Powers and Functions of President of India – Best Notes for Competitive Exams

The President is both the head of state and head of government of the United States of America and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Under Article II of the Constitution, the President is responsible for the execution and enforcement of the laws created by Congress.

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President of India

  • According to Article 52, “There shall be a President of India” as the Executive Head of the State and first citizen of India.
  • According to Article 53, “The Executive powers vested in the President are to be exercised on the advice of the Council of Ministers responsible to the Parliament.

Qualifications of President of India

a. Must be a citizen of India.
b. Completed 35 yrs in age.
c. Eligible to be a member of Lok Sabah.
d. Must not hold any Government post. Exceptions:

  • President and Vice-President
  • Governor of any State
  • Minister of Union or State.

Election of President of India

  • Article 54 and 55 lay down the procedure for electing the President.
  • Indirectly elected through ‘Electoral College’ consisting of elected members of both the Houses of Parliament & elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States. (No nominated members). According to the 70th Amendment Act, 1992, the expression ‘States’ includes the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Pondicherry. Members of the Legislative Councils have no right to vote in the Presidential election.
  • The total voting strength of the Parliament is equal to the total voting strength of all state assemblies together.
  • There is uniformity in the representation of different States at the President’s election according to the population and the total number of elected members of the Legislative Assembly of each State. The formula adopted to secure uniformity among the States is as follows:

Value of Vote of an MLA =

  • On the basis of the above formula, the value of the vote of an MLA from UP has the highest value and that from Sikkim the lowest.
  • The formula adopted to secure uniformity between all the States on one hand and the Parliament on the other is as follows:

Value of Vote of an MP =

  • The election is held through the system of proportional representation by means of the single—transferable vote by secret ballot. The candidate who gets 50% of votes is considered elected.

Quota =

  • Supreme Court inquires all disputes regarding President’s election.
    In the history of Presidential elections, V.V. Giri is the only person who won the election of President as an independent candidate in 1969. In July 1977, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy was elected unopposed as no one else filed nomination for the post of President.
  • Takes Oath in presence of the Chief Justice of India, or in his absence, senior most judge of the Supreme Court.

Term and Emoluments of President of India

  • 5-year term.
  • Article 57 says that there is no upper limit on the no. of times a person can become President.
  • Can give resignation to Vice President before full-term.

Impeachment (Article 61) of the President of India

  • Quasi-judicial procedure.
  • Can be impeached only on the ground of violation of the Constitution.
  • The impeachment procedure can be initiated in either House of Parliament. The charge must come in the form of a proposal which must be signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of that House. Before the resolution could be passed, a fourteen days notice must be given to the President. If, after the notice, the House passes the resolution by a majority of not less than 2/3rd the membership of that House, the matter will be referred to the other House.
  • After the charges are framed by one house, the other House investigates them. At this time President has the right to defend himself either in person or through his lawyer. If after the investigation, the other house passes the resolution by not less than 2/3rd majority of that House, the President stands impeached from his office from the date on which the motion is so passed.

Vacancy of the presidential post

  • In case the office falls vacant due to death, resignation or removal, the Vice-President acts as President. If he is not available then Chief Justice, if not then the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court.
  • The election is to be held within 6 months of the vacancy

Only once in the History of India, Justice M. Hidayatullah Chief Ji Court, discharged the duties of the President in 1969.

Justice Hidayatullah is the only person to perform the functions of the President two times in two different capacities, the first time in 1969 being the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the second time being the Vice-President of India in 1982.

Powers of the president of India

  • Appoints PM, ministers, Chief Justice & judges of Supreme Court & High Courts, chairman & members of UPSC, Comptroller and Auditor General, Attorney General, Chief Election Commissioner and other members of Election Commission, Governors, Members of Finance Commission, Ambassadors, etc.
  • He directly administers the Union Territories through the Lt. Governor, Commissioner or Administrator.

Legislative Powers of President of India

  • Can summon & prorogue the sessions of the 2 houses & can dissolve Lok Sabha. Can address both houses jointly/separately.
  • Addresses the first session after general elections and at the commencement of the first session of each year.
  • Can send messages to both Houses, whether with respect to a Bill pending in the Parliament or otherwise.
  • Can appoint any member of the Lok Sabah to preside over its proceedings when both the offices of Speaker and the Deputy Speaker fall vacant simultaneously (Same way in Rajya Sabah also).
  • Nominates 12 members to Rajya Sabha.
  • Nominates 2 members of the Anglo-Indian community in Lok Sabha if they haven’t received adequate representation.
  • Decides on the questions as to the qualifications of the MPs, in consultation with the Election Commission.
  • His prior recommendation or permission is needed to introduce certain types of Bills in the Parliament. E.g., a Bill for the formation of new States or alteration of boundaries of a State, a Money Bill, etc.
  • When a Bill is sent to the President after it has been passed by the Parliament, he can:
  1. Give his assent to the Bill, or
  2. Withhold his assent to the Bill, or
  3. Return the Bill (if it is not a Money Bill or a Constitutional Amendment Bill) for reconsideration of the Parliament, although only once.
  • President has the power to veto with respect to the Bills passed by the Parliament. He enjoys three types of veto powers:
  1. Absolute Veto: Withholding the assent to the Bill. Normally, it is exercised only in the case of private member’s Bill. In the case of a Government Bill, a situation may however be imagined where, after the passage of a Bill and before it is assented to by the President, the ministry resigns and new council of ministers advices the President to use his veto power against the Bill.
  2. Suspense Veto: It is exercised when instead of refusing his assent out rightly to a Bill, the President returns the Bill or part of it for reconsideration and the Parliament makes it obligatory on him to give his assent to it. In this case, the veto power is merely of suspensive nature.
  3. Pocket Veto: Since the Constitution does not provide any time limit within which the President is to declare his assent or refusal, the President could exercise this veto by not taking any action for an indefinite time; but if the ministry has a strong backing in Parliament, it would not be possible for him to do so. Pocket Veto was used in 1986 by then President Giani Zail Singh in the Postal Bill.
  • Can enact laws through ordinance when the Parliament is in recess (Article 123). These ordinances must be passed by Parliament within 6 weeks of reassembly.
  • Lays the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General, UPSC, the Finance Commission, and others, before the Parliament.

Financial Powers of President of India

  • All money bills can originate in Parliament only on the recommendation of the President.
  • No Demand for a grant can be made except on his recommendation.
  • He can make advances out of the Contingency Fund of India to meet any unforeseen expenditure.
  • Appoints Finance Commission (after every 5 yrs) that recommends distribution of taxes between Union & State govt.

Judicial Powers of President of India

  • The President’s pardoning power comprises a group of analogous powers:
  1. Pardon: It rescinds both the sentence and the conviction and completely absolves the offender from all punishments and disqualifications.
  2. Reprieve: It means a stay of execution of sentence pending a proceeding for pardon or commutation.
  3. Remission: The power of remission reduces the amount of sentence without changing its character. E.g., a sentence of imprisonment for one year may be remitted for six months.
  4. Respite: The power to grant respite means awarding a lesser sentence instead of the prescribed penalty in view of some special facts. E.g., pregnancy of the woman offender.
  5. Commutation: It merely substitutes one form of the punishment for another of a lighter character — death by transportation, transportation by rigorous imprisonment, rigorous imprisonment by simple imprisonment, and simple imprisonment by fine and so on.
  • Appoints the Chief Justice and the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.

Military Powers of President of India

  • He is the Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces of India.
  • Appoints Chiefs of Army, Navy & Air Force.
  • Declares wars & concludes peace subject to the approval of the Parliament.

Diplomatic Powers of President of India

  • Represents the country in international forums.
  • Sends ambassadors & receives diplomats.
  • International treaties & agreements are concluded on his behalf.

Emergency Powers of President of India

National Emergency (Article 352)

  • On the grounds of security threats to India by war, external aggression or armed rebellion.
  • The President can proclaim this emergency only after receiving a written recommendation from the Cabinet.
  • The proclamation of the emergency must be approved by the Parliament with in one month. If approved, it will continue for six months.

State Emergency (Article 356)

  • Emergency due to failure of constitutional machinery in State. The President’s rule can be imposed when the President is satisfied, on the basis of either a report of the State Governor or otherwise, that the governance of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
  • The proclamation of the President’s rule should be approved by the Parliament within two months. If approved, it remains in force for six months from the date of the proclamation of the State Emergency.

Financial Emergency (Article 360)

  • The President can proclaim Financial Emergency if he is satisfied that the financial stability or the credit of India or any part thereof is threatened.
  • Such a proclamation must be approved by the Parliament within two months.

Constitutional Status of The President

  • Before the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976, there was no provision in the Constitution which made the advice of the Council of Ministers obligatory on the President. Article 74 simply stated that there shall be a Council of Ministers, with the Prime Minister at the head, to aid and advice the President.
  • The 42nd Amendment Act made it clear beyond doubt that the President is constitutionally bounded by the advice of the Council of Ministers.
  • The 44th Amendment Act further stated that the President can send the advice back for reconsideration, but only once.
  • Although the Constitution (after 42nd and 44th Amendment Acts) made it mandatory or obligatory for the President to act on the advice of the Council of Ministers, but even then the practice of Parliamentary governance creates some circumstances when the President has to act as per his own wisdom.
  • The situations are:

a. Appointment of the Prime Minister [Article 75(1)] under a situation when no single political party commands clear support of the Lok Sabha.
b. Appointing a Prime Minister in case of vacancy due to sudden death of the incumbent, where there is no acknowledged leader due to inability of the legislative party to do it or in case of absence of a settled seniority among Cabinet Ministers and a name for the Prime Minister is proposed from the outside.
c. Dissolution of Lok Sabha on the advice of the Council of Ministers which has lost the support of the majority members of Lok Sabha or against whom a vote of no-confidence motion may has been passed.
d. Dismissing ministries [Article 75(2)] in case the Council of Ministers has lost the confidence of the House but refuses to resign.

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Important Questions on President

Questions 1
Who among the following are not included in the Electoral College for the election of the President of India? [UPPCS (Pre) (Re. Exam) 2015]
(A) Elected members of the House of the People
(B) Elected members of the Council of States
(C) Elected member of the Legislative Assemblies of the States
(D) Elected members of the Legislative Councils of the States

Questions 2
Which one of the following is not correct regarding the Presidential election? [UPPCS (Mains) 2016]
(A) Election of the successor must be held before the expiry of the term of the incumbent President
(B) The President shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office
(C) On the expiration of his term, he continues to hold office until his successor enters upon his office
(D) President’s election may be postponed on the ground that the electoral college is incomplete

Questions 3
Which of the following is not an essential qualification for the candidature of President? [UPPCS (Pre) 1992]
(A) Completion of 35 years
(B) Educated
(C) Qualified for election as a member of the House of the People
(D) Citizen of India

Questions 4
A Member of Parliament or a State Legislature can be elected as President but [UPPCS (Spl)(Mains) 2008]
(A) He will have to resign from his seat before contesting the election
(B) He will have to relinquish his seat within 6 months of his election
(C) He will have to relinquish his seat as soon as he is elected
(D) An MP can contest but an MLA

Questions 5
Which Article of the Indian Constitution prescribes eligibility conditions for re-election to the post of the President of India? [Chhattisgarh PCS (Pre) 2011]
(A) Article 52
(B) Article 54
(C) Article 55
(D) Article 57

FAQs on President

How is the President elected in India?

The President is elected in India by Indirect Election.

In India, the President is elected by

In India, the President is elected by Single Transferable Vote System.

The minimum number of electors needed to be proposer of the presidential candidate is

The minimum number of electors needed to be proposer of the presidential candidate is fifty electors.

If there is any dispute regarding the Presidential election, it can be referred to ___

If there is any dispute regarding the Presidential election, it can be referred to Supreme Court of India.

The President holds office for a term of 5 years from the date on ___

The President holds office for a term of 5 years from the date on which he enters upon his office/hold his office.

who was the first president of independent India?

Dr Rajendra Prasad

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Last updated: August 17, 2023 Updated on 8:40 AM