Powers and Functions of President of India

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The powers of the President are given in various parts of the constitution and there are more than 100 articles and three schedules which either wholly or partially deal with them. The President of India exercises most of his powers through his Council of Ministers and in consultations with it. The 42nd amendment has made it mandatory for the president to act in accordance with the advice of the Council of Ministers.

The powers and functions of president of india can be divided into the following headings:

1. Executive powers

2. Legislative powers

3. Financial powers

4. Judicial powers

5. Discretionary powers

6. Emergency powers

These powers and functions of president of india are explained below :

Powers and Functions of President of India

1. Executive Powers

Article 53 makes the provision that “The executive powers of the union shall be vested in the President and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the constitution”.

a) Powers related to the Council of Ministers – 

The president appoints the Prime Minister and other ministers on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, distributes the portfolios among the ministers and reshuffles them, can dismiss a minister. But, all these powers are exercised by him on the advice of the Prime Minister.

b) Military Powers –

The president is the supreme commander of the armed forces and as such appoints the top officers of the armed forces. He can declare war and peace and is the chairman of the National Defence Council(NDC).

c) Control over Appointments –

The president makes all the high appointments such as State Governors, Chief Justice and other judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, member of the Union and joint Public Service Commission, Attorney General, Election Commissioner, etc.

d) Administrative Powers –

The entire administration of the country is carried on in his name by the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers of all the administrative decisions. He makes rules to conduct the business of the government.

e) Diplomatic Powers –

The president appoints the ambassadors and envoys to other countries and receives the diplomatic representatives of other states. He represents the nation in the international spare and maintains foreign relations.

f) Administration of Union Territories –

The president appoints the  LT. Governor and Chief Commissioners to run the administration of the Union Territories. He also makes rules for the maintenance of law and order in these territories.

2. Legislative Powers –

According to Article – 79 of the constitution, the president is a part of the parliament and wields the following legislative powers –

a) To convene and prorogue the sessions of the Parliament –

The president is empowered to convene the sessions of the Parliament. It is required of him that while summoning the sessions, he shall see to it that the intervening period between two sessions is not more than 6 months. He can convene a joint session of both the houses of parliament.

b) To inaugurated the Parliament –

The president inaugurated the first session of the Parliament after a general election and the first annual sessions every year. The president addresses the inaugural session of Parliament and this address contains the policies and programs of the government that will be taken up by it in the coming year.

c) To address and send message to the Parliament –

The president can address both the houses of parliament in their separate or joint sessions. He can also send messages to the Parliament from time to time asking it to consider certain matters pending with it.

d) To convene the joint meetings of both the houses –

The president convenes a joint sitting of both the houses to resolve the deadlock between both of the houses.

e) Nomination of the members in the Council of states and House of People – 

The president nominates 12 members to the Rajya Sabha from among persons who have rendered services in the field of art, science, literature or social service.

He can nominate 2 persons from the Anglo-Indian community in the Lok Sabha if in his opinion the community has failed to get adequate representation in that house. 

f) To dissolve the Lok Sabha –

Under Article 83(2) the president can dissolve the house of people even before the expiry of its term as it was dissolved in 1970,1979,1991,1997 and 1999.

g) To issue Ordinances – 

When the parliament is not in session and the country needs the passing of a law, then the president under Article-123 can issue ordinances. These ordinances have the same authority as that of the laws passed by the parliament.

3. Financial Powers –

a) To get the Money Bill Introduced –

The president is required to get the money bill introduced in the Parliament for its approval. No money bill can be introduced in the Lok Sabha without the recommendation of the president.

b) Control over Contingency Fund –

The Contingency Fund of India is at his disposal and he can make advances out of it to meet unforeseen expenditure.

c) Appointment of Finance Commission –

The president after every five years appoints the member of the finance commission to make recommendations regarding the distribution of proceeds of certain taxes between the Union and the states.

d) Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India –

He gets the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India laid before the parliament.

Powers and Functions of President of India

powers and functions of president of india
Powers and Functions of President of India

 4. Judicial Powers –

1. He appoints the judges of the supreme court and high court and removes them after the resolution of impeachment against them is passed by the parliament.

2. He grants pardon where punishment is awarded by the court-martial.

3. He can grant pardon in respect of all offences against Union laws.

4. He exercises his power over all cases of the death sentence.

5. Discretionary Powers –

Following are the discretionary powers and functions of president of india –

1. The president can get information about the decisions and discussions of the cabinet.

2. The president can give his advice to the Prime Minister on important matters, to accept or not to accept, it up to the Prime Minister.

3. The president can ask the cabinet to reconsider the advice given to him.

4. Apart from the money bill, the president can withhold his approval over all other bills passed by the parliament but in case the same bill is passed by the Parliament then the president is bound to give his approval.

5. In case of no political party enjoying majority vote in the Lok Sabha then the president can exercise his discretion in the appointment of the Prime Minister. He sees that which person or an alliance is in a position to enjoy majority support in the Lok Sabha and appoints him the Prime Minister and can ask him to prove majority support on the floor of the Lok Sabha within a specific period of time.

6. Emergency Powers of the President –

The constitution makes provision 3 Types of emergency – 

 1. National Emergency

 2. Constitutional Emergency

 3. Financial Emergency

1. National Emergency, Article-352

According to Article-352 of the Indian Constitution, if the president is satisfied that a serious situation has arisen due to war, external aggression or armed rebellion or internal disturbance and if the security of India or a part thereof threatened due to these reasons, the president can declare emergency on the return request of the Union Council of Ministers.

Approval of Parliament over the Proclamation of Emergency –

The proclamation of emergency must be approved by the Parliament by two-third majority of its members present and voting and majority of total members within a period of 1 month.

Tenure of Emergency –

The proclamation of emergency remains in force for six months after receiving the approval of the Parliament, which he can for extend for another 6 months and so on.

Effects of this Emergency –

a) India gets transformed into a unitary state.

b) The parliament is empowered to legislate on the subjects included in the state list.

c) The president can redistribute the financial resources between the centre and the states.

d) The freedoms granted by Article-19 gets suspended.

e) The president can suspend other rights contained in the list of fundamental rights by issuing a separate proclamation under Article-359 but Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article-21 cannot be suspended.

2. Constitutional Emergency, Article-356

Condition necessary to declare Constitutional Emergency –

If the president, either on the report of governor or on the basis of his own information, is satisfied that the constitutional machinery in the state has broken down, he may invoke Article-356 of the constitution and declared as state emergency in the state. Till date, the constitutional emergency has been imposed in different states for  112 times.

Approval of Parliament over the Proclamation of Emergency –

It is necessary to obtain the approval of the Parliament over the proclamation of emergency within a period of 2 months.

Tenure of Emergency –

The 44th Amendment provides that the proclamation shall remain in force for six months at a time and can be extended for another 6 months after obtaining the approval of the Parliament.

Effect of this Emergency –

a) The president can assume all or any of the executive powers of the state.

b) The Legislative Assembly of the state is either dissolved or suspended.

c) Parliament can make laws on any item of the state list for that state.

d) The Parliament approve the annual budget of that state.

e) The Council of Ministers of the states is dissolved.

f) The president gets empowered to make any provision to confer special duties on the public servants of that state to give effect to the objects of the proclamation

3. Financial Emergency, Article-360

Article-360 of the Indian constitution empowers the President to proclaim financial emergency if he is satisfied that a situation has arisen whereby the financial stability or the credit of India is threatened.

Approval of Parliament over the Proclamation –

The approval of the Parliament shall be obtained within a period of 2 months and if approved it can remain in operation for an indefinite period of time.

Effects of this Emergency –

a) The president can lay down canons for the states to be followed in respect of the exercise of these powers.

b) He can order for the reduction of salaries and allowances of all government servants.

c) The president may make it obligatory for the state to present the state money bills for his assent.

d) He can adopt any measures for the restoration of financial stability as he may deem fit.

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