The President of India is but a titular head. Nevertheless, he enjoys a vast range of powers and is required to perform a long list of duties and ceremonies. The President has 5 types of powers which are: legislative, executive, military, diplomatic and judicial.
Here’s a look at what these powers are.
1. The President appoints the Prime Minister, Council of Ministers, Supreme Court and High Court Judges, and Governors.
Considered the head of the state, the President is the final authority in making these appointments. The constitution also grants the power of removal of these state authorities to the President.
2. All legislative business commences only after the President’s address to Parliament.
A parliament session opens with the President’s joint address to the two houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. And when the two houses are at loggerheads, the President has the authority to call a joint session to break the impasse.
3. A new state can only be created with the President’s assent.
Since India’s independence in 1947, many new states have been created, boundaries have changed and even names of some states have changed. All this has been done under the powers enjoyed by the President as it is only after his approval that the change comes into effect.
4. All money bills legislated require the President’s assent.
The power of passing budgets, imposing or withdrawing taxes and other bills that involve financial implications don’t become effective unless the President approves and signs the legislation enacted by parliament.
5. The President can return a non-financial bill for reconsideration.
The constitution grants powers to the President to disagree with Parliament over non-financial bills.
To register his disagreement, the President can return the bill to parliament for reconsideration. Should parliament pass the bill for a second time, the President has no choice but to approve and sign it.
The President has no power to block or return a financial bill passed by parliament.
6. The President is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces.
By virtue of this position, it is in name of the President of India that appointments of chiefs of army, air force and navy, and all other designations are made..
7. The President of India has powers to declare war and announce a peace accord.
It is the President who has the power to declare war with another country. Any peace accord arrived at is also done in the name of the President.
8. Ambassadors and High Commissioners stationed in foreign lands represent the President.
It is under the President’s signature that all Ambassadors and High Commissioners take charge of missions and embassies in foreign countries. All treaties and agreements with other nations are also made on behalf of President of India.
9. The President has powers to commute a death sentence into life imprisonment.
The President has powers that can override a judicial verdict where a death sentence has been handed to a person after a fair trial. The President can commute a death sentence it into life imprisonment, when a mercy plea is made to him.
10. The Country’s Finance Commission report is first presented to the President.
Only after that is it presented to the Parliament.
11. The President has powers to declare Emergency in the country.
The threat could be internal security or external dangers, the constitution empowers the President to declare a state of Emergency in the country. In an Emergency, the Fundamental Rights of citizens remain suspended.
12. The President has powers to impose a Financial Emergency in the country.
This power has never been exercised by any President of India but they have the authority to announce stringent fiscal measures for tiding over a looming financial crisis that the nation may be facing.
13. The President can dismiss a duly elected state government.
Upon recommendations of the Prime Minister and his council of ministers, the President can suspend or dismiss an elected state government and impose President’s rule in that state. Under President’s rule, the Governor of the state assumes all executive powers to govern the state on behalf of the President.
14. The President has powers to nominate members to Parliament.
The President can nominate a limited number of eminent people, for a limited term to parliament (Rajya Sabha). This power has been granted to give representation to intellectuals, creative personalities and marginalized sections, who otherwise may never contest or be able to win an election.
15. The President is not bound by a time limit to clear a bill.
The constitution of India does not bind the President by a time limit in which he has to sign a bill passed by a state or central government. She/he can desk veto a bill by sitting on it indefinitely.
16. The President can trash a state legislation without assigning a reason.
No authority, judicial or executive can question the President’s power over it.
17. For the duration of his Presidency, the President enjoys immunity before the courts.
The President is protected by the Constitution from being prosecuted in any court, the matter may be criminal or civilian. No judicial or executive power can order the arrest of the President.