights except Article 21 and 22.


Thus from the above discussion it can be said that the Although the President of India is nominal head and performs all his functions with aid and advice of prime minister and council of ministers, but he conferred with such powers which Make him the symbol of the nation. In the words of Dr. Ambedkar his place in the administration is that of ceremonial device on a seal by which nation’s decisions are made known.

Author: Saumya Shukla,
Final year CMP degree college Prayagraj

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