Q. ‘The President of India works over the advice of Prime minister and his Council of Ministers’. Elaborate the statement.

Note: this post is a part of our important question answer series on Constitutional Law. You can read other questions by clicking


Article 52 of Indian Constitution provides provision for the post of the President, it reads as:

“There shall be a President of India”.

Further, Article 53(1) vests the executive power of the union in the hands of the President and provides that, “It shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinates to him in accordance with the Constitution.”

So, on a careful reading of Article 53(1), we get to know that the subordinate officers are none but the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers, as we follow the parliamentary form of government. Therefore, to avoid any confusion, Article 74(1) provides that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister to aid and advise the President and such advice given by the Council of Ministers will be binding on the President after reconsideration and shall not be questioned in any court of law.

The constitutional powers and functions of the President of India may be classified into seven principal types:

I.       Executive powers,

II.    Legislative power,

III. Financial powers,

IV.  Emergency powers,

V.     Diplomatic powers,

VI.  Military powers, and

VII.       Judicial powers.


I.                   Executive functions:

A. Head of the Union: The President is at the head of the Union Executive. Consequently, all executive powers are exercised on his name.

B.     Appointments: As head of the executive, the President appoints the Governors of States, the Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts, the Auditor General of India and many other high officials, such as the members of Finance Commission, Election commission, Union Public commission etc.

C.      Appointment of PM and his council: The President also appoints the Prime Minister and with his advice the other Ministers of the Union Council of Ministers. But here too, as in all other appointments, the President can seldom use his discretion. He is, ordinarily, duty-bound to summon the leader of the political party which secures an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha to become the Prime Minister and rest of the members of his council shall be appointed upon the advice of the PM only.

D.  Supreme Commander: As head of State, the President is the supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of India and. Declaration of war, signing of treaties, all can only be done on the name of the president.


II.                Legislative powers:

A.  President is the integral part of the parliament. He shall summon from time to time, either separately or jointly, the Houses of Parliament. The President can prorogue the Houses or either House of Parliament and, if necessary, can dissolve the lower Chamber of Parliament, the Lok Sabha, though with the advice on PM.

B.  Summons and Addresses Parliament.

C.  Nomination: The President nominates a number of members in both Houses.

D.  Power in respect of Bills: no bill can become an act without the assent of president. But president is bound to give his assent after sending it once for reconsideration to the parliament.

E.  Ordinance making power: the president, upon the advice of the PM and his council, may pass an ordinance, when the houses of parliament not in the session. It shall carry the same effect as law passed in parliament.


III.             Financial powers:

A.  No money bill can be introduced in the parliament without the prior recommendation of president.

But here, in this condition also, president only acts on the advice rendered by the council of ministers.


IV.              Emergency powers:

President is empower to proclaim the emergency, upon his satisfaction and following the aid of the council of ministers:

A.  National emergency, article 352

B.  State emergency: article 356, and

C.  Financial emergency: article 360.


V.                 Diplomatic powers:

All international treaties, agreements are done on the name of the president, however, in practical sense, all are done by the PM and his council of ministers.


VI.              Pardoning Powers / Judicial Powers

The President of India grants; pardons, reprieves or remissions of punishment to any person who has been convicted by a Court of Law. As mentioned in article 72 of the Indian Constitution.


Important cases

i.       S.R. Bommai v. Union of India: in this case, the court held that:

A.  No court is concerned with what advice was tendered by the Minister to the President. The court is only concerned with the validity of the order and not with what happened in the inner councils of the President and the Minister.

B.  An order cannot be challenged on the ground that it is not in accordance with the advice tendered by the Minister.

C.  If, in a given case, the President acts without, or contrary to, the advice tendered to him, it may be a case warranting his impeachment, but so far as the court is concerned, it is the act of the President.

ii.     Ram Jawaya Kapur v. State of Punjab: the supreme court, in this case observed that it was the intent of the Constituent Assembly to base the executive in India on the British model and concluded that, article 74(1) binds the President to follow ministerial advice as under the British system.



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