What are the duties of the President of India?

The President is the head of the Republic of India who is elected indirectly by the Electoral College by the means of a single transferable vote. In India, it is the Prime Minister and the council of ministers that form the real executive. The President is the nominal head as She/he has to act on the advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister as per Article 74 (1) of the Indian Constitution.

However, the President plays a very important role to perform the function and discharge duties in the following areas:

  • Administrative − The President appoints various officials such as Attorney General of India, Supreme Court and High Court judges, Chairperson and members of UPSC, Election Commission, Finance Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Governors of the States, etc. These appointments are done in consultation with Prime Minister and Council of Ministers.

  • Legislative − In the case of disagreement between the two houses of Parliament, the President can summon a Joint Session. The President has the power to nominate 12 members to the Upper House of the Parliament who have an expertise in literature, art, science, and social service. A Bill passed by both Houses of Parliament becomes an act only when the President gives the assent.

  • Judicial − The President appoints the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. While appointing the Chief Justice of India, the seniority is taken into consideration. The President also has pardoning powers with him/her in the case of a death sentence being issued to a person. However, the President cannot condemn the decision of the court.

  • Military − The President of India is the Commander-in-Chief of the defense forces. The President appoints the chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force and is empowered to declare war and conclude peace. But all these can be exercised under the supervision of the Parliament.

  • Diplomatic − It is the President who appoints ambassadors and diplomatic missions of India to other countries and recognizes the diplomats from other States in India. The President has the authority to enter into treaties with other countries.

  • Financial − A money bill before its introduction in the Parliament requires a prior consent of the President. The President has the power to order the presentation of the Budget in the Parliament. Any expenditure from the Contingency Fund requires the authorization of the President.

  • Emergency-Related − The President has some extra powers concerned with emergency i.e. she/he can declare National, State or Financial Emergency. National Emergency is declared by the President when the security of India is under threat due to external aggression or internal rebellion. A State Emergency is a situation where the Government of a state is not functioning according to the provisions of the Constitution. A financial emergency is declared when the financial stability of the country is in a crunch situation.