President’s Importance in the Indian Constitution

President’s Importance in the Indian Constitution

Question: Recently, the President has approved the re-promulgation of several ordinances. Discuss the importance of the post of the President from the point of view of the Indian Constitution.

• In the Indian Parliament, it is the President who is the nominal executive or Constitutional ruler

• He heads the nation yet does not govern it. Union CoM headed by the PM is the real executive and the President rules the country on their advice

• Powers of the President of India can be classified under 5 heads namely executive, legislative, financial, judicial and emergency

Executive Power:

• President of India is the head of the executive of the Union Government. All executive powers are under the control of the President who can enact these directly or through subordinate officers

• All executive action is taken in the President’s name and he appoints Governors of the States, SC and HC judges and other ministers in consultation with the PM

• Important officers of the Union government such as Attorney General are appointed by the President

• President also oversees the administration of UTs through Chief Commissioners and Lieutenant Governors of centrally administered areas

• President has also been empowered to establish a commission for settling inter state river water disputes

• Constitution has also provided the President with the authority to establish an Inter State Council to enquire into disputes between states and matters of common interests between Union and States

• President by himself can remove the CoM, Governors of States and Attorney General for India

• He is the Supreme Commander in Chief of Air Force, Army and Navy
• He also has the power to declare war and oversee diplomatic affairs; he appoints ambassadors and other diplomatic reps of the nation

• He has power to conclude treaties with foreign states and represents India in international affairs

Legislative Powers:

• President is an integral part of the Indian Parliament

• Parliament comprises President, LS and RS

• President has the power to summon and prorogue LS and RS

• He can also dissolve the House of the People before term expiry

• Constitution of India also empowers the President to address the Parliament at the start of the first session each year; he can also send messages to the Parliament

• President is empowered to nominate 2 members to the LS from the Anglo Indian community and 12 members to the RS from persons having special knowledge in social service, art, literature and science

• A public Bill cannot be converted into an Act without presidential assent

• Bill passed by the Union Parliament is sent for Presidential assent and President may provide his assent to the Bill or withhold it; He can also return the Bill to the Parliament

• President can issue ordinances when Parliament is not in session

• He can call joint session of both houses of the Parliament

Financial Powers

• President of India exercises financial powers and no money bill can be introduced in the Parliament without the President’s recommendation

• Annual Financial Statement is placed by the President before LS and RS Judicial Powers: The President of India has the power to give pardons, reprieves or remissions of punishment to any person who has been convicted by a Court of Law.

Emergency Powers

• The President of India exercises extra-ordinary powers in times of emergency namely of 3 kinds:

- Emergency due to armed rebellion or external aggression
- Emergency from breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state
- Financial emergency

• President uses his discretion in the appointment of the PM, dismissal of the Union Ministry, LS dissolution and more

Facts and Stats

• President of India is the first citizen of the State

• Former Presidents and their terms of office are as follows:

Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil (birth - 1934)
Office Term: 25 July 2007 to 25 July 2012

DR. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (birth - 1931)
Office Term: 25 July 2002 to 25 July 2007

Shri K. R. Narayanan (1920 - 2005)
Office Term: 25 July 1997 to 25 July 2002

Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma (1918-1999)
Office Term: 25 July 1992 to 25 July 1997

Shri R Venkataraman (1910-2009)
Office Term: 25 July 1987 to 25 July 1992

Giani Zail Singh (1916-1994)
Office Term: 25 July 1982 to 25 July 1987

Shri Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (1913-1996)
Office Term: 25 July 1977 to 25 July 1982

Dr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (1905-1977)
Office Term: 24 August 1974 to 11 February 1977

Shri Varahagiri Venkata Giri (1894-1980)
Office Term: 3 May 1969 to 20 July 1969 and 24 August 1969 to 24 August 1974

Dr. Zakir Husain (1897-1969)
Office Term: 13 May 1967 to 3 May 1969

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975)
Office Term: 13 May 1962 to 13 May 1967

Dr. Rajendra Prasad (1884-1963)
Office Term: 26 January 1950 to 13 May 1962
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