President of India – Powers, Functions, Impeachment, President UPSC Notes

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The President of India is the first citizen of the country. According to Article 52 of the Indian Constitution, he/she is said to be the head of the Republic of India. Therefore the President of India is also the formal head of the judicial, executive and legislative activities. He/She is also the Supreme Commander of the Defense Forces and a part of the Union executive along with the Prime Minister, Vice President, Attorney General, and Council of Ministers.

For the candidates preparing for UPSC and other competitive exams, it is important to learn about the powers and functions of President of India along with their appointment procedure, tenure, impeachment, qualification, etc. Also, get the list of President of India here from 1950 till present date below.

Who is the President of India?

The President of India is considered to be the head of state and also commands the Indian Army. He/She is also called the ‘first citizen of India’. The current President of India is Ms Droupadi Murmu. She was elected as the 15th President of India in 2022. She won by a large margin against her competitor, Mr Yashwant Sinha. Droupadi Murmu has also served as the Governor of Jharkhand.

Droupadi Murmu set a record by becoming the President of India as she was the second female candidate to win and secondly, she hailed from a tribal community. She belongs to the Santhal tribe in India.

  • She is the first tribal woman to have ever held the highest post.
  • She is also the first President of India who was born in the post-Independence era.
  • Her earlier profession was that of a teacher in Odisha before she entered politics and became an MLA.

First President of India

The first President of India was Dr Rajendra Prasad. He was a political leader from the Indian National Congress. He was an accomplice of Mahatma Gandhi and played a big role in the Non-Cooperation Movement. Dr Prasad was also the president of the Indian National Congress. He held the office of the President of India from 1950-1962.

Dr Rajendra Prasad was the only person who held the office of the President of India for 2 terms. He was also the Minister for Food and Agriculture in the provisional government while India was on its way to complete independence in September 1946. He also played a big role in the formation of the Indian Constitution. Dr Prasad was elected the President of India in 1950 without any opposition.

Article 52 of the Indian Constitution

The President of India is defined in the constitution in Article 52. Subsequently, several other articles in the Indian constitution define other powers and functions of President which are tabulated below:

  • Article 53 – Executive Power of the Union
  • Article 54 – Election of President
  • Article 55 – Manner of election of President
  • Article 56 – Term of office
  • Article 57 – Eligibility for re-election
  • Article 58 – Qualifications for election as President
  • Article 59 – Conditions of President’s office
  • Article 60 – Oath or affirmation by the President
  • Article 61 – Procedure for impeachment of the President
  • Article 62 – Time of holding election to fill the vacancy in the office of president and the term of office or person elected to fill a casual vacancy
  • Article 70 – Discharge of President’s functions in other contingencies
  • Article 71 – Matters relating to, or connected with, the election of a President or Vice-President
  • Article 72 – Power of President to grant pardons, etc., and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases
  • Article 74 – Council of Ministers to aid and advise President
  • Article 75 – Other provisions as to Ministers
  • Article 87 – Special address by the President
  • Article 123 – Power of President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament
  • Article 143 – Power of President to consult Supreme Court

How is the President of India Elected?

The President of India is elected indirectly by the people but by the members of the electoral college consisting of the elected members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, elected members of the Legislative Assembly of States, and elected members of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi and Puducherry.

President of India Election

  • There should be uniformity between States, uniformity among the states together union.
  • Value of the vote of 1 MLA – Total population divided by total no. of elected members and then multiplied by 1/1000.
  • Value of the vote of 1 MP – Total value of votes of all MLAs of all states divided by total no. of elected MPs.
  • The presidential election is held on the principle of a Single Transferable Vote by way of Proportional Representation (STVPR).
  • FORMULA – Total no. of valid votes divided by No. of seat +1 then whole added by 1.

The President of India is elected through a process in which a particular candidate is required to win/secure a certain number of absolute votes decided by the above formula.

  • If no candidate secures the requisite vote, then the candidate with the least number of first-category votes is picked, and his second-category votes are divided among other candidates.
  • The process goes on till the President is elected.
  • It is a completely secret ballot, and no whip can be issued.
  • The election of the President can only be challenged in the Supreme Court and vacancy in case of resignation, death, or dissolution of the State legislative assembly cannot be a reason to challenge the election.

Who Cannot be a part of the President’s Election?

In the election of the President, the following group of people is not involved-

  • The 12 nominated members of the Rajya Sabha, nominated members of the State Legislative Assemblies, In bicameral legislature – both elected and nominated members of the Legislative Councils, and nominated members of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.

Qualification of President of India

The qualification of the President (nominee) to be eligible for election are as follows-

  • He should be a citizen of India and have completed 35 years of age.
  • He should be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha. He should not hold any office of profit under the Union government or any State government or any Local authority.

The Oath of the President of India is mentioned in the constitution itself.

Faithfully execute the office, preserve and protect the constitution, and dedicated it to the service and well-being of the people of India.

The tenure is of 5 years but he can stay in office until the new President arrives.

Conditions of the President’s Office

The condition of the President’s office is as follows-

  • He should have to vacate the seat of the member of either house on the first day as President in office, that is he cannot be a member of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
  • He should not hold any office of profit in the Union, States, and Local Authority of India.
  • Rashtrapati Bhavan is provided for his residence without any rent payment.
  • President’s emoluments, allowances, and privileges are decided by the Parliament.
  • During his term of office, the emoluments and allowances cannot be diminished by the Parliament.
  • He enjoys the privileges in case of any criminal proceeding, even in respect of his personal acts.
  • After giving the prior two-month notice, only civil proceedings can be initiated for his personal acts, and the president cannot be arrested or imprisoned.

Impeachment of the President in India

The parliament can impeach the President of India. The violation of the Constitution can remove him/her, but the Constitution’s violation is not defined in the constitution.

According to the Constitution, the removal of President is done through a process where-

  • A proposal to prefer a charge is contained in a resolution brought after 14 days’ notice to the President in writing.
  • The house then takes up the resolution and if the house passes the resolution with the majority of two-thirds of the total membership of the house.
  • Then the resolution is passed to the second house and the second house investigates the charges where the President is entitled to either represent himself or get represented.
  • If the second house passes the resolution with the same majority the president stands impeached.

Vacancy in the President’s Office

The followings are the situation when the president’s office can be vacant-

  • When the tenure of 5 years is completed.
  • If he/she resigns.
  • He is removed when an impeachment charge initiated by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha stands valid.
  • In case he dies in the office.
  • If the election of the President is declared invalid by the Supreme Court.

Powers and Functions of President of India

There are various powers and functions of President of India such as legislative, executive, financial, military, judicial, and pardoning powers which can be used in different circumstances by the President to successfully carry out national and international operations. A detailed description of each is presented below.

Executive Powers of President

  • All the business shall be in his name.
  • All the International Treaties are signed in his name subject to ratification by Parliament.
  • Allocates business among ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister.
  • The President of India is to be informed on affairs of the Union and proposed legislative power.
  • The Prime Minister and Council of Ministers are appointed by the President.

Legislative Powers of President of India

Summoning, Prorogation, sending messages with respect to the bills to both houses, calling joint session, in case of abrupt vacancy in case of the office of the speaker or deputy speaker the President will make a temporary arrangement, dissolves Lok Sabha, gives assent to the bill, Ordinance lay before both the houses- the report of the Union Public Service Commission, Annual Financial Statement, Comptroller and auditor general if India Finance Commission and other constitutional and statutory bodies. He gives permission for the introduction of money bills.

Financial Powers of Indian President

  • Only with the prior recommendation of the president, a money bill can be introduced in Parliament.
  • The Annual Financial Statement which is the Union budget is laid before the Parliament by the President.
  • To recommend the distribution of the revenues between the Centre and States, he constitutes a Finance Commission after every 5 years.

Judicial Powers of President

The President can pardon, commute, remit, respite and deprive any sentence of any court except the military court; Appointment of the Supreme Court and High Court Judges, he also refers to the Supreme Court for any case for its opinion (Presidential reference).

Diplomatic Powers of President of India

  • The President represents India in International Forums.
  • Negotiations and conclusions of the International Treaties and Agreements are done on the behalf of the President.

Military Powers of President

  • He appoints the chiefs of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force.
  • He is the supreme commander in chief of the defence forces of India.
  • He can declare war or conclude peace, subject to the approval of the parliament.

Emergency Powers of President

President has extraordinary power with the following three types of emergency-

Pardoning Power of the President

The President has the pardoning power in case of death, other matters in the union law, and Court Martial and also gives a respite, commute, remit, and reprieve.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the court can’t issue guidelines but it can decide over the principle to be followed-

  • Must be on the advice of the Council of Ministers.
  • The Convict has no right to oral hearing etc.

Veto Power of the President

  • The President of India enjoys the three types of Veto power as follows-
  • Absolute Veto – To withhold consent with the bill ( The bill dies then and there).
  • Suspensive Veto – Overridden by a simple majority.
  • Pocket Veto – The President may delay the bill for an unlimited period (In the US the maximum difference is 10 years)
  • The President after the 24th Constitutional Amendment is under obligation to sign the bill if it seeks to amend the Constitution.

Ordinance-Making Power of the President

  • It is not a legislative provision but an emergency provision.
  • The ordinance can only be promulgated on those subjects on which Parliament is empowered to legislate that is Union list or the Concurrent list.
  • No Constitutional Amendment is done through an ordinance.
  • The ordinance cannot be issued if both houses are in session.
  • Ordinance-making power is subject to Judicial Review.
  • Ordinance making is an emergency provision that should be avoided in a normal sense and the maximum life of the Ordinance is 6 months or 6 weeks.
  • The ordinance is issued by the President on the advice of the cabinet.

President of India UPSC

The President of India is an important topic in the Polity Syllabus for UPSC Prelims as well as Mains exams. Aspirants must read this article word by word to learn everything related to the impeachment, appointment, powers and functions of President of India from which questions are often asked in the UPSC and other competitive exams.

President UPSC Questions

Aspirants can also download the UPSC Previous Year Question Paper to understand the type of questions asked from President UPSC notes.

Question: With reference to the election of the President of India, consider the following statements:

  1. The value of the vote of each MLA varies from State to State.
  2. The value of the vote of MPs of the Lok Sabha is more than the value of the vote of MPs of the Rajya Sabha.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? – 1 only, 2 only, Both 1 and 2, Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: 1 only

UPSC Mains Question: Instances of the President’s delay in commuting death sentences have come under public debate as a denial of justice. Should a time limit be specified for the President to accept/reject such petitions? Analyse.

President of India UPSC Mains Question: Under what circumstances can the President of India proclaim the Financial Emergency? What consequences follow when such a declaration remains in force?

Important UPSC Notes:
Sources of Indian Constitution Cripps Mission
Non Cooperation Movement Military Exercises of India
Armed Forces Special Powers Act Multidimensional Poverty Index
Revolt of 1857 Amendments in Indian Constitution
Kyoto Protocol Economic Planning in India
Fundamental Duties Types of Soil in India
NITI Aayog Five Year Plan in India
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