Powers and Duties of the President of India

Nature of the powers of the President:- The Constitution says that “executive powers of the Union shall be vested in the President”. The President of India shall thus be the head of the “Executive Powers” of the Union. The ambit of the executive powers has been thus explained by our Supreme court— it may be possible to frame an exact definition of what executive function means and implies. Ordinarily, the executive powers connote the residue of governmental functions that remain after legislative and judicial functions are taken away, subject, of course, to the provisions of the Constitution or of any law.

Limitations on President’s Powers:- Firstly, he must exercise these powers according to the Constitution [Article 53(1)]. Thus, Article 75(1) explicitly requires that Ministers can be appointed by the President only on the advice of the Prime Minister. If the President violates any mandatory provisions of the Constitution, he will be dismissed by impeachment. Secondly, the executive powers shall be exercised by the President of India only on the advice of the Council of Ministers [Article 74(1)].

Executive powers of the President are discussed under the following heads:-

(1) The Administrative Powers:- The President is the formal head of the administration. He shall not have any administrative function to discharge or to control or supervise the Department of Government. Though the President shall have the power to appoint —

• The Prime Minister of India

• Other Ministers of the Union

• The Attorney General of India

• The comptroller and Auditor General of India

• The Governor of a State

• The Finance Commission

• The Election Commission

• The judges of the Supreme Court

• The judges of the High Court

(2) The Military Powers:- The supreme command of the Defense Forces vested in the hand of the President of India, the powers regulated by [ Article 53(2)]. The President may have the powers for declaration of any war or peace or the employment of the Defense Forces.

(3) The Diplomatic Powers:- The task of negotiating treaties and agreements with other countries are subject to ratification by parliament, therefore belong to the President. The President of India represents India in International Affairs and has the powers to appoint Indian representatives for other countries and receiving diplomatic representatives of the other states, acknowledged by the Parliament.

(4) The Legislative Powers:- The Legislative powers of the President, indeed according to Ministerial advice [Article 74(1)] and may discuss in the following heads:

• Summoning, Prorogation, and Dissolution

• The Opening Address

• The right to Address and to send Messages

• Nominations of the members of the Houses

• Laying reports before the Parliament

• Previous sanction to Legislation

• Assent to Legislation and Veto power

• Disallowance of State Legislation

• The Ordinance-making power

(5) Pardoning Power:- The President of India has the power to grant a pardon in case of :

• Punishment by a court-martial.

• Offence against the laws made under the Union and Concurrent Lists.

• Pardoning a sentence of death.

(6) Emergency Powers:- The President of India shall have certain extraordinary powers to deal with emergencies, which deserve a separate treatment. These extraordinary powers of the President arise at the time of:

“Proclamation of Emergency” on the ground of threat to the security of the Nation or any part thereof by war, external aggression, or armed rebellion.

• Break down of the Constitutional machinery may take place either as a result of a political deadlock or the failure by a state to carry out the directions of the Union [Article 356,365].

• Financial stability or credit of India or any part thereof is threatened [Article 360].