Here is your free sample essay on the President of India

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The President, on the whole, has functioned as a constitutional head in the Indian union.

In November 1960, President Rajendra Prasad raised a nationwide controversy on the question of the powers and positions of the President in the Indian constitution, when he called upon the Indian law Institute to examine scientifically how far those powers were identical with those of the British Monarch.

K. Subba Rao, a candidate for Presidential election in 1967 began to speak of an Independent President. Even V.V. Giri, another Presidential candidate in 1969 declared that he would never be ‘a rubber stamp’ even of God.

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In the beginning constitutional exports were divided into three more or less well defined schools of thought as regards to the position and powers of the President of India on the one hand there were those like Granville Austin, C.H. Alexandrowiez and M.C. Setalvad, who took a broad view of constitutional provisions.

They held that the founding fathers deliberately opted for the parliamentary form of Govt, and President was a mere constitutional head similar to the English crown.

As against this, there was a small, but apparently growing school-of thought which tended to take an ultra literal view of certain constitutional provisions and draw the conclusion that the President under our constitution is not a figure head.

Alan Gledhill declared that “without violating the constitution, the President can establish an authoritarian Government and K M. Munshi maintained that some of the President’s powers were ‘super ministerial’. P.B. Mukherjee declared that the President was “an independent institution with independent authority and independent functions.”

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A third school of thought took a middle position. Thus, K. Santharam, and a. Appadarai argued that while the President was a constitutional head of the state and acted ordinarily on the advice of the ministers, he had unspecified ‘reserve’ powers, as guardian of the constitution, to be used by him in his discretion.

Views of the founding fathers:

One may usually refer to the constituent Assembly debates and find that the intention of the Assembly was to put the President in the position of the British Monarch. Ambedkar said: “The title of this functionary reminds one the President of the United States.

But beyond identity of names there is” nothing in common between the form of Government prevalent in America and the form of Government proposed under the Draft constitution. Under the Presidential system of America, the President is the chief head of the executive.

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Under the Draft constitution the President occupies the same position as the king under the English constitution.” Participating in the discussion Dr. Rajendra Prasad said, “Although there are no specific provisions in constitution itself making it binding on the President to accept the advice of his ministers.

It is hoped that the convention under which in England the king acts always on the advice of his ministers will be established and the President will become a constitutional President in all matters.”

When Ambedkar was asked whether the President is always bound by the advice of the council of ministers ? He answered it in positive- “The President of the Indian union will be generally bound by the advice of his ministers. He can do nothing contrary to their advice, nor can he do anything without their advice”.

According to the fathers fetters of the constitution, the President has thus been made a formal or constitutional head of the executive and the real executive powers are vested in the Ministers or the Cabinet.

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Views of the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court had, in a number of decisions, expressly accepted above mentioned position of the President. The court had held in Ram Jaways Vs. Punjab, that our constitution had adopted the English system of a parliamentary executive, that the President was a constitutional head of the executive and that the real power lay in the ministers or the cabinet.

In R.C. Cooper Vs. India, the Supreme Court said: “Under the constitution, the President being the constitutional head, normally acts in all matters including the promulgation of an ordinance on the advice of this council of ministers. In Samsher Singh Vs. Punjab, the Supreme Court stated that President was only a formal head.

The 42nd Amendment:

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The Government of Mrs. Indira Gandhi during the Emergency sought to put the question beyond political controversy, by amending the constitution itself Article 74 (i) was thus substituted by the constitution Forty-second amendment Act, 1976.

“There shall be a council of ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advice the President who shall, in the exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice.”

The 44th Amendment:

The Janata Government made a change by the 44th Amendment Act over the 1976 provision. Now the position is, “There shall be a council of ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advice the President who shall, in the exercise of his functions, Act in accordance with such advice.

Provides that the President may require the council of Ministers to reconsider such advice, either generally or otherwise, and the President shall act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration.”

The working of the constitution since 1950 conclusively established that the President was a figure head while the council of ministers wielded the real executive power.

There was not a single case when the President might have vetoed a Bill passed by the two Houses or refused to accept ministerial advice on any point Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, made the position clear repeatedly by asserting that the responsibility for any policy was entirely that of the Government which was responsible to parliament.

Which in turn was responsible to the people and that the President was a constitutional head who did not oppose or came in the way of anything.

The debates of the constituent Assembly, the way the President has functioned in practice in India, the recognised constitutional practices, views of the Supreme Court and the various provisions of the constitution of India leave absolutely no room for the doubt that the President must necessarily act in accordance with the advice of the council of ministers.

The advice of the council of ministers is binding upon him. Any attempt on the part of the President to disregard the advice of the council of Ministers will be tantamount to the violation of the constitution and will make the President liable to impeachment.

But President enjoys a marginal discretion in certain matters, as for example, appointment of the Prime Minister, or dissolution of the Lok Sabha, or the removal of the council of ministers from office.

As Dr. M.P. Jain observes: “in spite of the amended Article 74 (i); the President will continue to have marginal discretion in these matters although in normal times, he acts on the advice of the Prime Minister even in some of these matters.”

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