Powers and Functions of the President

KNC501/KNC601 Constitution of India, Law and Engineering

Chapter 4: President of India

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4

Unit 5


Powers and Functions of President

The major duty of the President of India is to protect the Constitution of India. This is part of his oath under article 60 of the Constitution of India.

Executive Functions

1. Head of Union

He is the head of the union executives. It means, all the executive powers are vested in him and he can use these powers directly or through the officers subordinate to him. He has the power to make laws and to conclude treaties and agreements.

2. Appointments

The president appoints the Governors of the States, Judges of the Supreme Court, and the High Court. He appoints the Auditor General of India and also many other officials like election commissions, finance commissions, etc.

3. Appointment of Prime Minister and Ministers

The president appoints the Prime Minister of India and after that other council of ministers with the advice of the Prime Minister. This council is headed by the Prime Minister to aid and to give advice to the president.

4. Can ask to prove majority

The term of the union of a council of ministers remains in power for five years after the appointment unless it dissolved earlier due to any reasons. During this period of time, the president must be satisfied that this council enjoys its confidence of the majority of the lower House. The President can ask the council to prove its majority in case of any doubt.

5. Supreme Commander

He has the power to declare war as he is the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces. He can also conclude the treaties related to any situation of war.

Legislative Powers

The legislative power is vested in the Parliament. The President of India is the head of the Parliament. He facilitates the Law making process. He has the power to dissolve the Lok Sabha. A bill passed by both houses can only become Act after receiving the assent of the President of India.

1. Part of the Parliament of India

The Parliament of India consists of the Upper house and lower house followed by the President of India. He is an integral part of the Parliament. He summons time to time for the sessions of the houses either jointly or separately. He can prorogue the houses of Parliament or can also dissolve the Lok Sabha or lower house of Parliament of India.

2. Summons for Joint Session

He can summons both the Houses of Parliament for joint sessions in the case of conflict between both the houses to pass any Bill.

3. Power in respect of Bill

When both the houses pass the Bill by the majority and send the Bill to the President of India for his assent, he can give his assent or withhold his assent and sent back the bill to houses. But if both the houses pass the bill without any change, it will become obligatory for the President of India to give his assent.

4. Nomination

He has the power to declare war as he is the supreme commander of the Indian armed forces. He can also conclude the treaties related to any situation of war. The President of India nominates the numbers of the member in both Houses of Parliament. The main purpose of the nomination is to ensure adequate representation in Parliament of all sections of the population which may not always be achieved through elections.

5. Power to pass Ordinances

When both the houses of Parliament are not in session, the President of India can pass the Ordinances under article 123 of the Constitution of India. Such an ordinance has the same power as the Act of Parliament. After the opening of the session, the ordinance may be passed by both houses to make it Law.

Financial Powers

No money Bill can be introduced without the prior permission of the President of India. As indicated by the Constitution of India, the Annual Financial Statement is set by the President before both the Houses of Parliament. This announcement shows the evaluations of income and use of the focal Government for the following year. It might be called attention to that the proposition for tax collection and use can’t be made without the endorsement of the President. No proposition for going through cash or raising incomes for reasons for government can be presented in Parliament without the past consent of the President.

Emergency Powers

There are three types of emergency given in the Constitution of India.

    • National Emergency (Art. 352)
    • State emergency (President Rule) (Art. 356)
    • Financial Emergency (Art. 360)

The Constitution of India empowers The President of India to proclaim the emergency.

1. National Emergency

He has the power to declare a national emergency when there is a threat to the security of the nation. The threat can be from anything like external aggression, war, or any armed rebellion. The proclamation given by the President may remain in force for an indefinite time. During the National emergency, all the executive powers of the State will be exercised or supervised by the Central government. There are three lists given in the constitution where the state and central government can make laws. But during the national emergency, the central government can also make the laws in the state list. Article 19 of the constitution of India shall remain suspended during a national emergency.

2. State Emergency

State emergency is also known as the failure of the Constitution Machinery in a State. The president has the authority to proclaim a State emergency. The duration of the state emergency is up to 3 years. During the period of a state emergency, the executive powers of the state shall be executed by the Parliament of India.

3. Financial Emergency

Whenever the financial stability of the country is threatened the president can proclaim a financial emergency. There is an indefinite period for the financial emergency. The money bills passed by the state legislature will be passed by the consent of the President.

Military Powers

The President of India is the supreme command of the Defense forces of India. But he is required to exercise his supreme power under the law. The president may take action to declare war or peace, but the Parliament has exclusive power to regulate or control the exercise of such power.

The power relating to foreign and diplomatic affairs is exercised by the Union Government. All diplomatic business is conducted in the name of the President.

All the International treaties and agreements are negotiated and concluded in the name of the President.

Diplomatic Powers

    • He receives Ambassadors, High Commissioners, and diplomatic envoys from foreign nations.
    • Represents India in International Conferences.
    • He has the powers of appointing Indian Ambassadors to other countries.

Discretionary Powers of the President

The President of India has certain discretionary powers which he can use at the time of need to use such powers:

1. Appointing the New Prime Minister

He has the power to appoint the New Prime Minister in the case of the death of the Prime Minister during his period of office or in the case of when Parliament hanged.

2. No-Confidence Motion

The President of India has the power to dissolve the lower house or to look for the alternative when the Prime Minister or any other Minister loses the “No Confidence Motion”.

3. Power to dismiss the Ministers

The President has the power to dismiss the Ministers if the council of Ministers losses the house’s confidence and the Minister is refusing to resign.

Judicial Powers

The President has the power to grant pardon reprieves, respites, and remission of punishment. He also appoints the judges of SC and HC and Chief Justice of India. He can suspend remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offense. Article 72 of the Constitution of India gives the right to the President to grant the pardon in different cases.

The power includes:

    • Commutation
    • Pardon
    • Remission
    • Respite
    • Reprieve

He is empowered to grant the pardon in the following circumstances:

    • When the punishment is for the offense which is against the Union laws
    • In the matter of punishment given by Military Court
    • In the matter of death sentence in any case

All these powers which are given to the president are independent of the opinion of the PM or the majority of the Upper house of the parliament. Most of the powers of the president are being executed with the advice of the council of ministers and the Prime Minister of India.

Veto Power of President

After passing the Bill from both the houses of the Parliament, the bill comes for the assent of the President. Now, it is his choice to pass or reject the bill. This choice to reject or pass the bill is known as the veto power of the President.

Author – Dilip Kumar Rawat

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