(a) The President has the constitutional authority to make rules and regulations relating to various matters, such as, how his orders and instruments shall be authenticated; the paying into custody of and withdrawal of money from, the public accounts of India; the number of members of the Union Public Service Commission, their tenure and conditions of service; recruitment and conditions of service of persona serving the Union and the secretarial staff of Parliament; the prohibition of simultaneous membership of Parliament and of the Legislature of a State; the procedure relating to the joint sittings of the Houses of Parliament in consultation with the Chariman and the Speaker of the two Houses; the manner of enforcing the orders of the Supreme Court; the allocation among States of emoluments payable to a Governor appointed for two or more States; the discharge of the functions of a Governor in any contingency not provided for in the Constitution; specifying Scheduled Castes and Tribes; specifying matters on which it shall not be necessary for the Government of India to consult the Union Public Service Commission.
(b) He has the power to give instructions to a Governor to promulgate an Ordinance if a Bill containing the same provisions requires the previous sanction of the President under the Constitution [Art. 213(1), Proviso].
(c) He has the power to refer any question of public important for the opinion of the Supreme Court and already eight such references have been made since 1950 [Art. 143; see Chap. 19 under ‘Advisory Jurisdiction’].
(d) He has the power to appoint certain commission for the purpose of reporting on specific matters, such as, Commissions to report on the administration of Scheduled Areas and welfare of Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes; the Finance Commission; Commission on Official Language; an Inter-State Council.
(e) He has some special powers relating to ‘Union Territories’, or territories which are directly administered by the Union. Not only is the administration of such Territories to be carried on by the President through an Administrator, responsible to the President alone, but the President has the final legislative power (to make regulations) relating to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands; the Lakshadweep; Dadra and Nagar Haveli; 22 and may even repeal or amend any law made by Parliament as may be applicable to such Territories [Art, 240].
(f) The President shall have certain special powers in respect of the administration of Scheduled Area and Tribes, and Tribal Areas in Assam:
- Subject to amendment by Parliament, the President shall have the power, by order, to declare an area, to be a Scheduled Area or declare that an area shall cease to be a Scheduled Area, alter the boundaries of Scheduled Areas, and the like [Fifth Sch., Para. 6].
- A Tribes Council may be established by the direction of the President in any State having Scheduled Areas and also in States having Scheduled Tribes therein but no Scheduled Areas [Fifth Sch., Para.4]
- All regulations made by the Governor of a State for the peace and good government of the Scheduled Areas of the State must be submitted forthwith to the President and until assented to by him, such regulations shall have no effect [Fifth Sch., Para. 5(4)].
- The President may, at any time, require the Governor of a State to make a report regarding the administration of the Scheduled Areas in that State and give directions as to the administration of such Areas [Sch. V, Para. 3]
(g) The President has certain special powers and responsibilities as regards Scheduled Castes and Tribes:
- Subject to modification by Parliament, the President has the power to draw up and notify the lists of Scheduled Castes and Tribes in each State and Union Territory. Consolation with the Governor is required in the case of the list relating to a State. [Arts. 341-342].
- The President shall appoint a Special Officer to investigate and report on the working of the safeguards provided in the Constitution for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes. [Art. 338].
- The President may at any time and shall at the expiration of ten years from the commencement of the Constitution, appoint a Commission for the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes in the States [Art. 339].
Vacancy in Office of the President
A vacancy in the office of the President may be caused in any of the following ways—
(i) On the expiry of his term of five years
(ii) By his death
(iii) By his resignation.
(iv) On his removal by impeachment.
(v) Otherwise, e.g. on the setting aside of his election as President [Art. 65(1)].
(a) When the vacancy is going to be caused by the expiration of the term of the sitting President, an election to fill the vacancy must be completed before the expiration of the term [Art. 62(1)]. But in order to prevent an ‘interregnum’, owing to any possible delay in such completion, it is provided that the outgoing President must continue to hold office, notwithstanding that his term has expired, until his successor enters upon his office [Art. 56(1)(c)]. (There is no scope for the Vice-President getting a chance to act as President in this case.)
(b) In case of a vacancy arising by reason of any cause other than the expiry of the term of the incumbent in office, an election to fill the vacancy must be held as soon as possible after, and in no case later than, six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy. Immediately after such vacancy arises, say, by the death of the President, and until a new President is elected, as above, it is the Vice-President who shall act as President [Art. 65(1)]. It is needless to point out that the new President who is elected shall be entitled to the full term of five years from the date he enters upon his office.
(c) Apart from a permanent vacancy, the President may be temporarily unable to discharge his functions, owing to his absence from India, illness or any other cause, in which case the Vice-President shall discharge his functions until the date on which the President resumes his duties. [Art. 65(2)].
WHAT EFFECT THE 44TH AMENDMENT HAD ON THE PRESIDENT
After 44th Amendment, except in certain marginal cases refered by the Supreme Court, the President shall have no power to act in his discretion any cae. He must act according to the advice given to him by the Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Ministers, so that refusla to act according to such advice will render him liable to impeachment for violation of the Constitution. This is subject to the President’s new power to send the advance received from the Council of Minister’s in a particular case, back to them for their reconsiderations; and if the Council of Ministers adheres to their previous advice, the President shall have to option but to act in accordance with such advice. The power to return for reconsideration can be excercised only once, on the same matter.