The President of India

The President of India is the constitutional head of state of the Republic of India. The President is the formal head of the executive, legislature and judiciary of India and is also the commander-in-chief of the Indian Armed Forces.
Although Article 53 of the Constitution of India states that the President can exercise his or her powers directly or by subordinate authority, with few exceptions, all of the executive authority vested in the President are, in practice, exercised by the Council of Ministers (CoM).
Part V of the Constitution (The Union) under Chapter I (The Executive) lists out the qualification, election and impeachment of the President of India.

The President of India: Election, Powers & Duties

Article 52: There shall be a President of India. The president is the first citizen of India.
Article 53: This mentions about the executive powers of the Union.
– The executive power shall be exercised by the President either directly or through officers subordinate to him

Election Of The President

Article 54: The President is elected by an electoral college.
The President is elected by the elected members of:

  • Lok sabha
  • Rajya Sabha
  • State Assemblies
  • State Assemblies of Delhi and Pondicherry. (Since 1992 through the 70th amendment).

Article 55: This Article mentions about the manner of the election of the President.
– The President is elected indirectly.
– The election shall be by a secret ballot.
– The election shall be held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.
Note: The nominated members and all the members of Legislative Councils (In case of Bicameral Legislatures) are not permitted to vote in the election of the President of India.

Qualification, Oath, Term and Conditions for President

Article 56: This article mentions about the term of the President.
– The term of office is 5 years from the date on which the President enters upon his office.
– The President can resign to his office by writing under his hand addressed to the Vice President of India.
– the President may be removed from office for violation of the Constitution, by impeachment in the manner provided in article 61.
Article 57: Eligibility for re-election of President
A person is eligible for re-election to the office of the President any number of terms.
Article 58: This articles elaborate the qualifications for election as President
Qualification of a person to contest for the President:
– Citizen of India
– Should have completed 35 years of age
– Should not hold any office of profit
– Should be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha.
Explanation: For the purposes of this article, a person shall not be deemed to hold any office of profit by reason only that he is the President or Vice-President of the Union or the Governor of any State or is a Minister either for the Union or for any State.
Article 71: The disputes related to the election of the President of India are challenged only in Supreme Court, and the decision of the Supreme Court is final. This article also includes the disputes related to the election to the office of the Vice-President also.

  • Security Deposit: 15000/- (Fifteen thousand Rupees). Security deposit will not be refunded if the candidate fails to get the 1/6th of the votes polled.
  • Nomination: A candidate for election to the office of the President must be subscribed by at least 50 electors as proposers and 50 electors as seconders.

Article 59: Conditions of President’s office
– The President shall not be a member of any house of Union or the state legislature.
– He shall not hold any office of Profit
– The President shall be entitled to the free use of his official residence and such emoluments, allowances and privileges as may be determined by the Parliament by law.
– The president is entitled to Free travel, Secretarial staff and Free Telephone, water, electricity, rent free furnished accommodation. The official residence of the President is called “Rashtrapati Bhavan”. Free residence, Medicare, pension to the President’s spouse if the President dies in office or after retirement.
Article 60: Oath or affirmation by the President
– OATH of Office: Is administered by the Chief justice of India and in his absence, the senior most judge of Supreme Court. The Acting President should also take similar type of oath.
– The President takes an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law.
– Salary and other allowances are determined by the Parliament from time to time. The salary and other allowances of the President cannot be diminished during the term of office.
Current Salary of President of India: 1,50,000/- (One Lakh and Fifty Thousands) per month.
Pension of President of India: 9,00,000/- (Nine Lakhs) per annum.
The President submits the resignation to the Vice President. The Vice President submits the resignation to the President.

Impeachment and Vacancy

Article 61: The procedure for impeachment of the President.
– The President of India can be removed from by a process of impeachment on the grounds of “Violation of the Constitution”.
– Charges can be initiated by any house of the Parliament.
– All the members of Loksabha and Rajya Sabha (Elected and nominated) take part in the impeachment process of the President. Assembly members are not permitted to take part in the impeachment process of the President of India.
– The charges should be signed by 1/4th of the members of the house.
– 14 days notice is given to the President.
– After it is passed by the 2/3rd majority of the total membership of the house it is sent to the other house. If the other house also passes the same with 2/3rd majority of the total then the President stands impeached.
Article 62: Time of holding election to fill vacancy in the office of President and the term of office or person elected to fill casual vacancy
The Vacancy can occur due to:
– Resignation
– Death
– Impeachment
– Otherwise. (If the election of the President is declared void by the Supreme Court).
The election for President should be held within 6 months of vacancy. The newly elected President remains in office for a full term of five years.
In the case of a vacancy in the office of the President, the Vice-President acts as the President. In the case of a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the Chief Justice of India acts as the President.

Powers and Functions of the President


The President is a part of Parliament. The President can summon the Parliament, Prorogue the Parliament and Dissolves Loksabha. Rajya Sabha is a permanent house it cannot be dissolved.
The President can also summon the Joint session of the Parliament (Article 108). The Speaker presides over the Joint session of the Parliament.
So far Joint Session was conducted for 3 times

  • Dowry Prohibition Bill in 1960: As the Lok Sabha did not agree to the amendments made by the Rajya Sabha , a joint session was held on May 6, 1961.
  • Banking Service Commission (Repeal) bill 1977: The Rajya Sabha rejected the bill after it is passed in the Lok Sabha. A joint Sitting was held on May 16, 1978.
  • Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2002: The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha but, rejected by the Upper House. A joint sitting was held on March 26, 2002.

ARTICLE 86: Address the Parliament at the commencement of the 1st session every year (after January 1st, generally this is the budget session) and also at the commencement of the 1st session after general election (The Lok Sabha Election)
Nominates 12 members to Rajya sabha from the persons with special knowledge or practical experience in Science, Arts, Literature and Social Service.
Nominates 2 members to Lok Sabha from the Anglo-Indian community. (If in the opinion of the President that the Community is not adequately represented in the Lok Sabha)
Decides the question of disqualification of the members of the parliament in consultation with the Election Commission.
The Budget is introduced in Lok Sabha with the prior permission of the President. A bill which is meant for the creation of a new state or altering the boundaries of the existing states introduced in the parliament with the Prior permission.
President has the right to return the bill for reconsideration. But the second time he must sign the bill. (Applicable for ordinary bills only). A bill becomes an Act after the assent of the president. President cannot return Money bills and constitution amendment bills).
Promulgates ordinances when the Parliament is not in the session. (Article 123). The ordinance must be passed by the Parliament within 6 weeks from its reassembly. The President lays the reports of CAG, UPSC, Finance Commission etc before the Parliament.

Executive or Appointment powers

All executive actions of the Government of India are formally taken on the name of the President of India.

  • The President appoints
    • the Prime Minister. (Article 75 (1)).
    • Attorney-General of India.
    • The Comptroller and Auditor General.
    • The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners.
    • The Chairman and Members of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
    • The Chairman and Members of Joint Public Service Commission (JPSC).
    • The Chairman and Members of Finance Commission.
    • The Governors of states
    • Appoints administrators to Union Territories.
    • Appoints Commissions to investigate into conditions of SCs, STs and Other Backward classes.
    • Appoints the inter-state council to promote centre-state cooperation.
  • All other ministers are also appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. (Article 75 (1)).
  •  The President allocated the business among the ministers.

Judicial powers

The President of India appoints the Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts.  The President can seek advice from the Supreme Court (as per Article 143).  The advice rendered by the Supreme Court is not binding on the President.

Financial powers

  • The money bills that are introduced in the Lok Sabha with prior permission of the President. (All Money bills are introduced in Lok Sabha)
  • Annual Financial Statement (Budget) is laid before the Lok Sabha with the prior permission of the President.
  • President can make advances out of the Contingency Fund of India to meet any unforeseen expenditure.
  • The President constitutes the Finance Commission (Article 280) every 5 years.

Diplomatic powers

International treaties are concluded by the President. (Subject to the approval of the Parliament). The President sends and receives diplomats like ambassadors, high Commissioners and so on.

Military powers

President is the Supreme commander of the armed forces. And is responsible for appointments of the Army Chief, the Navy Admiral and the Air Marshall. President can declare war and peace. (Subject to the approval of Parliament).

Pardoning Powers (Article 72)

The President has 5 types of pardoning powers.

  • Pardon: This removes both the sentence and the conviction and completely absolves the convict all sentences, punishments and disqualifications.
  • Commutation: This is the substitution of one form of punishment for a lighter form
  • Remission: Reducing the period of the sentence without changing its character. From Rigorous imprisonment (5 years) to Rigorous imprisonment (2 years).
  • Respite: Awarding a lesser sentence in place of one originally awarded because of some special facts. Ex: Pregnant woman, disabled persons etc
  • Reprieve: This is the stay of execution of a sentence for a temporary period

Veto Powers

Through this authority of the President to withhold assent to the bills passed by the Parliament. This is applicable to only ordinary bills. Money Bills and constitutional bills needs to be signed.
Classifications of Veto Powers:

  • Absolute Veto: The power of the President to withhold the assent to a bill passed by the Parliament.
  • Suspensive Veto: The President returns the bill for the reconsideration of the Parliament. If the bill is again passed by the Parliament with or without amendments, it is obligatory for the President to give assent to the bill.
  • Pocket Veto: The President neither rejects nor returns the bill, but simply keeps the bill pending for an indefinite period of time. When a bill is passed by the state legislature and sent to the Governor for his consent. Under Article 200 of the constitution the Governor
    • May give assent to the bill, or
    • Withhold the assent to the bill, or
    • May return the bill for the reconsideration by the state legislature, or
    • May reserve the bill for the consideration of the President.

Ordinance Making Power

Article 123 of the Indian Constitution empowers the President to promulgate (Proclaim, announce) ordinances. This is considered as the most important power of the President.

  • Ordinance can be proclaimed by the President only during recess (when the Parliament is not in session).
  • Ordinance can also be issued when only one house is in session.
  • The decision of the President to issue an ordinance can be questioned in a court on the ground that the President prorogued one house or both the houses of the Parliament deliberately with a view to issue an ordinance on a controversial subject.
  • Ordinance issued by the President must be laid before both the houses of Parliament when it reassembles.
  • From the date of reassembly the ordinance is valid for a period of six weeks.
  • The President can withdraw an ordinance at any time.
  • Ordinance cannot be issued to amend the constitution.

Emergency powers

The Constitution of India granted 3 types of emergency powers to the President of India.

  • National Emergency (Article 352)
  • State Emergency or President’s Rule (Article 356)
  • Financial Emergency (Article 360)

Presidents of India

Sr. No. Portrait Name

Rajendra Prasad

Rajendra Prasad
1952, 1957

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Zakir Husain

Zakir Husain
(1897–1969)Hussain was vice chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University and a recipient of Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna. He died in office, the first to do so. He was also the shortest-serving President. He was also the first Muslim President.

Varahagiri Venkata Giri

Varahagiri Venkata Giri
(1894–1980)He was elected Vice President of India in 1967. Following the death of President Zakir Hussain, Giri was appointed as Acting President of India. He resigned in a few months to take part in the presidential elections.

Mohammad Hidayatullah

Mohammad Hidayatullah 
(1905–1992)Hidayatullah served as the Chief Justice of India and was also a recipient of the Order of the British Empire. He served as Acting President of India until the election of Giri as the President of India.

Varahagiri Venkata Giri

Varahagiri Venkata Giri
(1894–1980)Giri is the only person to have served as both an acting president and president of India. He was a recipient of the Bharat Ratna, and has functioned as Indian Minister of Labour and High Commissioner to Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
(1905–1977)Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed served as a Minister before being elected as president. He died in 1977 before his term of office ended, and was the second Indian president to die in office. He was also president during Emergency.

Basappa Danappa Jatti

Basappa Danappa Jatti
(1912–2002)Jatti was the vice president of India during Ahmed’s term of office, and was sworn in as Acting President of India upon Ahmed’s death. He earlier functioned as the Chief Minister for the State of Mysore.

Neelam Sanjiva Reddy

Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
(1913–1996)N.S. Reddy was the first Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh State. Reddy was the only Member of Parliament from the Janata Party to get elected from Andhra Pradesh. He was unanimously elected Speaker of the Lok Sabha on 26 March 1977 and relinquished this office on 13 July 1977 to become the 6th President of India.

Giani Zail Singh

Giani Zail Singh
(1916–1994)In March 1972, Singh assumed the position of chief Minister of Punjab, and in 1980, he became Union Home Minister. He was also secretary general to Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) from 1983 to 1986

Ramaswamy Venkataraman

 Ramaswamy Venkataraman
(1910–2009)In 1942, Venkataraman was jailed by the British for his involvement in the Indian independence movement. After his release, he was elected to independent India’s Provisional Parliament as a member of the Congress Party in 1950 and eventually joined the central government, where he first served as Minister of Finance and Industry and later as Minister of Defence.

Shankar Dayal Sharma

Shankar Dayal Sharma
(1918–1999)Sharma was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and the Indian Minister for Communications. He has also served as the governor of Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra.

Kocheril Raman Narayanan

 Kocheril Raman Narayanan
(1920–2005)Narayanan served as India’s ambassador to Thailand, Turkey, China and the United States of America. He received doctorates in Science and Law and was also a chancellor in several universities. He was also the vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University.He was the first President from Kerala, and also the first Dalit President.

A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
(1931–2015)Kalam was a scientist who played a leading role in the development of India’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs. He also received the Bharat Ratna. Kalam was affectionately known as the People’s President, due to his extra-Presidential activities.
He was the first bachelor president of India, and the first Muslim President who completed his term. Kalam died following a heart attack while delivering a speech in Shillong.

Pratibha Patil

Pratibha Patil
(1934–)Patil was the first woman to become the President of India. She was also the first female Governor of Rajasthan.

Pranab Mukherjee

Pranab Mukherjee
(1935–)Pranab Mukherjee held various posts in the cabinet ministry for the Government of India such as Finance Minister, Foreign Minister, Defence Minister and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.

Ram Nath Kovind

Ram Nath Kovind

Kovind was governor of Bihar from 2015 to 2017 and a Member of Parliament from 1994 to 2006. He is the second Dalit president (after K. R. Narayanan) and is the first president from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and is an active member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since his youth.


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