Judicial and Miscellaneous Power of President

Some of the major judicial and miscellaneous powers and functions of the President are :

  1. “The President has the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted by any offence [Article 72(1)].
  2. He has the power to make rules and regulations relating to various matters of governance (Article 77).
  3. He has the power to give instructions to the Governor to promulgate an ordinance if a bill containing the same provisions requires the previous sanction of the President under the Constitution [Article 213 (1), Proviso].
  4. He has the power to refer any question of public importance for the opinion of the Supreme Court. Already a number of such references have been made since 1950 [Article 143, under ‘Advisory Jurisdiction’]. Emergency Provisions : “There are certain emergency situations which when proclaimed by the President leads to the extension of the powers of the Parliament and the President.

A brief discussion of the emergency provisions can be given here under: “The President can declare three types of emergencies: National emergency (Article 352) State emergency (Article 356) and Financial emergency (Article 360). National emergency is caused by war, external aggression or armed rebellion in the whole of India or a part of its territory. Such an emergency (under 352) was declared in India in 1962 (Indo-China war), 1965 (Indo Pakistan war), and in 1975 and 1977 (during the rule of Indira Gandhi on account of “internal disturbances”).

“The President can declare such an emergency only on the basis of a written request by the cabinet headed by the Prime Minister. Such a proclamation must be approved by the Parliament within one month. Such an emergency can be imposed at one time for six months. It can be extended for six months again and again by repeatedly parliamentary approvals. In such an emergency, the fundamental rights of the Indian citizens can be suspended. However, the right to life and personal liberty under Article 352 emergency cannot be suspended. Emergency under Article 356 is declared when there is failure of constitutional machinery in a state. Nearly all states have undergone this type of an emergency. It is also known as President’s rule. If the President is satisfied, on the basis of the report of the Governor of the concerned State or otherwise that the governance in a State is not being carried out according to the provisions of the Constitution, he can declare emergency in that state. Such an emergency must be approved by the Parliament within a period of two months. It is imposed for six months at one time and can remain in force for a maximum period of three years with parliamentary approvals every six months.

If the emergency needs to be extended for more than three years, a constitutional amendment, as had happened in Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir, is obligatory. During such an emergency, the President can take over the entire administration of the concerned State, and the Governor administers the state in the name of the President. “The Legislative Assembly is either dissolved or may put in suspended animation. “The Parliament makes laws on all the subjects of the State List. If the President is satisfied that there is a financial situation in which the financial stability or credit of India is threatened, he can proclaim financial emergency as per the provisions of Constitution’s Article 360. Such an emergency must be approved by the Parliament within two months. Such emergency has never been declared.

A state of financial emergency remains in force until revoked by the President. During the financial emergency, the President can ask for the reduction of the salaries of all government officials, including those of the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. All money bills passed by the State Legislatures are sent to the President for his approval (Article 360), while directing the States to observe certain economy measures norms relating to financial matters.

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