This article details the Legislative powers of the office of the President of India.
According to the Constitution of India, the President is not a member of the Parliament but is a part of the Parliament. The Constitution bestows the following legislative functions on the President:
• Ordinance making power
An ordinance means a temporary law because it is promulgated by the President, who is the executive head of the State, where as the power to make laws, is vested in the Parliament by the constitution. Article 123 of the Constitution empowers the President to promulgate an ordinance. The President can promulgate an ordinance only when the following two conditions are satisfied:
– Both houses of Parliament should not be in session; this means that the President can declare an ordinance even if one house is in session.
– There should be a need for immediate action
An ordinance comes into effect immediately after it is proclaimed by the President and has the same effect of that of a law made by the Parliament.
However, for an ordinance to become a permanent law, it must be approved by the Parliament within 6 weeks from the date of its first meeting after the promulgation of the ordinance. If the Parliament rejects the Ordinance then it will immediately cease to be in effect. If the Parliament neither approves nor disapproves i.e., remains silent then the Ordinance will lapse after 6 weeks from the date of the first meeting of the Parliament after the promulgation of the ordinance. The maximum life period of an ordinance is 6 months because the maximum gap between two sessions of Parliament cannot be beyond 6 months.
• Veto power
Veto is a Latin word, it means forbid. A bill becomes an act only after it receives the accent of the President. Veto power provided by Article 111 of the Constitution of India empowers the President to withhold his assent to a bill that is passed by the legislature.
Veto power is important because it prevents hasty and ill-considered legislations by the Parliament. Depending on the decision taken by the President, the veto power can be classified into
Types of veto
i. Absolute veto is said to be used when the President out rightly rejects a bill passed by the Parliament.
ii. Suspensive veto is said to be used when the President sends back a bill passed by the Parliament for reconsideration. It must be approved by the Parliament with a simple majority after which the President is bound to give his/her assent.
iii.Qualified veto is said to be used when the President sends back a bill passed by the Parliament for reconsideration; it must be approved by the Parliament with a special majority after which the President is bound to give his assent.
iv.Pocket veto is said to be used when the President remains silent on the bill passed by the Parliament; in other words the President neither agrees nor disagrees with the bill.
Both, the President of America and the President of India have Veto powers.
However, the American President does not enjoy pocket veto because he is mandated to decide on a bill passed by the Parliament within 10 days. On the other hand, the President of India does not enjoy qualified veto as he/she can use veto power on ordinary legislations that can be approved by the Parliament by a simple majority.
Thus the President of India enjoys pocket veto, suspensive veto and absolute veto.
• The President can summon or prorogue the houses of Parliament.
• The President can dissolve the lower house (Lok Sabha) when a no-confidence motion is approved.
• The President can call for joint sitting of both houses in case of a dead-lock between the two houses.
• President addresses the Parliament twice a year – once during the first session of the year any time during the year. The President also addresses the first session after every general election.
• The President can nominate 12 members to Rajya Sabha and 2 members to Lok Sabha.
• The President can appoint any member of the house as the Presiding officer when there is a vacancy in the office of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha, Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
• The President causes the reports of CAG, Finance Commission, UPSC, National Commission for SCs and National Commission for STs to be laid before the Parliament
• The President decides on the question of disqualification of members of the Parliament in consultation with the Election Commission.
— Deepika Reddy, Director of Shikara Academy