The President Of India: Indian Polity Notes For Defence Exams

The president is considered to be the head of the Indian state. He is the first citizen of India. The president is considered as the symbol of unity, integrity and solidarity of India. 

Article 52- 78 of Part V of the Indian constitution has the provision of the Union executive, of which the president is the part. The union executive consists of the president, prime minister, vice president, the council of ministers and the attorney general of India. 

Also Read: 16th Presidential Election: Voting, Result, Dates, And 10 Key Take Aways

The president has been provided certain powers and functions by the constitution. There are also provisions prescribed for the election procedure of the president. There are qualification criteria to be followed by any candidate to be the president of India. The president of India is a very important topic for the social studies section of the defence exam. Hence, the candidates should prepare this topic thoroughly. 

We will discuss all the details about the topic in the article below. Go through the article till the end to get all the information about the president of India from an exam perspective.

Also Read: Complete List Of Presidents Of India

Election of president

The president is not directly elected by the people. He is elected by the members of the electoral college, comprising:-

  1. The elected members of both the houses of the Parliament. 
  2. The elected members of the legislative assemblies of the state 
  3. The elected members of the legislative assemblies of the union territories of Delhi and Puducherry. 

Note:- only the elected members of the above posts can take part in the election of the president. The nominated or the members of the dissolved assemblies are not entitled to participate in the election process of the president of India. 

 The election is held using the single transferable vote (STV) method, which is based on the proportional representation (PR) system. A secret ballot system is used for voting. Article 55 of the constitution specifies the procedure for electing the President. 

A variable amount of votes is cast by each elector. The general rule is that the total number of votes cast by state legislators equals the total number of votes cast by members of parliament. Additionally, legislators from larger states vote more than legislators from smaller states. Finally, the number of state lawmakers counts; if a state has a few legislators, each legislator has more votes; if a state has many legislators, each legislator has fewer votes.

The number of legislators from a state voting in the electoral college is divided by the state’s population, which is then divided again by the number of legislators from the state voting in the electoral college. This figure represents the number of votes cast by each representative in a certain state. 

Every member of parliament is entitled to the same number of votes, which may be calculated by dividing the total number of votes assigned to the members of legislative assemblies by the total number of elected representatives of the parliament. Even though Indian MPs and MLAs vote in presidential elections, they tend to vote for the candidate endorsed by their respective parties.

Qualification for the election of the president

A person is eligible for election as the president of India if he/she fulfils the following qualification criteria:-

  1. He should be a citizen of India
  2. He should have completed 35 years of age.
  3. Not only that, but he should be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha.
  4. He should not hold any office of profit under the Union Government or any state government or any local authority or any other public authority. 

Further, for the nomination for the candidature of the president post, a candidate must be subscribed by at least 50 electors as proposers and 50 electors as seconders. Every candidate has to make a security deposit of Rs. 15000 in the Reserve Bank of India. The security deposit is liable to fortify if the candidate fails to secure ⅙ of the votes polled. 

Condition of President’s office

The constitution lays down certain terms and conditions for the president’s office. These terms and conditions are:-

  • He should not be a member of either house of parliament or the house of the state legislature. If any such person is elected as president, he is deemed to vacate his seats in that house on the date he enters into his office as a president.
  • He should not hold any other office of profit.
  • He is entitled, without payment of rent, to the use of his official residence which is Rashtrapati Bhawan.
  • Furthermore, he is entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as may be determined by the parliament. 
  • His emoluments and allowances cannot be diminished during his term of office.

Term of the president’s office

 The president of India is entitled to hold the office for 5 years from the start of his tenure. Although, he can resign from his office anytime by submitting his resignation letter to yr vice president of India. 

The president of India can also be removed from his office before the completion of his tenure by the process of impeachment on valid grounds.

The president can also hold his office until the successor gets elected. And he can be selected N no. of times as a president through the election process.

Powers and functions of the president 

The constitution has prescribed the power and function of the president of India. The power and the function of the president can be summarized as follows:-

  1. Executive powers

President has entitled to some executive powers which play an important part in the executive machinery of India. Some of his executive roles and powers are as follows:

  • All Executive actions of the Government of India are formally taken in his name. 
  • He can make rules specifying how the orders and other instruments made and executed in his name shall be authenticated.
  • He appoints the Prime Minister and another minister, attorney general of India, comptroller and auditor general, the chief election commissioners, the chairman and member of the UPSC, the governor of the states, the chairman and members of the finance commission and so on.
  • He can seek any kind of information from the Prime Minister regarding the executive role and workings. 
  • Likewise, he can also appoint a commission and council to investigate the conditions of the marginalized groups or to promote centre-state cooperation. 

The role of the president as an executive is more than this, but overall these are the major roles and powers he is entitled to as an executive head. 

  1. Legislative powers 

The president can summon the parliament or can dissolve it anytime. He can also summon a joint sitting of both the houses of parliament. He appoints 12 embers of the Rajya Sabha from different backgrounds such as culture, entertainment and sports. Likewise, he can also appoint two members of the Anglo Indian community in the parliament.

He can ratify, recommend, or give his assent to any bill passed by the parliament. And the president can also appoint anyone to take the vacant place of speaker and deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha and chairman and vice chairman of Rajya Sabha in special cases. There are other legislative powers that are enjoyed by the president.

  1. Financial powers

The president has many financial powers, and one of the major power that he holds is the power to recommend the money bill. Without the prior recommendation of the president, money bills can’t be introduced in the parliament. No demand for a grant can be made except in his recommendation. He can only make advances out of the contingency funds to meet the expenditure of any unexpected event. He is responsible to constitute a finance commission after every five years to allocate the proper financing among state and centre. 

  1. Judicial powers

The President appoints the CJI and judges of the Supreme court and High Court. He can ask for advice from the Supreme court on any issue related to law. He can also grant pardon, respite and remission of punishment or suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted for any offence(in all the cases). 

  1. Diplomatic powers

The international treaties, agreements and memorandums are concluded and signed on the behalf of the president. However, they are subject to approval from the parliament. The president represents India at the international forum and stage. 

  1. Military powers

He is the supreme commander of the defence forces in India. He is responsible to appoint the chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. Furthermore, he can also declare war, conclude peace, but this is subject to approval from the parliament. 

  1. Emergency powers

The constitution gives the president a special power, which is the emergency power. In this, the president can declare an emergency on valid grounds. 

There are three types of emergencies, mainly:-

  1. National Emergency – article 352b
  2. State emergency(President’s rule) – Article 357and 365
  3. Financial emergency – Article 360 

The veto power of the president 

 The constitution of India has conferred the power of veto to the president. There are three types of veto that the president can use as per his mind. The veto powers are as follows:-

  1. Absolute Veto

This power allows the president to withhold his assent to a bill passed by the parliament. The bill that ends and does not become an act. This veto is exercised by the president in two cases, mainly if the bill is presented by any private member and if it is a government bill after the cabinet resigned.

  1. Suspensive veto

The president exercises this veto when he returns the bill for reconsideration in the parliament. Although, if the same bill is passed by parliament again without any changes, then it becomes obligatory for the president to give his assent to the bill. 

The president cannot do the same for the money bills. He is obligated to either keep it to himself till indefinite times or give assent but cannot send it back for reconsideration to the parliament.

  1. Pocket veto 

In this veto, the president neither ratifies nor rejects nor returns the bill, but he simply keeps the bill pending for an indefinite period. The power of the resident to not take any action, either positive or negative, is known as a pocket veto. The constitution has not described anything about the time limit till the president can keep the bill to himself. 

For example, In 1986, president Giani Zail Singh exercised this veto for the Indian Post Office(Amendment) Bill. The bill passed by the Rajiv Gandhi Government-imposed restrictions on the press, and hence it was widely criticized. After three years, the new president R Venkatraman sent back the bill for reconsideration, but the new government was formed named as National  Front Government which dropped the Bill. 

Note:– the 24th constitutional amendment act of 1971 made it obligatory for the president to give his assent for the constitutional amendment bill.

Conclusion

The president is the head of the executive council. He is the first citizen of India. He has been vested in many functions and powers like executive, legislative, judicial, financial, diplomatic and emergency powers. Certain qualifications need to be met by any candidate offering his candidature for the president’s role. All the powers and their limitations are mentioned in the constitution of India. The president also exercises veto power, through which he affects the normal law-making process to an extent. Overall, there is a huge importance of a president in a diversified country like India. 

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Mausami Sharma

    Intern at SSBCrackExams. An avid reader, UPSC aspirant and a curious defence aircraft researcher. Pursuing my Interest in global politics and diplomatic studies.

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