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President: A Titular Head?

April 6, 2015 by admin Leave a Comment

- Abhishek Kumar, CNLU
The Preamble of our Constitution clearly articulates India as a republic. Being a republic
there is no hereditary monarch but the President, as the head of the State. The President is
not directly elected but indirectly. The election is carried out by an electoral college,
consisting of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament and the State Legislative
Assemblies, in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of
single transferable vote by secret ballot. The office of the President of India is created by
Article 52 of the Constitution. The Indian Constitution has only two vesting clauses i.e.
Article 53 and Article 154. This project is concerned about Article 53 which clearly states
that the executive power of the Union shall be vested in the President[i] which
means that the Parliament has power to confer only the functions of the President on any
other authorities and not the powers.
Concentration of powers leads to loss of individual freedom. Power corrupts and
absolute power corrupts absolutely unless there is check on it. The theory has its root in
the philosophy of Aristotle, which found an elaboration in the writings of Lord
Montesquieu in the eighteenth century. Aristotledivided the governmental function into
deliberative, magisterial and judicial although he did notconsider any need for separation
of personnel. Jean Bodin sees the importance of separating theexecutive and judicial
powers. John Locke was one of the eighteenth century philosophers to paygreater
attention to the problem of concentration of governmental power. He argued that
theexecutive and legislative powers should be separate for the sake of liberty. Liberty
suffers whenthe same human being makes the law and executes them. Lord Montesquieu
in his famous workThe Spirit of the Laws(1748) gave the idea of separation of powers.
[ii][iii] Montesquieu quoted in his book that:

When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the
same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty. . . . Again, there is no liberty, if the
judiciary power be not separated from the legislative and executive. Were it joined with
the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control;
for the judge would then be the legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the
judge might behave with violence and oppression. There would be an end to
everything, where the same man, or the same body, whether of the nobles or of the

people, to exercise those three powers, that of enacting laws, that of executing the
public resolutions, and of trying the causes of individuals.[iv]
Before going further, let us see what made Lord Montesquieu to go for this novel idea.
During his days the Bouborne monarch in France had established despotism and the
people enjoyed no freedom. The monarch was the chief law giver, executor and
adjudicator. The statement by Louis XIV that, I am the State clearly outlined the
character and nature of monarchial authority. Lord Montesquieu, a great advocate of
human dignity, developed this theory as the weapon to uphold the liberty of the people.
He believed that the application of this theory would prevent the overgrowth of a
particular organ which spells danger for political liberty.[v]
There are two models of the separation of power theory. The first one is the Water tight
model. This model says that there should be three branches of government and they
should be free in their own sphere. But it is as one of the writers rightly said, theoretically
absurdity and practically impossibility. Then comes the Check and balance model. The
main objective of the latter model is to check the exercise of power, maintain balance of
power and the last but not the least to restore the power, if it is abused.Unity of power is
just the anti-thesis of political liberty. So, there is the need for the separation of power.
Moderate government is a free government. Thus, separation of power is a check
againstroyal despotism and legislative despotism. The crux of the problem of modern
government is to find a synthesis combining the answer to two needs, the need for the
welfare of the State and the need for the freedom of the people. The welfare State
assumes concentration of power on theexecutive level and consequently supremacy of the
executive over the legislative branch.
Our main concern is not only to study the separation of powers as a whole but to go to the
micro level of it (only Executive). The executive is the primary and prominent organ of
the government in terms of its importance. Executive has been the manifestation of
government. It has been performing its functions of executing the laws made by the
legislature and also implementing the policies of the state. The efficiency of the
government depends on the effective implementation of its policies by the executive. It is
the pivot round which actual administration of the state resolves and includes all officials
engaged in administration. However, it is customary to use the term executive in its
narrow sense, which refers only to the chief executive head of the state and his advisors
and ministers.[vi]

Before independence, the functions of the head of the State in India were performed by
the Governor-General, who represented the Crown and ruled in the name of His or Her
Majesty. The Government of India Act, 1935 also laid down that the executive authority
of the centre would vest in the Governor-General.[vii] But after independence the
question arose that in the rapidly moving world of the mid-twentieth century, to who was
the leadership task to be given? What type of executive would be stable, strong, effective
and quick, yet withal, democratic? This became the moot question, because the aim was
to build a new India overnight and create a new unity by breaking down the old loyalties
that had fragmented and compartmentalized Indian lifethe Indian Constitution.[viii]
The Constituent Assembly looked for 3 models viz. the American Presidential system, the
Swiss elected executive and British cabinet government and came up with the Advanced
Presidential model unconsciously. The whole idea was to provide, a sort of Privy Council
whose advice shall be available to the President whenever he chooses to obtain it in all
matters of national importance in which he is required to act in his discretion.[ix] Article
74(1) of our Constitution had provided that there shall be a Council of Ministers with
the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advice the President in the exercise of his
functions. In the context of the Hindu Code Bill, President Rajendra Prasad contended
that he could withhold assent from Bills that did not meet with his approval. But Attorney
General MotilalSetalvadadvised Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that by Article 74(1)
the President is required to Act in all matters with the aid and advice of his Council of
Ministers. The first President of India shook his head and grumbled (as he gave in)
saying: this is not the way we framed the Constitution. But twenty-five years later,
during the Internal Emergency of June 1975, the language of Article 74(1) was altered
and made even more absolute. There was a debate on whether the President should act in
accordance with the advice of the Council of Ministers. The Supreme Court and Pt.
Nehru were in support. On the other hand, those who opposed were Dr. Rajendra Prasad,
K.N.Munshi, Justice P.B. Mukherjee of Calcutta High Court and Chief Justice K.
SubbaRao. But finally in 1976, it was decided that the President has to act in accordance
with the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. The Constitution 42nd Amendment
Act, 1976 provided that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at
the head to aid and advise the President who shall, in the exercise of his functions, act in
accordance with such advice. That is how the rubber stamp-theory gained currency. But
then, in the euphoric post-Emergency period when the Janata Government was in power,
Parliament inserted a proviso to Article 74(1) which read, provided that the President
may require the Council of Ministers to reconsider such advice, either generally or
otherwise and the President shall act in accordance with the advice tendered after such
reconsideration. This proviso has given the President of India more elbowroom to
intervene in affairs of State the power, which the British Monarch, a Constitutional
head of State, also exercises, and that is the power to caution and to warn. The
Constitution of India 1950 as it now stands (post 1978) no longer envisages a mere cipher
or figurehead as President.[x]

Many times in the past controversies have arisen regarding the constitutional position of
the President but each time it ended in confirming that the President is a constitutional
head. The first controversy was within a few months of Constitution of India coming into
operation, when President Dr. Rajendra Prasad, expressed the desire to act solely on his
own judgment, independently of the Council of Ministers in the matters of giving assent
to the Bill and sending massages to the Parliament, in a note to Prime Minister Nehru.
This view was not a mere desire but it was based on the literal reading of the Constitution
of India.[xi]
Pt. Nehru consulted the then Attorney General Mr. Setalvad and Ayyar, who was a
member of the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly, on the relationship of
President and Prime Minister. Mr. Setalvad chose to please Pt. Nehru and held that
President is a big zero. The disagreement arose again in 1960, on November 28, while
laying the foundation stone of the Indian law Institute. President Prasad said that it was
generally believed that like the sovereign of Great Britain, the President of India was also
a Constitutional head and had to act only according to the advice of the Council of
Ministers. The same controversy again arose in 1967 and 1969. In 1976, the position was
quite clear, in the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution. Act. 74(1) was amended so as to
state explicitly that the President shall act in accordance with the advice of the ministers
in the exercise of his functions.[xii]


The real position of the President of India is clouded with different suspects. Some of the
constitutionalists demanded the President as a mere figure head, titular head, rubber
stamp or golden zero. There are many causes to call the President. The reasons mentioned
below give a sufficient idea regarding the notion.
The first cause may be that the President is the head of the State, not of the Government.
Secondly, India does not have Presidential form of Government. Thirdly, British tradition
still prevails in our constitution. The last but not the least is that the President works on
the advice of the Ministry.
The President of India does not only have the power to sign on the dotted lines but also
has other powers laid down in the Constitution of India, which clearly show the position
of the President. The powers that the President possesses are mentioned below.
The President is the chief of the union executive. Under Article 53(1), all executive
power of the union is vested in him. The power is exercised either directly or indirectly
through officers subordinate to him.

1. Appointment
The laws passed by the Parliament are executed by him. The President appoints the Prime
Minister, the Judges of Supreme Court and High Court and the high officials like C.A.G.,
Election Commissioners, Member of U.P.S.C, Governors of different states etc.

1. Removal of Members of the Executive

The President can remove any minister from the Council of ministers of the Parliament,
the Governor of any state, the judges of the Supreme Court, High Courts, Election
Commissioners, the members of the U.P.S.C.
iii. Determination of the National Policy
The executive powers are exercised by the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime
Minister directly but the decisions are intimated to the President by the Prime Minister. If
the President is not satisfied with the decision of the Council of Ministers then he may
return the proposal for the reconsideration by the Cabinet.
The President is the supreme commander-in-chief of the defense force. It is his duty to
refrain the state from foreign aggression. He is authorized to extend the foreign
relationship and to sign the treaties with different sovereign states.
The President is the head to maintain foreign relations. The negotiation of all treaties and
agreements are made in the name of the President. He accredits the ambassadors and
envoys to foreign States and accepts the letters of credence of the foreign diplomatic
The President is the constituent part of the parliament and wields extensive legislative
power. He has the following legislative powers: Power to summon the session of the
Parliament,[xiii]Power to prorogue or end the sessions, sending message to the
Parliament, power to nominate the members of the Parliament,[xiv] power to assent bills.

The President has power to proclaim an ordinance.[xvi] Ordinance is an act of

legislation in the absence of the Legislature, promulgated by the President, to meet the
emergency. An ordinance has the same force as an Act of Parliament. Its life span is 6
months and 6 weeks. If it gets the approval of the Parliament, it becomes an Act. It can be
withdrawn by the President.
Introduction of the budget, levy of taxes, power to assent the financial bills, power to
constitute Finance Commission, presentation of audit report etc. are some of the financial
powers of the President. The President also has the contingency fund at his disposal.[xvii]
The President enjoys some of the judicial powers which include power to pardon,
reprieve, respite, remit, suspend and commute sentences of convicted persons.[xviii] The
Supreme Court inKeher Singh v. Union of India said that the pardoning power is an act
which is done under Constitutional scheme. It further said that it should be compared
with the American President who acts on his own and not like the crown in United
Kingdom, where it acts on the ministerial advice.[xix] The President has also the power
to consult the judges of the Supreme Court.[xx] He can exercise this power in relation to
any matter which of public importance or which according to him is of public
importance. This is just to enable the President to seek the opinion regarding the validity
of any act of the Government and the aid or advice tendered to him by them.


The President attends the Republic day. He receives the ambassadors and extends the
foreign relationship through negotiation.
Apart from normal powers, financial powers, emergency powers, ceremonial powers and
judicial powers the President enjoys discretionary powers also.[xxi] The authority and
status of the President depends upon the powers he can exercise and the functions he can
perform under and within the express provisions of the Constitution and not by what is
now practiced by the President. We cannot say that President is a figure head.
Secondly, the position of the President is clearly reflected from the oath and affirmation
by the President. Every President and every person acting as President or discharging the
functions of the President shall, before entering upon his office, make and subscribe in
the presence of the Chief Justice of India or, in his absence, the senior most of the

Supreme Court available, say, I, [name], do swear in the name of God (or solemnly
affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President (or discharge the functions of
the President) of the Republic of India, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect
and defend the Constitution and the law, and that I will devote myself to the service and
well-being of the people of Republic of India.
The words preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law stated in the oath
clearly define the position of the President. The preserver, protector and defender of the
Constitution cannot be a mere figure head.
Further it is stated that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of
Republic of India. But how can a person who is dependent upon the Council of
Ministers, devote himself?
Thirdly,according to Article 53 (1) of the Constitution of India, the executive power 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 this Constitution.
In other words, the President can exercise his functions directly without the advice of the
council of ministers or others, which is otherwise known as discretionary power. The
President can appoint the Prime Minister and he can dissolve the LokSabha without the
suggestion of the Prime Minister[xxii] in the following four cases viz.

When the Prime-minister loses his majority in the house,

When he is unable to prove his majority,
When the vote of no-confidence is passed against him,
When he is not facing the Parliament, but the Parliament has a proof that the
ruling party has no majority in the house.[xxiii]

Sir B.N. Rau, a member of the Drafting Committee, in his book has rightly stated that:

Even if in any particular instance the President acts otherwise than on the ministerial
advice the validity of the act cannot be questioned in any Court on any ground.[xxiv]
It makes clear that even the advice in performing functions is unconstitutional. Then it is
not binding on the President.
Therefore, it is clear that the President is independent in performing his functions. Further
going ahead according to the constitution the cabinet will hold office only during the
pleasure of the office Moreover, the court also Dinesh Chandra v. ChoudhariCharan
Singh,[xxv]held that to argue pleasure could be interpreted in Art.75(2) to mean the
President can dismiss any minister at any time, at his will. Further, the Supreme Court in
S.P. Anandv. H.D. Devegowda,held that, it could then be said that, since ministers also

include Prime Minister, the President can dismiss Prime Minister at his will. So, the
President cannot be called as a mere head.
As per Article 74 the aid and advice is limited only to the exercise of functions by the
President. Power means the ability to affect others and function means the things to
be done. Power comes with the discretion. But so far as the function is concerned there is
no such question of discretion. The aid and advice given by the council cannot go to the
extent to decide the way the President is going to exercise his powers. He is only bound
by the mandates of the Constitution. And no advice of the Council shall be binding on the
President, which is unconstitutional.
At lastbut not the least, the President can only be impeached on one ground i.e. when he
acts unconstitutionally. The Procedure for it is also very difficult.[xxvi] Two-third
majorities of both houses of total membership of Parliament are required to impeach him.
Investigation is also conducted. Fourteen days notice is also given to him. It is a feature
of Indian Constitution, which is unique in nature. It shows that the President cannot act
unconstitutionally and arbitrarily. The question here is if the President has no role to play
then why should he be impeached? If the President is not responsible to preserve, protect
and defend the Constitution and his only job is to sign the bill, how can he be impeached
for signing an illegal Bill, which is sent by the Parliament?

It is often said that the Prime Minister is the real and the President is the constitutional
head. Some argue that the Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party in the lower
house of the Parliament or leader of the coalition government. So, he is more powerful
than the President. But it is at the same time it is true that the President is the
representative of both the houses and the State legislatures. So, constitutionally the
President is more powerful due to his large representative character.

The President enjoys the power to return a bill unsigned but the constitution limits the
power to send it back only once for reconsideration. If the Parliament sends back the bill
with or without changes, the President has to sign it. However, deliberately or
inadvertently, the constitution does not set a time-limit within which the President is
obliged to approve the bill, so he may withhold assent indefinitely. This has come to be
known in legal and constitutional circles as the Pocket Veto, and has been used on a
number of occasions against controversial Bills.
Former President GianiZail Singh withheld assent to a Bill passed by Parliament that
gave sweeping powers to the State to intercept mail. This was considered by the President

to be an encroachment on citizens freedom of speech and liberty as guaranteed by the

Constitution. He was about to dismiss the government of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi because of the
reason that the Prime minister of that government had failed to give the information to
the President.
Former President Venkataraman withheld assent to a Bill passed by the outgoing
Parliament that gave pension benefits to its members. This was interpreted by the
President to be self-aggrandizement.
In 1997, in Uttar Pradesh one of the coalition parties had withdrawn its support from the
government. Then, some other members of Assembly who were not supporters of the
government supported it. The Chief Minister claimed majority. After some violent
incidents the Chief Minister proved the majority. But the Governor sent a report stating
the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the
Constitution and requested for application of Art.356. The Council of ministers also gave
advice to the President to dismiss the government but the President refused to do so,
stating that the government is constitutionally valid.
Former President K. Narayanan introduced the important practice of explaining to the
nation the thinking that led to the various decisions he took while exercising his
discretionary powers; thishas led to openness and transparency in the functioning of the
Former President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam sent back a controversial bill regarding enlarging
the scope of the offices of profit, which disqualified a person from being a member of
The Parliamentary elections, since the nineties, have generally not resulted in a single
party or group of parties having a distinct majority. In such cases, Presidents have used
his discretionarypower and invited the Prime Ministerial aspirants to form the
In this chapter, the status of the Indian President is discussed and compared with
President of America and the Crown of England.
In America there is a Presidential form of government. All executive powers are vested in
the President.[xxvii] He is indirectly elected by the people for four years. But he cannot
hold the office for more than eight years. He is free to appoint the secretaries of different
departments; he can also remove them on his own, at any time without consulting any

In America, separation of power is also there between the executive, legislature and
judiciary. The power is enjoyed by the organs in their own spheres with checks and
balances. The legislature can bring indirect pressure on the executive through its power to
levy taxes, to make appropriation of governmental expenses, to enact legislations, to
investigate executive work and polices through its committees and the senates power is
to confirm treaties and appointments. But it does not mean that the President has no
powers or has fewer powers. He can withhold his assent from a bill passed by the
legislature. In America the President has no power to dissolve the legislature i.e. the
Congress.[xxviii] Constitution of America provides for two years fixed term for it. Before
that, the President cannot dissolve it. So, if the legislature passes a bill and sends for
Presidential assent and if the President returns it for reconsideration using the veto, the
legislature has a power to pass it by two-thirds majority in both houses and it becomes
law. The President is powerless in this regard. However, the judiciary can interfere in it if
it is unconstitutional.
The President has also no ordinance making powers. He cannot perform any legislative
functions. The President can only use those powers, which are either conferred by the
Constitution or any law. The executive and the legislative powers are limited in nature.
For example, the legislature can make laws regarding foreign affairs, security etc. The
President cannot exercise powers in relation to these matters. If the President signs
treaties with another country, it also requires two-thirds majority of senate in order make
it effective.[xxix]
In England, there is no President as such but the Crown. It is not elected but hereditary
rotation in nature. The Crown in England is the head of executive. It enjoys privileges,
which are inherent powers and powers conferred under any statute made by parliament.
But at present, it does not enjoy any inherent power. It has power to appoint all high
administrative and executive officers, judges, bishops, and officers of army, navy and air
force. The Crown has the function to look after the enforcement of all national laws. It
conducts the foreign relations of the Country; it has supreme command over all armed
forces. It has power to grant pardons. It has power to conclude treaties without consulting
the Parliament. Hence, we can say that it is the ultimate executive authority and has
extensive powers.
Functions are allotted to each minister. They only are the ones who observe that laws are
followed or not or conclude the international treaties. If there is a war the issue is decided
by them. The fund granted by the parliament is spent by them only. The ministers give the
advice to the Crown; even the power to grant the pardons is exercised by the real minister
under the name of the Crown. The Crown prorogues the session of British parliament,
dissolves the House of Commons, assents to the bill. The appointments are carried out by
the cabinet under the name of the Crown. All issues which come before the judicial
committee of Privy Council are decided by the Crown. It is even said that, Crown grants
the mercy to a person who is convicted for the criminal act, but the actual job is done by
the judicial committee of Privy Council.


As in America, the President is totally free to exercise his executive powers, but he
cannot make laws, i.e. legislative powers are not vested in him. Whereas the Indian
President has the legislative powers, as we have seen under Art.123. He can issue
ordinances when the assembly is not in session. The American President has no judicial
powers,i.e. he cannot grant pardons, which the Indian President has under Art.72. The
provisions as to assent to bills are to some extent similar. In America, the President
cannot hold officebeyond the period of eight years, but there is no such condition in
Indian Constitution. A President can be re-elected after second term in India. The
President of America has not been given the power to dissolvethe Congress, but Art. 85
(2) (b) of Indian Constitution gives the power to Indian President to dissolve the House of
Dr. Ambedkar in this regard says that, In Draft Constitution there is placed at the head of
the Union a functionary who is called President the title of the functionary reminds one,
of the President of the United States. But beyond identity of names there is nothing in
common between the form of the government prevalent in America and the form of
government proposed under the Draft Constitution.[xxx]
Many a times it is interpreted that the President of India is a titular head and resembles
the Crown in England. English Crown is the executive head of the state and exercises all
its powers through its ministers, in India Art. 53(1) says that, President of India is the
executive head of the state and Art. 74(1) says that, he performs his functions on the
advice of his council of ministers. So, if we go to the plain reading of the Articles and
above discussions, it can be said that, Indian President is a nominal head of the state like
English Crown. Though Art. 53 vests all executive powers in him, Art. 74 overrides it. In
fact the Crown has no powers. The actual powers are in the hands of the council. So, Sir
Henry Maine rightly pointed out, The King of England reigns but does not rule. But
this is foreign to our system. The President of India is adorned with more power in
comparison to these two countries.

In Shamsher Singh v. State of Punjab,[xxxi] the Supreme Court held that, the Governor
and President are only the formal heads of the state, and when they require satisfaction as
required by the Constitution, it is not their personal satisfaction but the satisfaction of the
Council of Ministers on whose aid and advice they exercise powers and functions. Thus,
the judiciary has consistently held that, the President in practice has no powers at all.
Further in Ram JawayaKapurv. State ofPunjab,[xxxii] the Supreme Court held that
under Art. 53(1) executive powers of the Union are vested in the President but under Art.
75 there is a Council of Ministers with Prime Minister at the head to aid and advice the
President in the exercise of his functions. The President has thus been made a formal or

constitutional head of the executive and real executive powers are vested in the council of
National Democratic Alliance-backed Presidential nominee Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
whose term as Vice President ended on August 18 2008, said the nation should not have a
rubber stamp President who signs every file without reading it and understanding its
The first woman President of India, Mrs. PratibhaPatil has assured that she would not be
a merely figure head.
Starting from the period of Nehru to that of that Manmohan Singh, always there has been
a question regarding the position of the President. Theoretically, we have seen that the
President is not a mere figure head. But one cannot deny the reality, which is in practice
In the Constituent Assembly, Nehru said the President was not to have any real power
but neither was he to be a mere figure head. As Prime Minister, however he made clear
he would brook no opposition from the President. Rajendra Prasad had said as President
of the Constituent Assembly that the Constitution did not lay down that the President is
bound to accept the advice [of the cabinet]. But as President of India, he did whatever
Nehru advised him to do.[xxxiii] He may have done this either due to the charisma of Pt.
Nehru, the doyen of the Prime Minister of the free world[xxxiv] or something else but
after him all the Presidents followed in his footsteps.
As the President became silent there began an age of nastiest political era, where the
national interest was sacrificed for the narrow political interest. All the sacrifices of the
freedom fighters and the novel ideas of the Constituent Assembly were put aside. There
started the rule unlike British. No change in the rule and rulers, but in their skin colour.
[xxxv] At this stage the politicians do everything and the President has no option but to
sign it. In this situation when Mrs. PratibhaPatil states she will not be a rubber stamp,
how logical she is, is clearly remarkable. Prof. T. Devidas[xxxvi] criticized her as not a
rubber stamp but the handle of the rubber stamp. Now, coming to the most popular
President, Dr. Kalam, is playing with the school children is the only a duty of a
President? This is not any ones fault but that of our political system and the election
process. How come a scientist, who was confined within a laboratory, can be able to take
the task of a State? A good person is not only a criterion for position of the President. The
Constitution requires of the President to be a certain blend of qualities. He must be
neither a political illiterate nor a political professional who has run the party engine. He
must have a clear understanding of the political process and yet be above its turmoil;
unaffected by the dust and din of the clashes of men and policies. He is an umpire and
umpires are supposed to know the rules of the game, appreciate the state of the field and
have an impartial eye on the play.[xxxvii] Similarly in the case of Mrs. Patil, who
doesnt possess any quality other than the gender, which according to the politicians is

the most important. Showing we believe in gender equality is not the whole idea. The
task is something else.
The Indian Constitution has given many a provisions, which clearly state that the
President of India is not merely a figure head. True the President has not done enough
what he should have done. But one would like to say here that one cannot comment upon
something just by observing the present situation of the country but one will have to look
at the provisions of the Constitution. The President, like the King, has not merely been
constitutionally romanticized but actually vested with a pervasive and persuasive role.
[xxxviii] The status of the position of the Indian President is somewhere in between the
British Crown and that of the American President. K. M. Munshi[xxxix]in his book The
President Under The Indian Constitutionhas said that the President is not only the biggest
dignitary of our realm but the embodiment of the unity of our country. The principal role
of the President is to prevent a parliamentary government from becoming a parliamentary
anarchy and it is the Presidential authority that keeps the country and the people bond
[i] The Union Constitution Committee in its report of 4 July, 1947 recommended it in
clause 7 sub clause 1. The same was also said by N. GopalswamiAyyangar on 25th July,
1947 in the Constituent Assembly.
[ii]BiswaRanjanMohapatra etal, Foundations of Politics & Government, Orissa State
Bureau of Textbook Preparation and Production, Reprinted, 1st Edition, 2003
[iii]De lesprit des lois(The Spirit of Laws) is a thesis on political theory, the law,
sociology, and anthropologyfirst published anonymously by Charles de Secondat, Baron
de Montesquieu with the help ofClaudine Gurin de Tencin. Montesquieus theory was
refined and developed by Blackstoneand Madison.
[iv] M.J.C. Vile, FOUR: Montesquieu M.J.C. Vile, Constitutionalism and the
Separation of Powers , 1967, The online
library of liberty at:
[v]Supra note 4
[vi]Supra note 4
[vii] Dr. Subhash C. Kashyap, Constitutional Law Of India, vol. 1, 2008

[viii] Granville Austin, Corner Of A Nation

[ix] B.N. Rau, Indias Constitution, p. 72
[x]Fali S Nariman, Not A Rubber Stamp,
newsid=1105328 accessed on 15.04.2012.
[xi] Article 111 and Article 86 of the Constitution of India.
[xii] M.P. Jain, Indian Constitutional Law, 5th Edition, 2003, vol.1
[xiii] Article 85 of the Constitution of India
[xiv] Article 80 of the Constitution of India
[xv] The President has the power under Article 111, either to give the assent, or to
withhold the assent, or to return the bill to the Parliament for reconsideration and he can
also suggest modifications.
[xvi] Art 123 of the Constitution of India
[xvii] The contingency fund is the fund from which the President can sanction advances
to meet the expenditures of the unseen future.
[xviii] Article 72 of the Constitution of India
[xix] AIR 1989 SC 653
[xx]Article 143 of the Constitution of India
[xxi]Infra p. 12
[xxii] Art.85 does not require the aid and advice of the Prime Minister to dissolve the
[xxiii] Prof. M. P. Jain, Indian Constitutional Law, 5th Edition, (Wadhwa Publications,
Nagpur, 2005), p. 387
[xxiv] K.M. Munshi, The President Under Indian Constitution, 2nd Edition,
(BhartiyaVidyaBhavan Mumbai, 1997), p. 39
[xxv] AIR 1980 Del 114
[xxvi] Art. 61 of the Indian Constitution.
[xxvii] Art. II, sec. 1 of the American Constitution

[xxviii] Art. I of the American Constitution

[xxix] Art. II, sec. 2 of the American Constitution
[xxx] Dr. J.N. Pandey, Constitutional Law of India , 35th Edition, (Central Law Agency,
Allahabad, 2000), p.372
[xxxi] AIR 1974 SC 2192, 2226
[xxxii] AIR 1955 SC 549
[xxxiii] David Van Praagh, The Greater Game: Indias Race with Destiny and China,
Published by McGill-Queens Press MQUP, 2003, p. 100
[xxxiv] C. At Lee, With Malice Towards None in R. Zakaria, id. 100 at 103; Cf. Rajeev
Dhavan et al. Nehru And The Constitution, Indian Law Institute New Delhi, N. M.
Tripathi Pvt. Ltd. Bombay, 1992, p. II
[xxxv]CPI in 1941.
[xxxvi] Professor of law in National Law School of India University, Bangalore
[xxxvii] A.G. Noorani, The Indian Presidency, Half a centurys experiences with the
institution of the p
residency provide several lessons, Frontline Volume 19 Issue 13, Jun. 22 Jul. 5, 2002,
Indias National Magazine, from the publishers of THE HINDU.
[xxxviii]V.R.KrishnaIyer, Governors Reign and Presidents Rule, Constitutional
Miscellany, Eastern Book Company, Lucknow, Second Edition
[xxxix] He was an eminent lawyer, one of the framers of the Indian Constitution, and a
seasoned statesman. K. M. Munshi was influenced by Sri Aurobindo and was an ardent
freedom fighter, working with Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel,
Tilak and others. Available at:

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