Article 53(1) of the Constitution states:

‘The executive power of the Union shall be vested in the Pr dent and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officer subordinate to him in accord with this Constitution’.

The President is the head of the State and the formal executive. The Minister and the Council of Ministers constitute the real and effective executive, according to Dr. Ambedkar.

Under the constitution the President occupies the same position as the King under the Eng constitution. He is the head of the state but not of the executive. He represents the nation but does rule the nation. He is the symbol of the nation. His place in the administration is that of ceremony device on a seal by which the nation’s decisions are made known.’


Although the Constituent Assembly rejected the presidential form of government, it was emotion opposed to leaving the President as a mere figure head. The status of the President of the Republic France, for instance, projected a gloomy picture. Nehru echoed the sentiment of the assembly when declared that the position of the President of India should be ‘of great authority and dignity.

Thus, in our constitutional system, the President occupies a very special place. Every import authority mentioned in the constitution is directly or indirectly attached to him. The list of powers, the constitution confers upon the President, is long and impressive.

These may be broadly classified under the following categories:

Legislative Powers:


The President of India, like the British and Irish counterparts and unlike President of the USA is an integral part of the national Legislature.

The President has the power to nominate to the Rajya Sabha 12 members who have distinguish: themselves in the field of arts, literature, science, and social service etc. and may nominate 2 An Indians to the House of the People (Lok Sabha) if he thinks the Anglo-Indian community is not prop- represented in that House. He also decides about the disqualification of any member of either on the advice of the Election Commission.

The President, from time to time, summons each House of Parliament to meet at such time place as he thinks fit. But there should not be a gap of more than six months between its last sitting one session and the date fixed for its first sitting in the next session.

The President is empowered prorogue the Houses or either House and to dissolve the Lok Sabha. He can call joint sittings of the Houses to resolve their differences over a non-Money Bill [A. 108 (1)]. He can address both the of Parliament assembled together and either House of the Parliament in regard to any pending bill any other matter.


He addresses both Houses of Parliament assembled together at the first session a’ each general election and at the commencement of the first session of each year and inform Parliament of the cause of its summons (A.87).

As regards legislation, the prior recommendation or previous sanction of President is required introducing a Money Bill [A.117 (1)] and Bills affecting taxation in which States are interested (A.27 Prior recommendation of the Head of the State is also necessary when a bill is to be introduced un A.3 for the formation of new States or alteration of boundaries etc.

All bills after having been passed by both the Houses of Parliament must be presented to President for his assent. Bills become Acts only after receiving the assent of the President (A.111). President may withhold his assent or may return the bill to the Parliament for reconsideration. But if returned bill is passed for a second time by the Parliament with or without amendment, he must give assent.

However, the President cannot withhold his assent from a money bill. Under A. 86(2), the Pr dent has the power to issue ordinances, if Parliament is not in session. However all such ordinances are laid before both Houses of Parliament when they meet in session and will have validity at the expiration of six weeks from the date on which parliament reassembles, unless withdrawn earlier.


Executive Power

The Constitution vests the executive power of the Union in the President. The execution power ‘prim means the execution of the laws enacted by the legislature’ and ‘the power of carrying on the business of government’ or ‘the administration of the affairs of the state.

The President is the chief executive had of the Indian Union. He is the formal head of administration and he shall exercise all the executive powers either directly or through the officers subordinate to him [A. 53(1)] in accordance with the constitution.

This Article further provides that the supreme command of the defence forces shall be vested in the President and the exercise of this power shall be regulated by law. A. 74(1) provides that ‘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.’ Thus the President cannot ever rule the country unaided by a Council of Ministers.


The President as the executive head enjoys vast powers of appointment. He appoints the Prime Minister and according to the latter’s advice, he appoints the other Ministers [A. 75(1)]. If no party has a clear majority in the Parliament (as it happened in 1979,1989,1991,1996 and 1998) and if the leadership is disputed, the President may have the scope for an independent choice of the leader and influencing the inclusion of members in the cabinet. Under such circumstances, the influence of the President will depend upon his personality and his ability to man oeuvre things.

All other appointments, including those of Judges of the Supreme Court are made by the President. As a President he can also remove the various dignitaries from office.

Under Article 78, the President has a right to be kept informed by the Prime Minister of all decisions taken by the Council of Ministers and seeks such other information about the affairs of the Government of India as he may consider necessary.

The Article further provides that the Head of the State may also ask the Prime Minister to submit for the consideration of the Council of Ministers any matter on which a decision had been taken by a Minister but which has not been considered by the Council.


Financial Powers

The President has vast financial powers. Before the beginning of a financial year, he causes to be laid before Parliament the annual budget and the supplementary budget, if any. No money bill, particularly no bill proposing imposition of new taxes or changes in the existing taxes, in which the States are interested, can be introduced in the Lok Sabha without the prior recommendation of the President.

He distributes the share of all income tax receipts between the Centre and States and allocates to the State of Assam, West Bengal, and Bihar and Orissa grants-in-aid in lieu of their shares in export duty on jute. He appoints Finance Commission to make recommendations regarding financial relations between the Union and the States.

Judicial Powers

Under Art. 72 the Head of the State is vested with power to grant pardon, reprieve, respite or remission of punishment. He can also suspend, remit or commute a sentence of any person convicted of an offence – (a) in all cases of punishment by a Court of Martial; (b) in all cases where the punishment is for an offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the Union extends; or (c) in all cases of sentence of death. In December 1988, the President dismissed the petition of Kehar Singh convicted in Indira Gandhi murder case.

The President can refer any matter of constitutional law to the Supreme Court for advice (A. 143). The advice of the Supreme Court, however, is not binding upon him.

Emergency Powers

The Constitution confers vast emergency powers upon the President unparalleled in the history of world constitutions. The Constitution envisages three kinds of emergencies, namely,

(1) Emergency arising out of war, external aggression or armed rebellion (Article 352)

(2) Emergency arising out of the failure of constitutional machinery in the states (Article 356)

(3) Financial emergency (Article 360)