President in Indian Democracy

The President of India is the Head of State of India, and the Commander-in-chief of the Indian Armed Forces. He is a titular head with certain powers. With the Presidential elections fast approaching, here is a recap of the role of the President of India.

Powers
The President of India, the First Citizen of India, has the following powers:

Executive Powers
As per Article 53 of the Constitution of India, the President has the following executive powers:

1-  A right to be informed of all of the nation’s affairs.
2-  Powers to appoint and remove high Constitutional authorities, including the prime minister and the council of ministers.
3-  Appointments of the judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts, the state governors, the attorney general, the comptroller and auditor
general (CAG), and the chief commissioner and members of the election commission are made in his name.

Legislative Powers

1-  The President is always the first to address the Parliament during the budget session.
2-  In case of a deadlock in legislation process between the two houses of Parliament, the President summons a joint session to break the impasse.
3- Presidential sanction is mandatory for a legislation such as creating a new state, or changes in the boundary of existing states, or a change in the name of a state.
4- Legislation dealing with fundamental rights under the Constitution require the President’s consent.
5- Money bills introduced in the Lok Sabha require the President’s consent.
6- All bills passed by Parliament need the President’s consent before becoming law.
7- The President is responsible for promulgating ordinances or emergent legislation during Parliament’s recess.
8- He nominates the members to both the Houses.

Military Powers
As the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces the President plays the following role:

1- All officers’ appointments are made by him or her, including that of the chiefs.
2- The country declares war in the name of the President.
3- The country also concludes peace in the name of the President’s

Diplomatic roles
The President of India plays a vital role in maintaining diplomatic and cordial relationships with other countries across the globe.

1- The country’s ambassadors and high commissioners are his representatives in foreign land.
2- He also receives the credentials of diplomatic representatives of foreign countries.
3- The President also negotiates treaties and agreements with other nations prior to ratification by Parliament.

Judicial powers
The President has the privilege of judicial powers.

1- He rectifies judicial errors
2- Has the power to grant pardons and reprieves from punishment.
3- The President can also seek the opinion of the supreme court on legal and Constitutional matters and on matters of national and people’s interest.

Financial Roles

1- The Contingency Fund of India is at the disposal of the President of India.
2- He causes the presentation of audit reports before Parliament.
3- He also receives the report of the finance commission and acta on its recommendations.

Emergency Powers
The Constitution of India envisages three kinds of emergency powers on the President.

1- During any national emergency which puts the country’s security at peril, either from external aggression or armed rebellion within, the President has the power to declare a state of emergency. The President’s Rule is then established in the state. However, such emergency has to be recommended by the Prime Minister and the cabinet.
2- The President can declare a State emergency based on political emergency due to Constitutional or law and order breakdown. The Governor’s Rule is then established in the state.
3- The President has the power to intervene when the financial stability of the country or any state is seriously affected. The President has the power to direct a state government to observe prudence in public expenditure.

Some Interesting Facts

1- The President can only recommend to the council of minister in matters such as invoking the Article 356. If the bill is sent back, the President has to accept it.
2- The financial emergency powers of the President have never been put to test ever in the last six decades.
3- The First National Emergency was declared in 1962 by President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, during the Sino-Indian War. The emergency lasted through the end of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 and up to 1968.
4- During 2005, President’s rule was imposed in Bihar state, misusing Article 356 unconstitutionally to prevent the democratically elected state legislators to form a government after the state elections.
5- The President of India receives a salary of Rs 1.5 lakh. Everything that the President does or wants to do is taken care of by the annual Rs 225 million budget that the Government allots for his or her upkeep.
6- Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President’s official residence, is the largest Presidential Palace in the world.
7- The President has official retreats at the Rashtrapati Nilayam at Bolarum, Hyderabad and Retreat Building at Chharabra, Shimla.
8- The official state car of the President is a custom-built heavily armoured Mercedes Benz S600 (W221) Pullman Guard.
9- The former presidents and spouses of deceased Presidents are eligible for pension, furnished accommodation, security, and various other allowances.

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List of Presidents in India
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