The President (Article 52 – 62)
There shall be a President of India (Article 52). He is the Head of the State. The Executive power of the Union (Central) is vested with the President and it is exercised by him in accordance with the Constitution either directly or through officers subordinate to him (Article 53). The expression saying that “officers subordinate to him” includes a minister also.
Article 58 provides the qualifications which a person must possess for being elected to the office of the President of India as follows:
- He is a Citizen of India
- He has completed the Age of 35 years
- He is qualified for election as a Member of the House of the People (ie the President must be registered to be an Voter in Parliamentarian House).
- He does not hold any office of profit under the Government of India, or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments.
2.Condition of President’s Office:
Article 59 of the Indian Constitution says that the President of India cannot be a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of the Legislature of any State or Union Territory. If a member of either House is elected as a President he shall deemed to have vacated his seat before he enter upon an office as a President and he cannot hold any office for Profit.
3.Official Residence, Emolument and Allowances of President:
The President shall be entitled to use his official residence free of rent. He is also entitled to such emoluments ‘allowances and privileges as may be’ determined by Parliament by law and until provision in that behalf is so made, such emoluments, allowances and privileges as are specified in the Second Schedule.
Election of President:
The President of India is not directly elected by the people of the Country. Art 54 provides that the President shall be elected by an electoral college consisting of:
- The elected members of both Houses of Parliament; and
- The elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States.
The Constitution (70th Amendment) Act, 1992 had added a new explanation to Art.54 which provides that the word “State” includes the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Pondicherry. This means that the MLAs of the National Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory will be included in the electoral college of the President.
The nominated members of the both the Houses at the Centre and the States do not have voting rights in the election of the President. The Election of the President shall be held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. The Secret Ballot System is used for Voting.
Mode of voting:
Under the Constitution, the election of the President must be held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. The secret Ballot System is used for Voting.
Disputes regarding the election:
Article 71 provides that all doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with the election of the President or Vice-President shall be ‘inquired’ into and ‘decided’ by the Supreme Court whose decision shall be final. But if the election of the President of Vice-President is declared void by the Supreme Court acts done by President of Vice-President in the exercise of their powers before the date of decision of the Supreme Court shall not be invalidated by reason of that declaration. Under Art. 71(3), Parliament may, by law, regulate any matter relating to the election of the President or Vice-President. Art. 71 (4) makes it clear that the election of the President or Vice-President cannot be challenged on the ground of existence of any vacancy for whatever reason in the electoral college electing him.
Oath by the President:
According to Article 60, before entering upon his office, the President has to take an Oath or an affirmation in the presence of the Chief Justice of India, or, in his absence, the seniormost Judge of the Supreme Court available, ‘to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law and to devote himself to the service and well-being of the people of India’.
Term of office of the President:
Article 56 says that the President shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office. Even after the expiry of his term he shall continue to hold office until his successor enters upon his office. He is also eligible for re-election. He may be elected for any number of terms. But in America after 22nd Amendment to the U.S.A Constitution, a person cannot be elected to the office of the President more than twice. The President in India can resign his office before the expiry of his normal term of five years by writing it to the Vice-President and the President can be removed from his office for the violation of the Constitution by the process of Impeachment.
Time of holding election on expiry of term and filling casual vacancies:
Article 62(1) provides that elections to fill the vacancy caused by the expiry of the term of office of the President must be completed before the expiration of the term. According to Article 62(2) an election to fill a vacancy in the office of President occurring by reason of his death, resignation or removal or otherwise shall be held as soon as possible and in no case later than six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy. The person so elected shall, subject to the provisions of Art. 56, hold office for the full term of five years from the date on which he assumes his office. If any vacancy occurs in the office of the President, the Vice-President shall act as the President. If the Vice-President is not available then the Chief Justice of India and the Senior most Judge of the Supreme Court of India available will be in the line of succession to discharge function of the President.
In ln re Presidential Election case, the Supreme Court held that the election to fill the vacancy in the office of the President must be completed before the expiration of the term of the President having regard to Articles 62 (1), 54 and 55 of the Constitution. Art. 56 (1) (c) applies President can continue in his Office by only when his Successors is has not entered the Office.
Procedure for Impeachment of the President:
Article 61 of the Indian Constitution lays down the procedure for the impeachment of the President. The President of India can be removed from his office by a process of Impeachment under the ‘Violation of the Constitution’. The either Houses of Parliament can impose Impeachment Charges against Him. The charge must come in the form of a proposal contained in a resolution signed by not less than 1/4th of the total number of the members of the House and moved after giving at least 14days advance notice. The Above said Resolution must be passed by Majority of 2/3rd of Members of the House. The charge is then investigation by the other House. The President of India has right to appear and to be represented at such investigation. If the other House after investigation passed a resolution by 2/3rd majority declaring that the charge is proved, such resolution is passed then the Effect of Removing President From his Office can be made.
Protection of the President:
Article 361 of the Constitution guarantees the following privileges to the President:
1) The President of India shall not be answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office or for any act done or purporting to be done by him in the exercise of those powers and duties.
2) No criminal proceedings instituted or continues against a President in any Court during in the Term of His Office .
3) During his Term of Office no Sentencing of Imprisonment or Arrest cannot done Against Him.
4) No civil proceedings in which relief is claimed against the President shall be instituted during his term of office in any court in respect of any act done or purporting to be done by him in his personal capacity whether before or after he has entered upon his office until (a) a notice in writing has been given to the President, (b) two months have passed after the service of such notice, and (c) the notice states the nature of proceeding, the cause of action, the name, residence and description of the party taking the proceedings and the relief claimed.
Executive Powers of President
- For every executive action that the Indian Government takes is to be in his name
- He may/ may nit make rules to simplify the transaction of the business of the Central Government
- He Appoints the Attorney General of India and determines his Remuneration
Legislative Power of President
- He summons or progures Parliament and dissolve the Lok Shaba
- He summons a joint sitting of Lok Shaba and Rajya Shabha in case of Deadlock
- He addresses the Indian Parliament at the commencement of the first session after every General Election
- He can nominate two members to Lok Shabha from the Anglo-Indian Community
- He consults the Election Commission of India on question of disqualification of MP
Financial Powers of President
- To introduce the money bill, his prior recommendation is a must
- He causes Union Budget to be laid before the Parliament
- To make a demand for grants, his recommendation is a pre-requisite
- Contingency Fund of India is under his control
- He constitutes the Finance Commission every five years
Diplomatic Power of President
International Treaties and Agreements are approved by the Parliament and Negotiated and Concluded in his Name. President of India is the Representative of India in all International Forums and Affairs.
Judicial Powers of President
- Appointment of Chief Justice and Supreme Court/High Court Judges are on him
- He takes advice from the Supreme Court, however, the advice is not binding on him
- He has pardoning power: Under article 72, he has been conferred with power to grant pardon against punishment for an offence against union law, punishment by a martial court, or death sentence.
Military Power of President
He is the Commander of the Defense Force of India. He Appoints:
- Chief of the Army
- Chief of the Air Force
- Chief of the Navy
Emergency Powers of President
President of India deals with three types of emergencies given in the Indian Constitution:
- National Emergency (Article 352)
- President’s Rule (Article 356 & 365)
- Financial Emergency (Article 360)
D.C. Jain, Constitution of India by V.N. Shkula (1969)
Dr. J. N. Pandey, Constitutional Law of India (1969)
Sujata.V. Manohar, T.K. Tope’s Constitutional Law of India (2010)
Author: R. Shanmuga Sundaram,
Chettinad School of Law