Indian Constitution
General Knowledge

Powers of President

Administrative power

» The President is the formal head of the administration. All executive actions of the Union are expressed to be taken in the name of the President. {Ref.: Art. 77}
» All officers of the Union are the President's subordinates and he or she has a right to be informed of the affairs of the Union {Art. 78,53(1)}.
» The President shall have the power to appoint and remove high dignitaries including : The chairman and Members of the UPSC
  ★ The Prime Minister of India
  ★ Other Ministers of the Union
  ★ The Attorney-General for India
  ★ The Comptroller and Auditor General of India*
  ★ The Chief Justice and Judges of the Supreme Court*
  ★ The Chief Justice and Judges of the High Courts of the states*
  ★ The Governors of states*
  ★ The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners of India*
  ★ Members of Inter State Council
  ★ Chief Commissioners of Union Territories
  ★ Members of Finance Commission
  ★ Members of Language Commissions
  ★ Members of Backward Class Commission
  ★ Members of Minorities Commission
  ★ Indian Ambassadors and other diplomats
* - can be removed from office through special constitutional provisions (by impeachment).

Military power

» The Supreme command of the Defense Forces is vested in the President of India, but the Parliament can regulate or control the exercise of such powers (Ref.: Art. 53(2)}.
» Certain acts cannot be done by the President without approaching Parliament for sanction, e.g. acts which involved the expenditure of money {Ref. : Art. 114(3)}, such as the raising, training and maintenance of the Defence Forces.

Diplomatic power

» The President is empowered to negotiate treaties and agreements with other countries on the advice of his Ministers, subject to ratification by Parliament.
» President of India represents India in International affairs, appoints Indian representatives to other countries and receives diplomatic representatives of other States.

Legislative power

» President has the power to summon or prorogue the Houses of Parliament and to dissolve the Lok Sabha. {Ref.: Art. 85}
» He also has the power to summon a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament in case of a deadlock between them {Ref.: Art. 108}.
» The President addresses both Houses of Parliament assembled together, at the first session after each general election to the Lok Sabha and at the commencement of the first session of each year.
» The President has the right to address either Houses or their joint sitting, at any time and to require the attendance of members for this purpose [Ref.: Art. 86(1)]
» In the Rajya Sabha 12 members are nominated by the President from persons having special knowledge or practical experience of literature, science, art and social service {Ref.: Art. 80(1)}.
» The President is empowered to nominate not more than two Anglo-Indian members to the Lok Sabha, if that community is not adequately represented in that House {Ref.: Art. 331}.
» Previous sanction or recommendation of the President is required for introducing legislation on following matters :
  ★ A Bill for the formation of new states or the alteration of boundaries, of existing states {Ref.: Art. 3}
  ★ A Bill providing for any of the matters specified in art 31A(1)
  ★ A money Bill {Ref.: Art. 117(1)}
  ★ A Bill involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India {Ref.: Art. 117(3)}
  ★ A Bill affecting taxation in which States are interested
  ★ State Bills imposing restrictions upon the freedom of trade {Ref.: Art. 304}

» A Bill becomes an Act of the Indian Parliament only after it receives the assent of the President.
» When a Bill is presented to the President for assent:

  ★ He may declare his assent to the Bill; or
  ★ He may withhold his assent to the Bill; or
  ★ He may, in the case of Bills other than Money Bills return the Bill for reconsideration of the Houses, with or without a message suggesting amendments. If the Bill is passed again by both Houses of Parliament with or without amendment and again presented to the President it would be obligatory upon him to declare his assent to it {Ref.: Art. 111}.

» The veto power of the Indian President is a combination of the absolute, suspensive and pocket vetos.
» President of India has the power of disallowance or return for reconsideration of a Bill of the state legislature, which are reserved for his consideration by the Governor of the State {Ref.: Art. 201}. A Money Bill so reserved, can not be returned by the President.
» It is not obligatory upon the President to give his assent even to the Bills reconsidered by the state legislature {Ref.: Art. 201}.
» The President can legislate by Ordinances at a time when it is not possible to have a Parliamentary enactment on the subject, immediately {Ref.: Art. 123}.

Pardoning Power

» President as well as the Governors possess power to grant pardon {Ref.: Arts. 72,161}
» Pardon rescinds (abrogates or revokes) both the sentence and the conviction and absolve the offender from all punishment and disqualifications.
» Commutation merely substitutes one form of punishment for another of a lighter character.
» Remission reduces the amount of sentence without changing its character.
» Respite means awarding a lesser sentence instead of the penalty prescribed in view of pregnancy of a woman offender etc.
» Reprieve means a stay of execution of a sentence, e.g. pending a proceeding for pardon or commutation.

Comparison Between Pardoning Powers of the President and a Governor

» President has the power to grant pardon, reprieve, respite, suspension, remission or commutation, in respect of punishment or sentence by court-martial. Governor has no such power.
» President's powers extend up to the executive power of the union. Governor's powers extend up to the executive power of the state.
» Governor has no power to pardon in case of sentence of death, but he can suspend, remit or commute a sentence of death. Only President can pardon a death sentence.

Emergency power

» The President has extraordinary powers to deal with a situation of emergency.

Miscellaneous powers

» The President has the Constitutional authority to make rules and regulations relating to various matters.
» He/she has the power to give instruction to a Governor to promulgate an Ordinance if a Bill containing the same provisions requires previous sanction of the President.
» President has the power to refer any question of Public importance for the opinion of the Supreme Court.
» President has the power to appoint certain commissions for the purpose of reporting on specific matters, such as, Commissions to report on the administration of Scheduled Areas and welfare of Scheduled Tribes and backward classes; the Finance Commission; Commission on Official Language; an Inter-State Council.
» President has some special powers relating to Union Territories or territories which are directly administered by the Union.
» The President shall have certain special powers in respect of the administration of Scheduled Area and Tribes, and Tribal Area in Assam.
» The President has certain special powers and responsibilities regarding the administration of the Scheduled Caste.