Chapters :
  • POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT EXECUTIVE POWERS
  • MILITARY POWERS
  • LEGISLATIVE POWERS
  • EMERGENCY POWERS
  • JUDICIAL POWERS
  • ORDINANCE
  • POSITION OF THE PRESIDENT

LIBERAL INTELLECTUAL PRINCIPLES – 03

POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT EXECUTIVE POWERS: He is the formal executive head of the State administration. But the actual administration of various departments of the government is carried out by the Union Ministers. All the executive officers of the Union are his subordinates thus, he has the right to be informed about the affairs of the government. His primary administrative power is the appointment and removal of high dignitaries. 
S.No Executive Powers of the President
1 He appoints the Prime Minister and other Ministers (under the advice of the PM) of the Union. They hold office during the pleasure of President. He can also remove the ministers individually. 
2 He appoints the Attorney General of India, who holds office during his pleasure. Note: The solicitor general is appointed by the central government.
3 He appoints the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) who does not hold office during the pleasure of President. 
4 He appoints the Chief Justice of India and other judges of Supreme Court.  Note: He appoints the Chief Justice and other judges of High Courts as well.
5 He appoints the chairman and other members of UPSC and Joint Public Service Commissions. Note: Though he does not appoint the chairman and other members of State Public Service Commissions, they can be removed only by him. 
6 He appoints the chairman and members of National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commision for Scheduled Tribes
7 He appoints the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners, the Chairman and members of Finance Commission, the administrators of Union Territories, the Central Chief Information Commissioner, the chairperson of National Human Rights Commission and the Central Vigilance Commissioner
8 He can declare any area as scheduled area. He has the powers to administer the scheduled and tribal areas. 
9 He can appoint an inter-state council for strengthening the centre-state and inter-state relations.
10 He can appoint a commission to study the conditions of SCs, STs and other backward classes. He can also appoint a commission on official language and a special officer for linguistic minorities. 
11 All the international treaties and agreements are signed on behalf of the President as he is the Head of the State. Such treaties need to be ratified by the Parliament. 
The executive powers of the President are limited and he has to exercise his executive powers in accordance with the advice of the council of ministers(CoM). But prior to the 42nd constitutional amendment act, 1976 he was not bound to act in accordance with the advice of CoM. The 44th constitutional amendment act, 1978 relaxed the limitations and enabled the President to require the CoM to reconsider the advice. However, he can use this power to return for reconsideration only once and if the CoM gives the same advice after reconsideration, he has to act accordingly.  MILITARY POWERS: The President is the supreme commander of defence forces of the Union and the exercise of his powers shall be regulated by legislations of the Parliament.
S.No MILITARY POWERS OF THE PRESIDENT
1 He appoints the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force.
2 He declares war, concludes peace subjected to the approval of the Parliament. 
LEGISLATIVE POWERS: The President is an integral part of Indian parliament, but not a member of either of its houses. Thus, the Parliament is composed of the Lok sabha, the Rajya Sabha and the President. Being a part of the Parliament, he enjoys the following legislative powers
S. No  Legislative Powers of the President
1 He summons and prorogues the Lok Sabha(LS) and the Rajya Sabha(RS).
2 He summons joint sitting of LS and RS, which is presided over by the Speaker.
3 He addresses the Parliament at the first session after every general election and the first session of every year.
4 He can appoint any member of LS to preside over when the offices of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are vacant.
5 He can appoint any member of RS to preside over when the offices of both the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman are vacant.
6 He can nominate two members to the LS from the Anglo-Indian community.
7 He nominates twelve members with distinguished knowledge or practical experience in literature, art, science and social service to the RS.
8 He disqualifies the members of Parliament on consultation with the Election Commission. Note: The presiding officers of the houses decide on the disqualification of members on the ground of defection.
9 His prior recommendation is necessary for introducing certain types of bills in the Parliament such as the money bills and bills aimed at altering the boundaries of states or creation of new states.
10 He dissolves the LS when the government loses confidence of the house.
11 Any bill passed by the Parliament becomes an act only after President’s assent to it.
12 He lays before the Parliament the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India(CAG), the Union Public Service Commission(UPSC) and others.
EMERGENCY POWERS: The President can promulgate three types of emergencies to tackle the extraordinary situations that challenge the security of the country. They are
  1. National Emergency,
  2. Financial Emergency and 
  3. President’s Rule.
JUDICIAL POWERS: The President is endowed with special judicial powers, the Pardoning powers that include the following
  1. Pardon – To set a convicted person completely free.
  2. Remission – Reducing the duration of punishment without changing the form of punishment. Example: Remitting 20 years of rigorous imprisonment to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.
  3. Commutation – Changing the form of punishment. Example: Commuting a death sentence to life imprisonment.
  4. Reprieve – Delaying the execution of a sentence. Example: Delaying the execution of a death sentence to allow the convicted person to apply for President’s pardon.
  5. Respite – Changing the form of punishment to a lighter one under special circumstances such as pregnancy, physical disability and so on. 
ORDINANCE The President is endowed with the power of promulgating ordinances when any one of the houses is not in session to deal with an extraordinary situation that needs immediate action. 
  1. An ordinance has the same effect as the parliamentary laws.
  2. It is valid for a maximum duration of six months and six weeks. In the case when the houses are summoned to assemble on different dates, the six weeks are calculated from the later date. 
  3. The President can withdraw the ordinance at any time.
  4. The ordinance route cannot be used for making constitutional amendments.
  5. The Supreme Court has held that unreasonable re-promulgation of ordinances to bypass the legislature will amount to a fraud on the constitution. 
POSITION OF THE PRESIDENT The President of India is the constitutional head of the State. He has been provided with a wide range of powers, yet he cannot use his powers on discretion. He is bound to act on the advice of the Cabinet during both the normal times and the emergency. However, the President can exercise his discretion in the following matters
  1. Appointment of the Prime Minister;
  2. Dismissal of the Union government;
  3. Dissolution of the Lok Sabha;
  4. Seeking information on any matter related to the administration of the State.
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