Articles 52 to 78 in Part V of the Constitution, deals with the Union Executive.
The Union Executive consists of the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, the council of ministers and the Attorney General of India.
Article 52. The President of India.— There shall be a President of India.
Article 53. Executive power of the Union.—
(1) 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.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provision, the supreme command of the Defence Forces of the Union shall be vested in the President and the exercise thereof shall be regulated by law.
(3) Nothing in this article shall—
(a) be deemed to transfer to the President any functions conferred by any existing law on the Government of any State or other authority; or
(b) prevent Parliament from conferring by law functions on authorities other than the President.
Article 54. Election of President.—
The President shall be elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of—
(a) the elected members of both Houses of Parliament; and
(b) the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States.
Explanation.—In this article and in article 55, ―State includes the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
Article 55. Manner of election of President.—
(1) As far as practicable, there shall be uniformity in the scale of representation of the different States at the election of the President.
(2) For the purpose of securing such uniformity among the States inter se as well as parity between the States as a whole and the Union, the number of votes which each elected member of Parliament and of the Legislative Assembly of each State is entitled to cast at such election shall be determined in the following manner:— (a) every elected member of the Legislative Assembly of a State shall have as many votes as there are multiples of one thousand in the quotient obtained by dividing the population of the State by the total number of the elected members of the Assembly;
(b) if, after taking the said multiples of one thousand, the remainder is not less than five hundred, then the vote of each member referred to in sub-clause (a) shall be further increased by one;
(c) each elected member of either House of Parliament shall have such number of votes as may be obtained by dividing the total number of votes assigned to the members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States under sub-clauses (a) and (b) by the total number of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament, fractions exceeding one-half being counted as one and other fractions being disregarded.
(3) The election of the President shall be held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting at such election shall be by secret ballot.
Explanation.—In this article, the expression ―population‖ means the population as ascertained at the last preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published: Provided that the reference in this Explanation to the last preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published shall, until the relevant figures for the first census taken after the year 2026 have been published, be construed as a reference to the 2001 census.
- the nominated members of both of Houses of Parliament, the nominated members of the state legislative assemblies, the members (both elected and nominated) of the state legislative councils (in case of the bicameral legislature) and the nominated members of the Legislative Assemblies of Delhi and Puducherry do not participate in the election of the President. Where an assembly is dissolved, the members cease to be qualified to vote in presidential election, even if fresh elections to the dissolved assembly are not held before the presidential election.
- The Constitution provides that there shall be uniformity in the scale of representation of different states as well as parity between the states as a whole and the Union at the election of the President.
- The President’s election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting is by secret ballot.
- All doubts and disputes in connection with election of the President are inquired into and decided by the Supreme Court whose decision is final. The election of a person as President cannot be challenged on the ground that the Electoral College was incomplete (i.e., existence of any vacancy among the members of Electoral College). If the election of a person as President is declared void by the Supreme Court, acts done by him before the date of such declaration of the Supreme Court are not invalidated and continue to remain in force. [Art. 71]
- The Constitution makers chose the indirect election due to the following reasons:
- The indirect election of the President is in harmony with the parliamentary system of government envisaged in the Constitution.
- The direct election of the President would have been very costly and time and energy consuming due to the vast size of the electorate. This is unwarranted keeping in view that he is only a symbolic head.
- Some members of the Constituent Assembly suggested that the President should be elected by the members of the two Houses of Parliament alone.
The makers of the Constitution did not prefer this as the Parliament, dominated by one political party, would have invariably chosen a candidate from that party and such a President could not represent the states of the Indian Union. The present system makes the President a representative of the Union and the states equally.
- Further, it was pointed out in the Constituent Assembly that the expression ‘proportional representation’ in the case of presidential election is a misnomer. Proportional representation takes place where two or more seats are to be filled. In case of the President, the vacancy is only one. It could better be called a preferential or alternative vote system. Similarly, the expression ‘single transferable vote’ was also objected on the ground that no voter has a single vote; every voter has plural votes.
Article 56. Term of office of President.—
(1) The President shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office: Provided that—
(a) the President may, by writing under his hand addressed to the Vice-President, resign his office;
(b) the President may, for violation of the Constitution, be removed from office by impeachment in the manner provided in article 61;
(c) the President shall, notwithstanding the expiration of his term, continue to hold office until his successor enters upon his office.
(2) Any resignation addressed to the Vice-President under clause (a) of the proviso to clause (1) shall forthwith be communicated by him to the Speaker of the House of the People.
Article 57. Eligibility for re-election.—
A person who holds, or who has held, office as President shall, subject to the other provisions of this Constitution, be eligible for re-election to that office.
- The President can hold office beyond his term of five years until his successor assumes charge. He is also eligible for re-election to that office. He may be elected for any number of terms.
Article 58. Qualifications for election as President.—
(1) No person shall be eligible for election as President unless he—
(a) is a citizen of India,
(b) has completed the age of thirty-five years, and
(c) is qualified for election as a member of the House of the People.
(2) A person shall not be eligible for election as President if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments. Explanation.—For the purposes of this article, a person shall not be deemed to hold any office of profit by reason only that he is the President or Vice-President of the Union or the Governor of any State or is a Minister either for the Union or for any State.
- The nomination of a candidate for election to the office of President must be subscribed by at least 50 electors as proposers and 50 electors as seconders. Every candidate has to make a security deposit of Rs 15,000 in the Reserve Bank of India. The security deposit is liable to be forfeited in case the candidate fails to secure one-sixth of the votes polled.
Article 59. Conditions of President’s office.—
(1) The President shall not be a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of the Legislature of any State, and if a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of the Legislature of any State be elected President, he shall be deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date on which he enters upon his office as President.
(2) The President shall not hold any other office of profit.
(3) The President shall be entitled without payment of rent to the use of his official residences and shall be also entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as may be determined by Parliament by law and, until provision in that behalf is so made, such emoluments, allowances and privileges as are specified in the Second Schedule.
(4) The emoluments and allowances of the President shall not be diminished during his term of office.
- The President is entitled to a number of privileges and immunities. He enjoys personal immunity from legal liability for his official acts. During his term of office, he is immune from any criminal proceedings, even in respect of his personal acts. He cannot be arrested or imprisoned. However, after giving two months’ notice, civil proceedings can be instituted against him during his term of office in respect of his personal acts.
Article 60. Oath or affirmation by the President.—
Every President and every person acting as President or discharging the functions of the President shall, before entering upon his office, make and subscribe in the presence of the Chief Justice of India or, in his absence, the senior-most Judge of the Supreme Court available, an oath or affirmation in the following form, that is to say—
- ―I, A.B., do swear in the name of God that I will faithfully execute the office solemnly affirm of President (or discharge the functions of the President) of India and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of India.”.
Article 61. Procedure for impeachment of the President.—
(1) When a President is to be impeached for violation of the Constitution, the charge shall be preferred by either House of Parliament.
(2) No such charge shall be preferred unless—
(a) the proposal to prefer such charge is contained in a resolution which has been moved after at least fourteen days’ notice in writing signed by not less than one-fourth of the total number of members of the House has been given of their intention to move the resolution, and
(b) such resolution has been passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House.
(3) When a charge has been so preferred by either House of Parliament, the other House shall investigate the charge or cause the charge to be investigated and the President shall have the right to appear and to be represented at such investigation.
(4) If as a result of the investigation a resolution is passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House by which the charge was investigated or caused to be investigated, declaring that the charge preferred against the President has been sustained, such resolution shall have the effect of removing the President from his office as from the date on which the resolution is so passed.
- An impeachment is a quasi-judicial procedure in the Parliament. In this context, two things should be noted: (a) the nominated members of either House of Parliament can participate in the impeachment of the President though they do not participate in his election; (b) the elected members of the legislative assemblies of states and the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry do not participate in the impeachment of the President though they participate in his election.
- No President has so far been impeached.
- President can defend himself by taking service of Attorney General of India or any other lawyer of his choice.
Article 62. Time of holding election to fill vacancy in the office of President and the term of office of person elected to fill casual vacancy.—
(1) An election to fill a vacancy caused by the expiration of the term of office of President shall be completed before the expiration of the term.
(2) An election to fill a vacancy in the office of President occurring by reason of his death, resignation or removal, or otherwise shall be held as soon as possible after, and in no case later than six months from, the date of occurrence of the vacancy; and the person elected to fill the vacancy shall, subject to the provisions of article 56, be entitled to hold office for the full term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office.
- A vacancy in the President’s office can occur in any of the following ways:
- On the expiry of his tenure of five years.
- By his resignation.
- On his removal by the process of impeachment.
- By his death. (Zakir Hussain and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad died in Office.)
- Otherwise, for example, when he becomes disqualified to hold office or when his election is declared void.
- Vacancy by the expiration, an election to fill the vacancy must be held before the expiration of the term. In case of any delay, President continues to hold office. This is provided by the Constitution in order to prevent an ‘interregnum’. The Vice-President does not get the opportunity
- If the office falls vacant by resignation, removal, death or otherwise, then election to fill the vacancy should be held within six months from the date of the occurrence of such a vacancy. The newly-elected President remains in office for a full term of five years from the date he assumes charge of his office. The Vice-President acts as the President until a new President is elected.
- In case the office of Vice-President is vacant, the Chief Justice of India (or if his office is also vacant, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court available) acts as the President or discharges the functions of the President. (When Zakir hussain died, V.V. Giri acted as President, soon he resigned to contest the election of President then M. Hidaytullah worked as officiating President from 20th July 1969 to 24 August 1969.)
- When any person is acting as the President or discharging the functions of the President, he enjoys all the powers and immunities of the President and is entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as are determined by the Parliament.