[Polity] The Union (Articles 52-78 & Article 123)

The essence of the parliamentary type of government is that the head of the State is the constitutional head and the real executive powers are vested in the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister is the
head of the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers is responsible to the House of People. Though the executive power is vested in the President but he/she exercises this power with the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. The members of the Council of Ministers are all elected by the people and they are members of Legislature.


Article 52 of the Constitution says that there shall be a President of India. He/She is the head of the Government, The executive power of the Union, Article 53, shall be vested in the President and it shall be exercised by him/her in accordance with the Constitution either directly or through officers subordinate to him/her. The expression 'executive power' is not defined in the Constitution. The executive power of the Union which is exercisable by the President is co-extensive with the legislative powers of the Union. Under Articles 73 and 163 the executive power us not confined merely to administration of laws already enacted but it includes determination of the Government policy, initiation of legislation, maintenance of law and order, promotion of social and economic welfare, the direction of foreign policy, in fact, the carrying on or supervision of the general administration of the State.

Qualification :

Article 58 lays down the qualifications which a person must process for being elected t the Office of the President o India:
(a) He/She must be a citizen of India.
(b) He/She must have completed the age of 35 years.
(c) He/She must be qualified for election as a member of the House of the People.
(d) He/She must not hold any office of profit under Government of India, or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subjected to the control of any of the said Governments.

Election of President :

The President of India is not directly elected by the people. Article 54 provides that the President shall be elected by an electoral consisting of:
(a) the elected members of both Houses of Parliament; and
(b) the elected members of the Legislativer Assemblies of the States.
The nominated members of the above Houses at the Centre and the States do not have voting rights in the election of the President. The election shall be held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote [Article 55 (3)]. The system adopted for voting is secret ballot. The Constitution provides as far as practicable there shall be uniformity in the scale of representation among different States inter se as well as parity between the State as a whole and the Union at the election of President [Article 55 (1)] .

Term of Office of the President :

 Article 56 says that the President shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his/her office. Even after the expiry if his/her team he/she shall continue in office until his/her successor enter upon his/her office. He is also eligible for re- election. He/She may be elected for any number of terms. The President of India may, however, resign his office before the expiry of his/her normal term of five years by writing to the Vice-President. He may removed from his/her office for the violation of the Constitution by the process of impeachment.

Privileges of the President : Article 361 of the Constitution guarantees the following privileges to the President:
  1. The President shall not be answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of this office or for any act done or purporting to be done b him/her in the exercise of those powers and duties. However, the conduct of the President may be brought under review by any court, tribunal or body appointed or designated by either Houses of Parliament for the investigation of the charge in impeachment proceedings. Thus the immunity afforded to the President will not restrict the right of any person to bring suit against the Government of India.
  2. No criminal proceeding whatsoever shall be instituted and continued against the President in any court during his/her term of office.
  3. No process for the arrest or imprisonment of the President shall be issued from any court during his/her term of office.
  4. No civil proceedings in which relief is claimed against the President shall be instituted during his term of office in any court in respec of any act done or purporating to be done by him/her in his personal capacity whether before of after he had entered upon his office until
    1. a notice in writing has been given to the President,
    2. two months have passed after the service of such notice, and
    3. the notice states the nature of proceedings, the cause of action, the name, residence and description of the party taking the proceedings and relief claimed.

Powers of The President

Executive Powers :

According to the Costitution of India, the President of India is the head of Indian Republic. All executive functions are executed in the name of the Present and autheticated in such manner as may be prescribed by rules to made by the President (Article 77). His power to appoint the Prime Minister, appoint and remove Ministers of Union, the Governors of States, the Judges of Supreme Court and the High Courts, the Attorney -General, the Comptroller and Audito-General, the Chainman, and members of the Public Service Commission, the Members of the Finance Commission and Official Commissions, Special Officer for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Commisson to report on the administration of Scheduled Areas, Commission to investigate into the conditions of backward classes, Special Officer for linguistic minorities.

Military Powers : 

The President is the Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces of the country. He has power to declare war and peace. However, the execise of these powers by the President is "regulated by law" and the Parliament os empowered to regulate or control the exercise of the military powers of the President.

Diplomatic Powers 

As the Head of the State, the President send and receives Ambassadors, and other diplomatic representatives. All treaties and internationl aggrements are nogotiated and concluded in the name of the President though subject to ratification by Parliment.

Legislative Powers 

The President of India is a component part of the Union Parliament. He has power to summon andprorogue the Parliament and he can dissolve the Lok Sabha. However, Article 85 (1) imposes a restriction on his power. If there is a conflict between the two Houses of the Parliament over an ordinary Bill he can call a joint sitting of both Houses, to resolve the deadlock (Article 108). In his/her address to joint session of Parliament he/she outlines the general policy and programme of the Government.

The Ordinance-making power of the President 

Article 123 of Constitution gives the most important legislative power to the President his Ordinance-making power. If at any time, when both Houses of the Parliament are not in session and the President is satified that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him/her to take immediate action, he may issue Ordinance as the circumtances appear to him to require. The Ordinances issued by him/her shall have the same force as an Act of Parliament.

The Pardoning Power 

The President has to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence

(1) by Court Martial;
(2) an offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the Union extends;
(3) in all cass in which the sentence is one of death (Article 72).

Emergency Powers 

Part XVIII (Articles 352-360) of the Constitution arms the President with enormous emergency powers, The Emergencies envisaged under the constitution are of three kinds:

(1) emergency arising out of war, external aggression for armed rebellion;
(2) emergency due to failure of contitutional machinery in the State, and
(3) financial emergency. A proclaim of emergency may be revoked by a subsequent proclamation. 

Such a proclamation must be laid before each House of Parliament and ceases to operate at the expiration of one month unless approved by the two Houses. The President may during the period of emergency suspended the right to move the courts for the enforcement of fundamental rights, [Article 359 (except Article 21 and 22)]. He/She may give directions to any State as to the manner in which the State should exercise its executive powers.

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