At the top of the Union Executive in India stands the President of India. The President is elected by an indirect election i.e. by an electoral college, in accordance with the system of proportional representation, by a single transferable vote.
This electoral college consists of
A. Elected members of both Houses of Parliament
B. Elected members of State Legislative Assemblies
To contest for Indian Presidency, a person must
1. be a citizen of India
2. have completed 35 years of age
3. be eligible for election to the Lok Sabha and
4. must not hold any office of profit under the Government of India or any State Government or under any local or other authority subject to the control of Central / State Governments.
However, the sitting President or the Vice-President, the State Governor and a Minister at the Centre or in states – all are eligible for presidential elections. The President is not a member of either House of Parliament or any State Legislature, and if such a person becomes President, he will be deemed to have vacated his seat in that House the moment he assumes the presidential office.
His tenure is 5 years from the date of assuming office, but he will be eligible for re-election. There is no bar on the number of times one can become the President. However, his office may terminate before 5 years in case of
1. his resignation in writing addressed to the Vice-President or
2. his removal by impeachment
Impeachment is a semi-judicial procedure to remove the President. The President can be removed from office on one ground only i.e. violation of the Constitution. The parliament may start a motion of impeachment in either House which is then investigated by the other House.
1. A resolution of impeachment must be moved at least after 14 days of written notice, signed by at least one-fourth of the total members of that House. The reasons for impeachment have to be mentioned in the motion.
2. The resolution is then discussed and passed by at least two-thirds of the total membership of the House.
The President has the right to defend himself during such investigations. If, subsequently, a resolution is passed by at least two-thirds of the total membership of the House in which it originated, it will have the effect of removing the President from his post with effect from the date of passing.
The President gets a monthly salary of 150000 only apart from an official residence for use (free of cost). He is also eligible for an annual pension of 9000000, if not re-elected as President.
Normally, elections for a new President are held before the outgoing President’s term ends. Until a new President assumes charge, the outgoing President one must keep on discharging his duties. In case of any vacancy in the President’s office due to death, resignation, impeachment etc., the elections must be held within 6 months of such a vacancy. In such cases, the Vice-President discharges his duties. Any dispute regarding the presidential election shall be decided by the Supreme Court, whose decision will be exclusive and final.
All executive powers of the Union are vested in the President, making him the Head of the Indian State. Executive functions are those which are left after taking out legislative and judicial functions. But these powers are limited by many provisions like
1. The executive powers are exercisable by the President, according to the advice of his Council of Ministers (Art 74)
2. However, the President may send back any Cabinet resolution, asking for its reconsideration. But if the resolution returns to him for his assent, it is obligatory for him to sign it. The right to return any resolution to the Cabinet can be exercised once only. The net result is that the President cannot act at his discretion or “sweet will” except in certain marginal cases referred by him to the Supreme Court.