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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Q. Does the President of India enjoy the right to veto the Bills passed by Parliament?

Ans. The purpose behind the Executive Veto is to check the hasty and ill considered passing of legislation by the Parliament. The President of India does not enjoy right to veto to the extent it is enjoyed by the American President. However, the President of India can exercise the right to veto over the Bills passed by Parliament in some situations—(i) If the President declares that he withholds his assent from a Bill, such Bill shall lapse. Generally, this type of veto is exercised by the President over the Bills initiated by private members of Parliament. In the case of government Bills, the Council of Ministers may advise the President for approval of a Bill. However if the Council of Ministers resigns during the pendency of a Bill before the President and the new Council of Ministers advises the President to veto such Bill, it will be considered constitutional and legal. (ii) If the President returns a Bill for the reconsideration of Parliament and such Bill is again passed by Parliament and sent to the assent of the President, he shall give his assent to such a Bill. This kind of veto by the President can suspend or delay a Bill for some time. Therefore, it is called suspensive veto. However, it is not applicable in the case of Money Bills. (iii) The Constitution d&s not prescribe a time limit within which the President is required to decide about his assent to a Bill. Thus, the President may desire to keep a Bill lying on his table for any period of time without taking action in either way. This is called pocket veto. This becomes effective, if the fall of the Council of Ministers is imminent. For example. the then President. Zail Singh kept pending the Postal Bill, 1986 and did not decide the date of the Bill either way. After three years Rajiv Gandhi government was replaced by a new government which preferred to withdraw the Postal Bill. (iv) However, with respect to the Bills passed by the State Legislature and reserved by the Governor tor the assent of the President, the power of absolute veto is enjoyed by the President. He may declare at any time that he withholds the assent from such Bills and consequently, such Bills will come to an end.

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