We often read in news about President of India (POI), but we don’t know that what really Constitution of India (COI) says about it, what is the history behind the creation of this post. So in this article, we will try to find out the answers to all these questions.

First of all, let us understand why there is a post of president in India.

A) History

As we all know that India was ruled by Britain for so long and the effect of that can be seen in present India. Our education system, constitution, laws, political system etc are highly influenced by the Britishers. So when the constituent assembly was discussing which type of democratic government India should go with the majority goes with the parliamentary system. One of the reasons for opting parliamentary system was that the Britishers follow the same system in Britain and also applied that to British India and we were familiar with such type of system. In Britain the head of state would be from the royal family i.e. King or Queen, it is hierarchical. But in case of India, the constituent assembly didn’t want that the head of state would be hierarchical because they want India to be a republic country and because of that they replaced the position of king or queen in British parliament to the post of president in Indian parliamentary and as India is a republic country the president should be elected. As we have understood the history behind the post of president, now let us look at the constitutional provisions regarding POI.

B) Constitution and POI

In part 5 of the Indian Constitution from Article 52 to 78 deals with the Union executive and as the POI is an executive post so it is described under this part of the Constitution.

  • Article 52 states that there shall be a President of India.
  • Article 53 deals with the executive powers of POI ( president shall exercise these powers directly or indirectly)
  • Article 54 deals with the election of POI.

Now let us understand the process of election of POI

The POI is elected by members of the electoral college (who are the representatives of the people of India) and not directly by the people.

The electoral college of POI constitutes-

  • Elected members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha (MPs)
  • Elected members of the legislative assembly of the state (MLAs) {legislative councils are excluded from the electoral college of POI}.
  • Elected members of the legislative assembly of the Union Territory of Delhi and Puducherry.

Only elected members are included in the electoral college and nominated ones are excluded.

As the POI is the head of the state its election cannot be delayed. We can’t delay the POI’s election for the legislative assembly’s election.

There is a huge difference between the election process of POI and general elections. In the election of POI, the value of one vote differ for MLA to MLA depending upon the population of the state which he/she represents.

Value of the vote of an MLA –Value of the vote of an MLAValue of the vote of an MP –

Value of the vote of an MP

The election of POI is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.

In the election of POI, a candidate need to secure a fixed quota of votes

Electoral quota

In the voting process, each member of the electoral college is given one ballot paper. The voter, while casting his vote, is required to indicate his preference by marking 1, 2, 3, 4 etc in front of the names of the candidates.

In first-round, first preference votes are counted. If a candidate secures the fixed quota then he is declared elected otherwise counting of votes will go into 2nd round. The candidate with the least number of votes is disqualified and the 2nd preference votes in his ballots are transferred to the respective candidates. This process continues until a candidate secures the required quota.

All the decisions regarding the doubts and disputes in the POI’s election are inquired and decided by the Supreme court of India.

Now questions arise that why the POI is elected by means of indirect election and not directly by the citizens of India? And why can’t only the MPs elect the POI as the MPs represent the people of India? Why there is a need to include legislative assemblies to the electoral college?

The answers to this question is that

  • As the POI is only a nominal executive and the real power is vested in the hands of Council of ministers headed by PM. And it would anomalous to have an elected president and not give him real powers.
  • The direct election of POI would have been very costly and time-consuming due to a vast number of the electorate. This is not justified keeping in view that he is only a symbolic head.
  • Legislative assemblies of the states are included in the electoral college so that the political dominance of a party in parliament can’t be reflected in POI’s election
  • POI is head of the state (India) so in his election state representation is a must.

Qualifications for election as president

  • He should be a citizen of India
  • Minimum age – 35 years
  • Candidate should be eligible for lok sabha’s election.
  • Should not hold any office of profile

Term of president’s office – 5 years

President is the head of state so in case if he wants to resign the to whom he gave his resignation?

He will give his resignation to vice president

How the vacancy is created in the President’s office?

  • On the expiry of his tenure of 5 years
  • By resignation
  • Through impeachment
  • By his death
  • When the supreme court declares the election of POI void.

Now let us understand that what is Impeachment of President means?

As we already know that the POI is head of the state it means that POI is the highest post in India and because of that he can not be removed by some have a lower post. He cannot be removed but can be impeached.

In impeachment, a resolution is passed in either the house of parliament. A 14 days notice should be given to the president. For the impeachment resolution to be passed a majority of two-thirds of the total membership of that house is required. After the resolution is passed then it is sent to another house which acts as an investigating house and when the investigating house also passes the resolution from two-third of the total membership then the President stands removed from his office from the when the resolution is passed.

Power and the function of the president

POI enjoys the following powers

1. Executive powers

  • Appoints PM and other ministers
  • Appoint attorney general of India
  • Appoints comptroller and auditor general of India, Chief election commissioner etc.
  • Appoints commissions to investigate into conditions of SCs, STs and OBCs.
  • Appoint interstate council
  • Can declare any area as scheduled area & has power with respect to administration of scheduled areas and tribal areas.

2. Legislative Power

  • He summons or prorogue the parliament and dissolve the lok sabha.
  • He can summon joint sitting of both the houses which is presided by the speaker of lok Sabha
  • He nominates 12 members of Rajya sabha and 2 members of Lok Sabha ( from Anglo Indian community).
  • His recommendation is needed to introduce certain types of bills.

3. Financial Powers

  • Money bills can be introduced in the parliament only with his prior recommendation

4. Judicial Powers

  • He appoints chief justice and the judge of supreme courts.
  • He has pardoning powers (article 72) – pardon, commutation, remission, respite, a reprieve.

5. Diplomatic Powers

6. Military Powers

  • He is the supreme commander of defense forces of India.

7. Emergency Powers

  • National emergency (article 352)
  • President’s rule (article 356 & 365)
  • Financial emergency (article 360)

Veto Powers

Article 111 of the constitution deals with the 3 vetoes of president

  • Absolute veto
  • Suspensive veto
  • Pocket veto

The ordinance making power of president article 123 of the Indian Constitution.

Here is the list of all the 14 Presidents of India


SRNameTenureRemark
1.Dr. Rajendra Prasad26 January 1950 to 12 May 1962First president, longest tenure (12 years)
2.S. Radhakrishnan13 May 1962 to13 May 1967He was the first President from South India. Teacher’s day is celebrated on 5 Sept. to honor his birthday.
3.Dr. Zakir Hussain13 May 1967 to 3 May 1969President with the shortest tenure, first Muslim president to die in harness
4.Varahagiri Venkata Giri3 May 1969 to 20 July 1969First acting president of India
 Mohammad Hidayatullah20 July 1969 to 24 August 1969Served as the Chief Justice of India, and was a recipient of the Order of the British Empire.
 Varahagiri Venkata Giri24 August 1969  to 24 August 1974Giri is the only person to have served as both an acting president and president of India.
5.Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed24 August 1974    to 11 February 1977second Indian president to die in office.
 Basappa Danappa Jatti11 February 1977 to 25 July 1977Served as acting President of India upon Ahmed’s death
6.Neelam Sanjiva Reddy25 July 1977 to 25 July 1982 Youngest to become president (64 yr), the first president who did not become vice -president
7.Giani Zail Singh25 July 1982 to 25 July 1987First Sikh President
8.Ramaswamy Venkataraman25 July to 1987    25 July 1992Oldest to become President (76 yr)
9.Shankar Dayal Sharma25 July 1992 to 25 July 1997Sharma was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
10.Kocheril Raman Narayanan25 July 1997 to 25 July 2002He was the first President from Kerala, and also the first Dalit President.
11.A. P. J. Abdul Kalam25 July 2002 to 25 July 2007He was the first bachelor/Scientist President of India and the first Muslim President who completed his term.
12.Pratibha Patil25 July 2007 to 25 July 2012the first woman to become the President of India.
13.Pranab Mukherjee From 5 July 2012 to 25 July 2017Served as the Foreign Minister, Defence Minister and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.
14.Ram Nath Kovind25 July 2017–Incumbent 14th President of India

Article Provided By Narendra Sain

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