Dr Subhash C Kashyap
Expert, Constitution of India
Expert, Constitution of India
Role of President in India
- In your opinion which of the Presidents in the past had really worrisome periods when decisions had to be taken in the interest of the nation,even if they same were not a popular one. Asked by: sundar1950in
- The President of India in our constitution and according to the conventions established normally functions on the aid & advice of the council of ministers. But there are certain crucial matters where he has got to act in his own wisdom. Several Presidents faced situations where they had to act against the advice of the council of ministers or the PM. Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President was strongly opposed to the Hindu code bill and during the provisional parliament the bill could not be introduced due to his opposition. He joined the funeral of Sardar Patel against the advice of PM. Also he went to Somnath temple against the advice of the PM. There were other areas of the disagreement. Dr Radhakrishnan had strong views about handling corruption allegations in the govt. Also he expressed his disagreement on China policy. Shri Ahmed is often criticized for having agreed to emergency without a clear recommendation from the council of ministers. Shri Venkatraman faced difficult questions while dealing with 3 PMs . He didnot assent to a bill which was almost unianimously passed by the two houses. The bill never became law. President Zail Singh, earlier had refused assent to the postal bill. President Shankar Dayal Sharma decided to call the leader of the largest party and the largest pre-poll alliance to form the govt despite the congress party views and even though Shri Vajpayee lost on the floor of the house by 1 vote & had to resign.
- The Lip sealing of the President except at formal functions is by convention or a requirement under staute ?? Does not this prevent a rebuttal of criticsm of the high office if such criticism are unfair and insufficient knowledge on the subject. Asked by: sundar1950in
- It is a common misconception that the President of India is like the British Monarch. He is not a rubber stamp or titular or nominal head of the state. He is a constitutional head & takes the oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution & the law & to serve the people to the best of his abilities. Normally, he abides by the advice of the council of ministers. There is no bar to his expression of views in national interest. But the council of ministers constitute his government and are his ministers. There should therefore be no ocassion for public expression of contrary views.
- Is it right to understand that the president is the overall commander of the three defence forces,Military,air and naval.?? Is it only a ceremonial position or the president can use authority at times of serious national security issues. ? Asked by: sundar1950in
- The President under the constitution is the supreme commander of the armed forces but he is bound to act in accordance with the constitution & the law. He can call the chiefs of staff through the minister of defence. It is clear that generally the President acts on the advice of the council of ministers. But he can always demand information, advice, guide and warn at times of emergency. President Venkatraman described the role of the President as that of an emergency light.
- While all of us are informed that the President shall act on the recommendations of the union cabinet does he have a chance to advice / recommend /instruct the government to act on any subject ?? Asked by: sundar1950in
- Yes, the president has all the right & opportunity to advice, guide & warn his ministers who constitute the government. The President also has the right to address Parliament & to send messages to the two houses in regard to any legislation or in any other matter. Such messages have got to be considered by the houses with all convenient despatch. Also, there are many matters where the President cannot act on the recommendation of the Union cabinet, for example, the appointment of the PM & a new cabinet after a vote of no confidence in the existing cabinet is passed or after the ruling party has lost in a general election and there is a hung house.
- Shouldn't the elected members listen to the voice of their constituent and vote rather than listening to party chiefs and whips ? Asked by: EMathew
- The constitution didnot envisage Presidential elections being determined by party dictates. As it is nominations for Presidential elections are not on any party symbols. Members of the electoral college are elected by the people in case of Lok Sabha and state assemblies. They should therefore be responsive and responsible to the people and not so much to the parties. The constitution very clearly expects them to act freely, without fear, favour or any undue influence. For that reason the constitution has provided for voting by secret ballot. Nobody can know who voted for whom. The anti-defection law doesnot apply and no party whip is inforceable.
- Do you not think giving more powers to the president as has been emanded could be counter productive if a right person is not chose for the presigious position? Asked by: Arun
- As it is, under our constitution, the President has many crucial powers. He is the head of the executive, all executive power vests in him and is excercised in his name. No law can be passed without his assent. Normally, however, he is expected to act on the advice of his council of ministers. Since there are matters like the appointment of the PM, assent to bills, disolution of lok sabha where the President may have to act on his own, it is important that only a person of national stature and of impeccable integrity and ability is elected to hold this highest office. It is not necessary to change the powers of the President.
- i think the benefits for a president is too much to adore....they are not even moving an application of mercy quickly.is something has to be done? Asked by: karthick
- In matters like handling mercy petitions, the President acts only on the advice of the government ie the coucil of ministers. The delays, therefore, are almost always in the government depts concerned or with the ministers.
- Sir, Can the president dissolve the government even if the governing party enjoys the majority. What about the constitutional crisis arising from that? Asked by: srikanth
- So long as the council of ministers enjoys majority support in the house of the people, there can be no question of the President dismissing it. It would be unconstitutional. The constitution does provide that the ministers hold office during the pleasure of the President but I believe that applies to individual ministers who can be dismissed by the President on the advice of PM because they are appointed on his advice. The council of ministers once constituted is responsible only to the lok sabha and is not subject to dismissal by the President.
- The present political situation there is no likelyhood of any national party likely to get a majority and coalition governments are the norms of the day.This has led to the country sliding down as the regioal parties are more keen to take on their regional concerns rather than the national concerns. This has resulted in a situation wherein we are slipping into disaster. do you not feel that we need to reconsider and give the office of the President more important than being a virtual figure head wherein he could step in to correct the Govt and lead to the prosperity of the nation? Asked by: Anonymous
- I think much depends upon the personality of the President. If we have a person with stature, integrity and competence in the office of the President, he can be very effective even under the existing constitution. The constitution doesnot make the President a mere figure head.
More chats with:Dr Subhash C Kashyap
Expert, Constitution of India