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Indian Polity / Union Executive

Powers and Functions of President of India

The powers and functions of President of India include Executive, Legislative, Judicial, Military, Financial, Diplomatic as well as Emergency powers.

Executive Powers of President of India

According to Article 53, President is the head of the Union Executive. So, he exercises all the powers of the Executive. As head of the country, all the appointments that are given, are made in the name of the President from the Prime minister down to a common attender under Government of India.

Powers of President of India

Legislative Powers of President of India

  • Article 79 of the Constitution says that the President of India is part of the Parliament, but at the same time he is not one of the members of the Parliament.

    That is, the President starts and concludes all the legislative business of the Parliament. He convenes (summons) the sessions of the Parliament. President prorogues the Parliament.

  • President of India addresses joint session of the Parliament generally during the Budget session of every year and during the beginning of newly elected Lok Sabha.

    During the Budget session, he delivers a speech that is prepared by the Cabinet regarding the programmes and policies of the Government for the ensuring year.

    At the end of his speech, there will be 'Motion of Thanks' by both the Houses separately moved by the ruling party MPs and it is being subjected to voting. If the 'Motion of Thanks' is not passed, the Government has to step down.

  • President of India can convey or send opinions and messages to the Houses on a bill or on the nature of proceedings.

  • A Bill becomes an Act only after getting the assent of the President of India.

  • President dissolves the Lok Sabha on the recommendation of Council of Ministers.

  • President nominates not more than two Anglo-Indians to Lok Sabha and 12 members to Rajya Sabha.

  • President of India promulgates Ordinances under Article 123 when both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha are not in session. Ordinance is a kind of temporary law. The Ordinance thus promulgated by President, must be approved within 6 weeks after the Parliament reassembles.

    So, the maximum duration of Ordinance being not approved by the Parliament is 6 months and 6 weeks only as the maximum gap between two sessions of Parliament is 6 months. Once it is approved by the Parliament, it becomes an ordinary law.

    President cannot give Ordinance for Amendment of the Constitution. He can repeal the Ordinance at any time. It is a non-discretionary power of the President. He has to act according to the decision of the Cabinet.

  • President of India causes reports of CAG, UPSC, Finance Commission, SC Commission, ST Commission to be laid before the Parliament.

Financial Powers of President of India

No tax can be levied or collected and no money bills shall be introduced in the Lok Sabha without the prior permission of the President. Moreover, President controls and regulates the Contingency Fund and Public Fund of India.

Judicial Powers of the President

Article 72 talks about Judicial power of the President. Including death penalty, he can Pardon any sentence given by the court. President can Remit (reduce) the sentence without changing the nature of the sentence.

He can Commute (change) the sentence, that is he can change the nature of the sentence without changing the length.

He can Reprieve (postpone), that is he can postpone the execution of sentence. President can Respite (relief) the sentence. That is relief is given to the convicted on extra-ordinary situation.

They are all non-discretionary powers. They are given on the advice of the Council of Ministers. The main intention of such power of the President is to set right the possible Judicial errors if any.

Military Powers of President of India

Article 53 says that the President is the supreme commander of the Armed forces or Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces. He can announce war and conclude peace on the advice of the Council of Ministers.

Diplomatic Powers of President of India

President appoints diplomats, ambassadors and high-commissioners to different countries in the world. The diplomats, who are appointed by various countries, have to produce their credentials (joining report) to the President.

Emergency Powers of President of India

Articles 352 to 360 talk about Emergency powers of the President. He can impose 3 types of Emergencies namely, the National Emergency, the Constitutional Emergency and the Financial Emergency.