In News: India is going to elect its new President on July 18. This has bought the focus on the role of President to intervene on behalf of the citizenry against the tyranny of the executive.
Importance of this office in the governance of the country
Method of election of the President – People’s role
- It is an indirect election.
- Under Article 54, the President is elected by an electoral college consisting of only the elected members of both Houses of Parliament and the elected members of the State and Union Territory Assemblies.
- A matter of importance in this context is the vote value of Members of the Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) and the formula for its computation.
- The vote of an MLA is assigned a certain higher value.
- The point is that in the computation of the value, the population of the State figures in a significant way.
- The population of the country is a crucial factor in the election of the President, which means the people’s presence in the process of electing the President is very much visible.
- This also gives the President a greater moral authority.
- So, the Indian President is not and cannot be a mere rubber stamp.
- He does not directly exercise the executive authority of the Union, but he can disagree with the decision of the Council of Ministers, caution them, counsel them, and so on.
- The President can ask the Cabinet to reconsider its decisions.
- The Constitution of India wants the President to be vigilant and responsive, and gives the freedom to him or her to take a broader view of things uninfluenced by the narrow political view of the executive.
- This point becomes clearer when we take a look at the oath the President takes before entering office. The oath contains two solemn promises.
- First, the President shall preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
- Second, the President shall devote himself or herself to the service and the well-being of the people of India.
Thus he is bound to intervene on behalf of the citizenry against the tyranny of the executive.
There were Presidents such as Rajendra Prasad and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan who openly differed with the government on certain policy issues and could exert tremendous influence on the government. Thus, it is possible for a President to disagree with the government or intervene on behalf of the citizenry against the tyranny of the executive and persuade it to give up its ways.
Source: The Hindu