Ram Nath Kovind sworn in as 14th President of India

Ram Nath Kovind  sworn in as the 14th President of India. He was administered oath to the office by Chief President of IndiaJustice of India J.S. Khehar in Parliament’s Central Hall. Second Dalit President of India after late President K.R. Narayanan. He is also the first person from Uttar Pradesh to hold the office of President. 

President of India (Article 52)

President of India is top constitutional post as he is head of the Indian state, first citizen of India and supreme commander of the Indian armed forces. Article 52 to 78 of Part V mention about the union executives.

ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENT (Article 54)

  1. The elected members of both the Houses of Parliament;
  2. The elected members of the legislative assemblies of the states
  3. The elected members of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry

QUALIFICATIONS (Article 58), OATH (Article 60) AND CONDITIONS (Article 59)

  1. He should be a citizen of India.
  2. He should have completed 35 years of age.
  3. He should be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha.
  4. He should not hold any office of profit under the Union government

The oath of office(Article 60) to the President is administered by the Chief Justice of India and in his absence, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court available.

The President holds office for a term (Article 56) of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office. However, he can resign from his office at any time by addressing the resignation letter to the Vice- President. Further, he can also be removed from the office before completion of his term by the process of impeachment.(Article 61).

Power and Functions Of The President

A.  Executive Power

  1. All executive actions of the Government of India are formally taken in his name.
  2. He appoints the prime minister and the other ministers. AG and CAG of India, chief election commissioner and other election commissioners, the chairman and members of the UPSC,  Governors of states, the chairman and members of finance commission, They hold office during his pleasure.
  3. He can appoint a commission to investigate into the conditions of SCs, STs and other
  4. backward classes.
  5. He can appoint an inter-state council to promote Centre–state and inter-state cooperation.
  6. He directly administers the union territories through administrators appointed by him.
  7. He can declare any area as scheduled area and has powers with respect to the administration
  8. of scheduled areas and tribal areas.

B. Legislative powers

  1. He can summon or prorogue the Parliament and dissolve the Lok Sabha. He can also summon a joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament, which is presided over by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
  2. He nominates 12 members of the Rajya Sabha and 2 members of Loksabha.

C. Financial powers

  1. Money bills can be introduced in the Parliament only with his prior recommendation.
  2. He constitutes a finance commission after every five years to recommend the distribution of revenues between the Centre and the states.

D. Judicial powers

  1. He appoints the Chief Justice and the judges of Supreme Court and high courts.
  2. He can seek advice from the Supreme Court on any question of law or fact. However, the advice tendered by the Supreme Court is not binding on the President.(Article 143)
  3. He can grant pardon, reprieve, respite and remission of punishment, or suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence. (Article 72)

E. Diplomatic powers

The international treaties and agreements are negotiated and concluded on behalf of the President

F. Military powers

He is the supreme commander of the defence forces of India. In that capacity, he appoints the chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. He can declare war or conclude peace, subject to the approval of the Parliament.

G. Emergency powers

  1. National Emergency (Article 352)
  2. President’s Rule (Article 356 & 365)
  3. Financial Emergency (Article 360)

Veto Powers of The President (Article 111)

He may give his assent or withhold the bill, or may return the bill (if it is not a Money bill) for reconsideration of the Parliament. If the bill is passed again by the Parliament with or without amendments and again presented to the President, the President must give his assent to the bill. President has no veto power in respect of a constitutional amendment bill.

  1. Absolute veto – that is, withholding of assent to the bill passed by the legislature.eg. 1954, President Dr Rajendra Prasad withheld his assent to the PEPSU Appropriation Bill.1991, President R Venkataraman withheld his assent to the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill.
  2. Suspensive veto – which can be overridden by the legislature with an ordinary majority.
  3. Pocket veto – that is, taking no action on the bill passed by the legislature.1986, President Zail Singh exercised the pocket veto with respect to the Indian Post Office (Amendment) Bill.
  4. Qualified veto – which can be overridden by the legislature with a higher majority.(Not possessed by Indian President)

Ordinance Making Power (Article 123)

He can promulgate an ordinance only when both the Houses of Parliament are not in session or when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session. An ordinance can also be issued when only one House is in session because a law can be passed by both the Houses and not by one House alone. An ordinance made when both the Houses are in session is void.

Cooper case (1970) the Supreme Court held that the President’s satisfaction can be questioned in a court on the ground of malafide. This means that the decision of the President to issue an ordinance can be questioned in a court.
D.C. Wadhwa v. State of Bihar (1987) The court ruled that successive repromulgation of ordinances with the same text without any attempt to get the bills passed by the assembly would amount to violation of the Constitution and the ordinance so repromulgated is liable to be struck down

Pardoning Power Of The President (Article 72)

  1. Pardon It removes both the sentence and the conviction and completely absolves the convict from all sentences, punishments and disqualifications.
  2. Commutation It denotes the substitution of one form of punishment for a lighter form. For example, a death sentence may be commuted to rigorous imprisonment, which in turn may be commuted to a simple imprisonment.
  3. Remission It implies reducing the period of sentence without changing its character. For example, a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for two years may be remitted to rigorous imprisonment for one year.
  4. Respite It denotes awarding a lesser sentence in place of one originally awarded due to some special fact, such as the physical disability of a convict or the pregnancy of a woman offender.
  5. Reprieve It implies a stay of the execution of a sentence (especially that of death) for a temporary period. Its purpose is to enable the convict to have time to seek pardon or commutation from the President
So far two Presidents, Dr Zakir Hussain and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, have died during their term of office.

When CJ of India acted as President
When President Dr Zakir Hussain died in May, 1969, the then Vice-President, VV Giri was acting as the President. Soon after VV Giri resigned to contest the election of the President. Then the Chief Justice of India, M Hidayatullah worked as the officiating President from 20 July, 1969 to 24 August, 1969.

 

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