Article 52 of our Constitution declares that “There shall be a President of India”. The executive power of the Union and the Supreme Command of defence forces is vested with him.
Who can become the President ?
Article 52 of our Constitution declares that “There shall be a President of India”. The executive power of the Union and the Supreme Command of defence forces is vested with him. Our Constitution simply creates the office of the President of India. But it does not say anywhere that the President is either the Head of the State or the executive.
Qualifications of the President
The President of India must be a citizen of India, must have completed the age of 35 years and be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha. At the time of the election, he should not hold an office of profit under any Government – union or state or local. however, he is not deemed to hold office of profit by reason only that he is the President or the Vice-President of India or the Governor of a state, or a minister either at the Centre or in the State. If he is a member of either house of Parliament or of a House of the Legislature of any State and elected to the office of the President, he is deemed to have vacated the membership, as soon as he enters upon his office as President. The superintendence, direction and control for the election of President is vested with the election commission. The decision on doubts and disputes relating to the election of the President rests with the Supreme Court and its decision is once for all final.
The salary and other emoluments of the President are determined by the Parliament. They cannot be increased or diminished during the term of his office. The Parliament has fixed a salary (see table in the coming pages). The President is entitled to use the official furnished residence without payment of any rent and he is permitted to spend a fixed sum of rupees per year on travel, entertainment, etc.
Term of Office
The President holds office for a period of five years and is eligible for re-election. He may resign. His resignation must forthwith be addressed to the Vice-President, who is required to communicate forthwith to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The President of India can be impeached for ‘violation of Constitution’. But the ‘violation of Constitution’ has not been defined. The procedure of impeachment is covered by Article 61. When a President is to be impeached for violating the Constitution, the charge shall be preferred by either House of Parliament. The President must be given fourteen days notice in writing signed by not less than one fourth of the total number of members of the House to move such a resolution and such a resolution must be passed by a majority of not less than two thirds of the total membership of the house. When such a charge has been so preferred by either House of Parliament the other House shall investigate the charge and the President shall have the right to appear and to be represented at such investigation. As a result of the investigation of resolution is passed by a majority of not less than two thirds of total membership of the House by which the charge was investigated, the President shall forthwith be removed from office.
Mode of Election
The President of India is elected by the members of electoral college consisting of (a) the elected members of both Houses of Parliament; and (b) the elected Members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States in accordance with the proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. Each Member of a State Legislature (MLA) has as many votes as are obtained by the formula:
(Total Population of state (ascertained at the last census) /Total number of elected members of the Legislative Assembly) / 1000
Fractions exceeding half will be counted as one. For securing parity between the states as a whole and the Union, the votes of each member of Parliament (MP) will be according to this formula:
Total number of votes assigned to elected members to the Legislative Assemblies of the state / Total number of the elected member of both House of parliaments.
Quota :(Total Number of votes polled/Number of Cadidates) + 1
If at the first count no candidate is able to secure the requisite quota of votes, the candidate securing the least number of votes is eliminated and his votes are transferred among the other candidates according to the second preference on the ballot papers of the voters who gave him first preferences. This process of elimination and transfer of votes continues till such a candidate is elected who has obtained the requisite quota of votes. Disputes, if any, about the election of the President are heard and decided by the Supreme Court.
Power and duties of the President
Though all executive actions of the Union Government are expressed to be taken in the name of the President, his authority is formal. He has the right to be kept informed by the Prime Minister of all decisions taken by the Council of Ministers. He appoints the Prime Minister and other Ministers, the Attorney-General of India, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts and the State Governors. The President has the power to remove his ministers, the Attorney-General of India and the Governors of the States. He has the power to appoint an interstate council, the Union public service commission, the Election commission, a commission to report on the administration of scheduled Areas, Special Officers for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, a commission to investigate into conditions of backward classes and a commission on languages. Union Territories are under the direct control of the President.
The Constitution vests the supreme command of the Armed forces in the President. But he has to exercise this power in conformity with law. parliament has exclusive legislative powers, relating to the defense forces. The diplomatic business is conducted in the name of the President. Al treaties and international agreements are negotiated and concluded in the name of the President. The election of a new President must be held within six months of the date of the occurrence of the vacancy. When the President is unable to perform his functions owing to absence, illness or any other cause, the Vice President discharges the functions of the President until the President resumes duties of his office.
Emergency Powers of the President
There kinds of emergencies have been contemplated in India. The President of India can declare emergency arising to to (a) war, external aggression and armed rebellion; (b) failure of Constitutional machinery in a state; and (c) threat to financial stability or credit of India. It is up to the President to determine whether the condition has been created to declare emergency. He cannot be questioned. According to article 352. If at any time the President of India is satisfied that there has arisen a grave emergency created by war or armed rebellion which threatens the security of India or any part of its territory, he can by declaration (i) give directions to the constituent states as to how their authority is to be exercised, and (ii) suspend from operation several Articles (368 to 2800 of the constitution under which it is obligatory on the union government to make certain contributions to the state. However it is necessary to place the President’s proclamation of emergency before the Parliament within 2 months for approval. The Parliament acquires the power to legislate on any matters enumerated in the State list during the period of operation of such emergency. Such proclamation of Emergency suspends automatically the fundamental Rights guaranteed under Article 19. But the citizens rights to move the court to enforce Fundamental Rights can be suspended only by a separate proclamation.
Under Article 356, the President can take over the administration of a state in the event of break-down of its Constitutional machinery in the state. The President can do so either on receipt of a report from the governor or when he is otherwise satisfied that a situation has arisen i which the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
Such a proclamation of the President must be laid down before the Parliament within two months. Even after the approval of the Parliament it cannot remain in force for more than one year. When such a proclamation is in operation, the concerned state assembly can either be dissolved or kept in animated suspension.
Administration of Union Territories: Except as otherwise provided by law, the Union Territories are administered by the President.The President can also appoint the Governor of a State as the administrator of an adjoining Union Territory and when a Governor is appointed, he will exercise his powers and function as administrator independently of his Council of Ministers.