Constitutional limitations on President's Powers

Constitutional limitations on President’s Powers

On one hand the President of India has tremendous powers and on the other hand he is merely a rubber stamp. There is clear provision in our constitution which mentions that there shall be a council of minister to aid and advise the President, This provision makes it amply clear that there shall always be a council of ministers to help the President to discharge his constitutional duties. Following are the constitutional limitations under which President his to exercise his executive powers.

(1) The article 53 provides that ‘the executive powers of the Union shall be vested in the President’. These shall be exercised by him either directly or through officer sub-ordinate to him. Similarly article 75 provides that ‘other ministers [but not the Prime Ministers] will be appointed by the president but only on the advice of the Prime Minister.

(2) Article 74 provides that ‘there shall be a council of ministers headed by the Prime Minister to aid and advise the President who shall act in accordance with the advise.’ Till 1976 this was the legal position. It is clear that by definition it is an advise which can be rejected. Till 1976 there was hardly any situation when the President had rejected the advise tendered by the Council of Ministers. The 42nd amendment in 1976 which made clear that the advise given by the council of ministers would be binding on the President. The amended article 74[1] now reads as ‘provided that the President may require the council of ministers to reconsider such advice when it comes back to him with or without modifications.

(3) In India we have provisions for the President’s rule at the state level but no such provision is made for the President’s rule at the Centre. There shall always be a Council of Ministers to aid and advice the President. At state level, the government can be run by the Governor with the help of senior bureaucrats which is commonly known as ‘President’s Rule’. But no such provision is available for the President’s Rule at the Centre. There shall always be a Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister to aid and advise the President. This is described as ‘Presidentin- council’.

(4) It is also provided that no court is empowered to inquire into either the content or the wisdom of the advice given by the Council of Ministers to the President.