The President of India is the Head of State and the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. The President is indirectly elected by the people through elected members of both the houses of Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies of all the states and Legislative Assemblies New Delhi and Puducherry and serves for a renewable term of five years. The oath of the President is taken in the presence of the Chief Justice of India, and in his/her absence, by the most senior judge of the Supreme Court.
The Constitution of India states that the President can exercise his powers directly or by subordinate authority, with few exceptions, all of the executive authority vested in the President are, in practice, exercised by the Prime Minister with the help of the Council of Ministers.
The President of India resides in an estate in New Delhi known as the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which roughly translates as President's House. The 13th and current President is Pranab Mukherjee, who was elected on 22 July 2012, and sworn in on 25 July 2012. He is also the first Bengali to be elected as President.
India achieved independence from the British on 15 August 1947, initially as a Dominion within the Commonwealth of Nations with George VI as king, represented in the country by a governor-general. Still, following this, the Constituent Assembly of India, under the leadership of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, undertook the process of drafting a completely new constitution for the country. The Constitution of India was eventually enacted on 26 November 1949 and came into force on 26 January 1950, making India a republic. The offices of monarch and governor-general were replaced by the new office of President of India, with Rajendra Prasad as the first incumbent.
The primary duty of the President is to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and the law of India as made part of his oath (Indian constitution). The President is the common head of all independent constitutional entities. All his actions, recommendations and supervisory powers over the executive and legislative entities of India shall be used in accordance to uphold the constitution. There is no bar on the actions of the President to contest in the court of law.
Legislative power is constitutionally vested by the Parliament of India of which the president is the head, to facilitate the law making process as per the constitution. The President summons both the Houses (the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha) of the Parliament and prorogues them.
All bills passed by the Parliament can become laws only after receiving the assent of the President. When either of the two Houses of the Parliament of India is not in session, and if the government feels the need for an immediate procedure, the President can promulgate ordinances which have the same force and effect as laws passed by Parliament. These are in the nature of interim or temporary legislation and their continuance is subject to parliamentary approval.
The President appoints, as Prime Minister, the person most likely to command the support of the majority in the Lok Sabha (usually the leader of the majority party or coalition). The President then appoints the other members of the Council of Ministers, distributing portfolios to them on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The Council of Ministers remains in power at the 'pleasure' of the President.
The President appoints 12 members of the Rajya Sabha from amongst persons who have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service.
The President is responsible for making a wide variety of appointments. These include::72
The President appoints the Chief Justice of the Union Judiciary and other judges on the advice of the Chief Justice. He dismisses the judges if and only if the two Houses of the Parliament pass resolutions to that effect by a two-thirds majority of the members present. According to Indian Constitution, if the President considers a question of law or a matter of public importance has arisen, he can ask for the advisory opinion of the Supreme Court.
All international treaties and agreements are negotiated and concluded on behalf of the President. However, in practice, such negotiations are usually carried out by the Prime Minister along with his Cabinet (especially the Foreign Minister). Also, such treaties are subject to the approval of the Parliament. The President represents India in international forums and affairs where such a function is chiefly ceremonial. The President may also send and receive diplomats, i.e. the officers from the Indian Foreign Service. The President is the first citizen of the country.
The President is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. The President can declare war or conclude peace, on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. All-important treaties and contracts are made in the President's name. He also appoints the chiefs of the service branches of the armed forces.
A national emergency can be declared in the whole of India or a part of its territory for causes of war or armed rebellion or an external aggression. Such an emergency was declared in India in 1962 (Indo-China war), 1971 (Indo-Pakistan war), and 1975 to 1977 (declared by Indira Gandhi.)
The India Constitution, the President can declare such an emergency only on the basis of a written request by the Cabinet Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. Such a proclamation must be approved by the Parliament within one month. Such an emergency can be imposed for six months. It can be extended by six months by repeated parliamentary approval-there is no maximum duration.
National Emergency has only been proclaimed in India twice till date. It was declared first in 1962 by President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, during the Sino-Indian War. The second emergency in India was from 1975-77 proclaimed by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, with Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister.
The Constitution sets the principle qualifications one must meet to be eligible to the office of the President. A President must be:
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.
Certain office-holders, however, are permitted to stand as Presidential candidates. These are:
In the event that the Vice President, a State Governor or a Minister is elected President, they are considered to have vacated their previous office on the date they begin serving as President.
Certain conditions, as per the Constitution, debar an otherwise eligible citizen from contesting the presidential elections. The conditions are:
The President is required to make and subscribe in the presence of the Chief Justice of India (or in his absence, the senior-most Judge of the Supreme Court), an oath or affirmation that he/she shall protect, preserve and defend the Constitution as follows:
I, (name), do swear in the name of God (or solemnly affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President (or discharge the functions of the President) of the Republic 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 the Republic of India.
— Constitution of India
The Rashtrapati Bhavan, "Presidential Residence" is the official home of the President of India, located in New Delhi, India. It may refer to only the mansion (the 340-room main building) that has the president's official residence, halls, guest rooms and offices, it may also refer to the entire 130-hectare (320 acre) President Estate that additionally includes huge presidential gardens (Mughal Gardens), large open spaces, residences of bodyguards and staff, stables, other offices and utilities within its perimeter walls. The main palace building was formerly known as Viceroy's House. In terms of area, was the largest residence of a head of state in the world until the Presidential Complex of Turkey opened 29 October 2014.
Rashtrapati Nilayam (literally the "President's House") originally known as Residency House is the official retreat of the President of India located in Hyderabad, Telangana, India, where President stays for at least once a year and conducts official business. It is also used as a guest house for visiting dignitaries. It is located in Bolarum, Secunderabad. It was thrown open for public viewing from 1 January to 10 January, with entry being free.
The President's Bodyguards
The President's Bodyguard (PBG) is an elite household cavalry regiment of the Indian Army. It is senior-most in the order of precedence of the units of the Indian Army. The primary role of the President's Bodyguard is to escort and protect the President of India which is why the regiment is based in the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, India. It is equipped as a mounted unit, with horses for ceremonies at the presidential palace and BTR-60 vehicles for use in combat. The personnel of the regiment are also trained as paratroopers and nominally are expected to lead in airborne assaults in the role of pathfinders. The regiment is the successor of the Governor General's Bodyguard of the British Raj.
Air India One
Air India One (also referred to as AI-1 or AIC001) is the call sign of any aircraft with the Prime Minister or President of India on-board. Air India is the national airline of India. The aircraft are operated as VIP flights by the Indian Air Force (IAF). The IAF's Air Headquarters Communication Squadron, based at Indira Gandhi International Airport (formerly Palam Air Force Base) in New Delhi, is in charge of operating these aircraft.
Rajendra Prasad was the first President of the Republic of India. An Indian political leader, lawyer by training, Prasad joined the Indian National Congress during the Indian independence movement and became a major leader from the region of Bihar.
General information: 1st President of India
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was an Indian philosopher and statesman who was the first Vice President of India and the second President of India from 1962 to 1967.
General information: 2nd President of India
Zakir Husain was the 3rd President of India, from 13 May 1967 until his death on 3 May 1969. An educator and intellectual, Husain was the country's first Muslim president, and also the first to die in office.
General information: 3rd President of India
Varahagiri Venkata Giri, commonly known as V. V. Giri, was the fourth President of the Republic of India from 24 August 1969 to 24 August 1974.
General information: 4th President of India
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was the fifth President of India from 1974 to 1977.
General information: 5th President of India
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was the sixth President of India, serving from 1977 to 1982. Beginning a long political career with the Indian National Congress party in the Indian independence movement, he went on to hold several key offices in independent India—as the first Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, a two-time Speaker of the Lok Sabha and a Union Minister—before becoming the youngest-ever Indian president.
General information: 6th President of India
Gyani Zail Singh was the seventh President of India, serving from 1982 to 1987. Prior to his presidency, he was a politician with the Indian National Congress party, and had held several ministerial posts in the Union Cabinet, including that of Home Minister.
His presidency was marked by Operation Blue Star, the assassination of Indira Gandhi, and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. He died of injuries in 1994 after a car accident.
General information: 7th President of India
Ramaswamy Venkataraman was an Indian lawyer, Indian independence activist and politician who served as a Union minister and as the eighth President of India.
Venkataraman was born in Rajamadam village in Tanjore district, Madras Presidency. He studied law and practised in the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court of India. In his young age, he was an activist of the Indian independence movement and participated in the Quit India Movement. He was appointed member of the Constituent Assembly and the provisional cabinet. He was elected to Lok Sabha four times and served as Union Finance Minister and Defence Minister. In 1984, he was elected the seventh Vice-President of India and in 1987, he became the 8th President of India and served from 1987 to 1992. He also served as a State minister under K. Kamaraj and M. Bhaktavatsalam.
General information: 8th President of India
Shankar Dayal Sharma was the ninth President of India, serving from 1992 to 1997. Prior to his presidency, Sharma had been the eighth Vice President of India, serving under R. Venkataraman. He was also Chief Minister (1952–1956) of Bhopal, and Cabinet Minister (1956–1967), holding the portfolios of Education, Law, Public Works, Industry and Commerce, National Resources and Separate Revenue. He was the President of the Indian National Congress in 1972–1974 and returned to government as Union Minister for Communications from 1974 to 1977.
The International Bar Association presented Sharma with the 'Living Legends of Law Award of Recognition' for his outstanding contribution to the legal profession internationally and for commitment to the rule of law.
General information: 9th President of India
Kocheril Raman Narayanan was the tenth President of India. Born in Perumthanam, Uzhavoor village, in the princely state of Travancore (present day Kottayam district, Kerala), and after a brief stint with journalism and then studying political science at the London School of Economics with the assistance of a scholarship, Narayanan began his career in India as a member of the Indian Foreign Service in the Nehru administration. He served as ambassador to Japan, United Kingdom, Thailand, Turkey, People's Republic of China and United States of America and was referred to by Nehru as "the best diplomat of the country".
General information: 10th President of India
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen "A. P. J." Abdul Kalam was the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. A career scientist turned politician, Kalam was born and raised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, and studied physics and aerospace engineering. He spent the next four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was intimately involved in India's civilian space program and military missile development efforts. He thus came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. He also played a pivotal organizational, technical, and political role in India's Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974.
Kalam was elected as the 11th President of India in 2002 with the support of both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the then-opposition Indian National Congress. Widely referred to as the "People's President," he returned to his civilian life of education, writing and public service after a single term. He was a recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.
While delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong, Kalam collapsed and died from an apparent cardiac arrest on 27 July 2015, aged 83. Thousands including national-level dignitaries attended the funeral ceremony held in his hometown of Rameshwaram, where he was buried with full state honours.
General information: 11th President of India
Pratibha Devisingh Patil is an Indian politician who served as the 12th President of India from 2007 to 2012. A member of the Indian National Congress, Patil is the only woman to hold the office. She previously served as the Governor of Rajasthan from 2004 to 2007.
General information: 12th President of India
Pranab Kumar Mukherjee is the 13th and current President of India, in office since July 2012. In a political career spanning six decades, Mukherjee was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and occupied several ministerial portfolios in the Government of India. Prior to his election as President, Mukherjee was Union Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012, and the Congress party's top troubleshooter.
Mukherjee got his break in politics in 1969 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi helped him get elected to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament, on a Congress ticket. Following a meteoric rise, he became one of Indira Gandhi's most trusted lieutenants, and a minister in her cabinet by 1973. During the controversial Internal Emergency of 1975–77, he was accused (like several other Congress leaders) of committing gross excesses. Mukherjee's service in a number of ministerial capacities culminated in his first stint as finance minister in 1982–84. Mukherjee was also Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha from 1980 to 1985.
Mukherjee was sidelined from the Congress during the premiership of Rajiv Gandhi, Indira's son. Mukherjee had viewed himself, and not the inexperienced Rajiv, as the rightful successor to Indira following her assassination in 1984. Mukherjee lost out in the ensuing power struggle. He formed his own party, the Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress, which merged with the Congress in 1989 after reaching a consensus with Rajiv Gandhi. Mukherjee's political career revived when Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao appointed him Planning Commission head in 1991 and foreign minister in 1995. Following this, as elder statesman of the Congress, Mukherjee was the principal and architect of Sonia Gandhi's ascension to the party's presidency in 1998.
When the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came into power in 2004, Mukherjee won a Lok Sabha (the popularly elected lower house of Parliament) seat for the first time. From then until his resignation in 2012, Mukherjee was practically number-two in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government. He held a number of key cabinet portfolios—Defence (2004–06), External Affairs (2006–09) and Finance (2009–12)—apart from heading several Groups of Ministers (GoMs) and being Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha. After securing the UPA's nomination for the country's presidency, in July 2012 Mukherjee comfortably defeated P. A. Sangma in the race to Rashtrapati Bhavan, winning 70 percent of the electoral-college vote.
General information: 13th President of India
The Union Cabinet approved the signing of the Paris Agreement for dealing with climate change..