Editorial Analysis for IAS - The President is not a mere Rubber Stamp

The President is not a mere Rubber Stamp

For Prelims

  • Article 53: “the executive power of the Union shall be vested in the President and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with this Constitution.”
Election of President
  • Elections are conducted by the Election Commission of India.
  • The electoral college consists of all the elected members Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs, and the elected Members of the Legislative Assemblies of States and Union Territories (MLAs).
  • To become a candidate a person requires signed list of 50 proposers and 50 seconders.
  • These proposers and supporters can only endorse a single candidate.
  • The election is done through proportional representation through a single transferable vote.
For Mains
The Role of President
  • In India, President is the Head of the State and de Jure Head of the Government.
  • However, his office is different from the office of President in countries with Presidential form of government such as the Unites States of America, since the executive power in reality lies with the Council of Ministers headed by Prime Minister.
  • Article 74 makes the advice of Council of Ministers binding on the President.
Why President is indirectly elected?
  • There were members of constituent assembly such as Professor K.T. Shah who strongly argued for a directly elected President.
  • However, leaders like Dr. B R Ambedkar opposed that saying: “Our President is merely a nominal figurehead. He has no discretion; he has no powers of administration at all.”
  • A major reason for this decision was the cost associated with conducting a nation-wide election for the President.
  • Another reason was to avoid conflict between the President and Council of Ministers.
The issues with this type of election
  • All States do not get equal value in votes.
  • For example; the vote value of an MLA in the State of Uttar Pradesh, for example, is 208 while that of an MLA in Arunachal Pradesh is just 8.
Why President cannot be called a mere rubber stamp of the Council of Ministers
  • While he does not directly exercise executive functions of the government, he can and does disagree with the government and can give them counsel.
  • He can also ask the cabinet to reconsider its decision one time. While he has to agree to their decision if they make the same decision again, it gives the President a chance to create awareness about a policy he/she disagree with.
  • The President takes an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Hence has the responsibility to oppose any move which he/ she sees as a threat to the constitution.

 Source The Hindu