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Indian Polity #3


Qualifications of the President

  • Must be a citizen of India
  • Must be 35 years or older
  • Must be qualified to be a member of the Lok Sabha, but should not be a member
  • Must not hold an office of profit under the Central or State or local governments
  • The name of the candidate must be proposed and seconded by at least 50 electors
Keywords: ias, study material, general studies, Indian polity

Conditions of service

  • Holds office for 5 years
  • Is elected indirectly by an electoral college consisting of
    • Elected members of both Houses of Parliament
    • Elected members of State Assemblies in accordance with proportional representation
    • The value of the vote of an MLA differs from state to state in order to give equality of representation
  • Eligible for immediate re-election
  • Resignation must be addressed to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha
  • Oath of affirmation is administered by the Chief Justice of India. In the CJI’s absence, the senior most available judge of the SC administers the oath.
  • The President can be impeached for violation of the constitution. Impeachment can be initiated by either House of Parliament. Requires a 2/3rd majority to pass.
  • If the office of the President falls vacant, the Vice President takes over. If the VP is not available, the CJI acts as President. If he is also not available, the senior most available judge of the SC acts as President. The acting President enjoys all powers of a regular President
  • Fresh elections to the office of President must be held within 6 months of vacancy
  • All election disputes are decided by the Supreme Court
Keywords: ias, study material, general studies, Indian polity

  1. Administrative powers
    1. All executive actions of the Union Government are carried out under the name of the President
    2. Appoints senior officials like the Prime Minister, CJI, CAG, AG etc
    3. Directly controls the administration of the Union Territories
  2. Legislative Powers
    1. Nominates 12 distinguished public figures to the Rajya Sabha and 2 Anglo-Indians to the Lok Sabha
    2. Can summon and prorogue sessions of both Houses
    3. Can dissolve the Lok Sabha (but not the Rajya Sabha)
    4. All bills must receive the President’s assent before they become law
    5. Enjoys suspensive veto power that can be applied to non-money bills. No veto power on Constitutional Amendment Bills
    6. Can enact ordinances on Union and Concurrent List subjects. Can issue ordinances on State subjects, only if the state is under President’s Rule
  3. Financial Powers
    1. All money bills can originate in the Lok Sabha only on the recommendation of the President
    2. Controls the Contingency Fund of India
    3. Appoints a Finance Commission every 5 years to recommend tax distribution between the Union and states
  4. Judicial Powers
    1. Can pardon or reprieve the sentence of anyone punished under Union law
    2. Appoints the Chief Justice and other judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts
  5. Emergency Powers
    1. Can proclaim emergency after getting the recommendation of the Cabinet in writing
  6. Military Powers
    1. Appoints the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force
    2. Enjoys the power to declare war and peace
  7. Diplomatic Powers
    1. Appoints Ambassadors to foreign countries and receives their diplomats
    2. All international treaties are concluded on behalf of the President. However, these are subject to ratification by Parliament
  8. President’s Rule
    1. Can declare President’s Rule either on the advice of the Governor or on self discretion
    2. Such a proclamation must be laid down before Parliament within two months
    3. Cannot remain in force for more than one year
    4. The concerned State Assembly can be dissolved or suspended
  9. Discretionary Powers: The President almost always acts on the advice of the Council of Ministers except under the following circumstances
    1. Appointment of a Prime Minister from among contenders when no single party has a majority in the Lok Sabha
    2. A Council of Ministers is voted out/resigns and recommends dissolution of the Lok Sabha
    3. While exercising a pocket veto
    4. Disqualifying members of the Legislature
    5. Return the advice of the Council of Ministers once for reconsideration
    6. Return a Bill passed by the Parliament once for reconsideration
Keywords: ias, study material, general studies, Indian polity

  • First imposed on Kerala, June 1951. In effect till April 1952
  • Longest duration of President’s Rule was in Punjab May 1987 – Feb 1992
  • Imposed maximum number of times on Kerala and Punjab (9 times each)
  • Minimum number of times on Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh
  • Shortest duration of imposition was on Karnataka. Imposed for 7 days in Oct 1990
Keywords: ias, study material, general studies, Indian polity

Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Jun 1950 – May 1952
First President
Longest tenure
Dr. S. Radhakrishnan
May 1962 – May 1967

Dr. Zakir Hussian
May 1967 – May 1969
Shortest tenure
Died in office
V.V. Giri (Acting)
May 1969 – July 1969
First Acting President
Justice M Hidayatullah
July 1969 – Aug 1969
Second Acting President
V.V. Giri
Aug 1969 – Aug 1974

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
Aug 1974 – Feb 1977
Died in office
B. D. Jatti (acting)
Feb 1977 – July 1977

Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
July 1982 – July 1987
Youngest President (64 years)
Elected unopposed
Giani Zail Singh
July 1982 – July 1987

R. Venkataraman
July 1987 – July 1992
Oldest President (76 years)
Dr. S.D. Sharma
July 1992 – July 1997

K.R. Narayanan
July 1997 – July 2002

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
July 2002 – July 2007

Pratibha Patil
July 2007 – present
First female President
Keywords: ias, study material, general studies, Indian polity


Election of the Vice-President

  • Is elected by all members of both Houses of Parliament in accordance with proportional representation
  • The name of the candidate must be proposed and seconded by at least 25 members
  • All election disputes are decided by the Supreme Court
  • Holds office for 5 years. Is eligible for re-election
  • Oath of office administered by the President
Keywords: ias, study material, general studies, Indian polity

Powers and functions of the Vice-President

  • Is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, but is not a member of the same
  • Has no right to vote except in a tie
  • All bills, resolutions, motions and questions in the Rajya Sabha can be taken up only with the consent of the VP
  • Acts as the chief spokesperson of the Rajya Sabha
  • Functions as Acting President if required. Can do so for a maximum of 6 months, and then a new President must be elected
  • Does not automatically become President in the absence of the President (unlike the USA)
Keywords: ias, study material, general studies, Indian polity


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