The President of India is the head of the State. He is also the first citizen of India. The main function of the President is to protect and defend the Constitution and the law of India. He swore an oath to protect his nation from any external force. Just imagine if the President is not doing his work according to the Constitution or is doing something unconditional, then there is the only way, impeachment.
Provisions for president
Articles 52-78 are fundamentally dealing with the President in the Indian Constitution. The articles clearly state the election process of the president, his powers and functions. It also mentions the impeachment process.
Article 52 states that
“there shall be a President of India “.
Article 53 states the executive power of the center. Article 54 explains the process of the election of the President. It states that there is no direct election for the Indian President and an electoral college elects him. The electoral college consists of the members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assemblies of States, and Legislative Assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry. The steps of the election of the President is in article 55
The duration of the president in office is in article 56. After the election, the President can hold office for five years. The eligibility criterion for re-election is as stated in article 57. Article 58 lays down the qualifications required for the election as a President. The conditions of the President’s office is in article 59. The oath or affirmation by the President is in article 60. Article 61 lays down the procedure for the impeachment of the President. The time of holding an election to fill a vacancy in the office of the President and the terms of office or person elected to fill a casual vacancy is in article 62. Article 72 states the pardoning power of the President. Article 123 provides the Ordinance making power of the President.
The office of the President falls vacant in the following
- On the expiry of the term.
- By reason of death.
- By reason of resignation.
- Removal by Supreme Court.
- Removal by impeachment.
After the vacancy, the Vice-President of India will have to discharge the duties of the office. The Vice-President of India shall discharge his (president’s) duties.
Impeachment of the president
The impeachment of the President is in article 61 of the constitution. Impeachment is the procedure by which a legislative body presses charges against a government official. Impeachment is similar to an indictment in criminal law that is Impeachment does not in itself remove the official definitively from office. Actually, it is the statement of charges against an official.
As per Article 71(1) of the constitution Supreme Court shall ask and decide on all doubts and disputes arising out of or in continuation with the election of the President of India. Similar to this function the SC can remove the President from office. Electoral malpractices are one of the reasons for the removal of the president. And according to the Representation of the People Act,1951.
The first step for the removal of the president may start in either of the two Houses of the Parliament. The House starts the procedure by leveling the charges against the President. The charges presented in a notice, signed by at least one-quarter of the total members of that House. The signed notice is sent up to the President. After 14 days, taken up for consideration.
An intention to impeach the President, passed by a two-thirds majority of the total number of members from the originating house of the parliament. It is then sent to the other house. The investigation process happens after that. During the process of investigation, the President has the right to defend oneself through an authorized counsel. If the second House also approves the charges leveled against the president, the President stands impeached. The president needs to vacate its office from the date when such resolution stands passed.
Article 361 states that, although the President can not be summoned for questioning apart from his voluntary disposition, to testify in the Court in support of his controversial deeds, the unconstitutional decision that is made by the President would be declared invalid by the Court. President imprisoning is not possible during his term of office. But imprisoning is possible after he/she steps down from the post for any guilt.
The president of India can be impeached by the Parliament before the expiry of the term for violation of the Constitution according to Article 61 of the Constitution. Hence, the provision for impeachment has never tested. The sitting President cannot be charged and needs to step down in order for that to happen.
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