(Expressed opinions are personal.)
Shri Pranab Mukherjee, an Indian politician who served as the 13th President of India from 2012 until 2017, passed away on 31 August 2020. He was a stalwart politician, respected across all parties.
In this context, let us understand what is the function/power of the President of India under the Indian Constitution. According to Article 53 of the Constitution, the President is vested with the executive powers of the Union. He is designated as the formal head of the Union executive.
His power/functions can be divided into the following areas:
Administrative powers and functions
Military powers and function
Diplomatic powers and functions
Legislative powers and functions
Power to grant pardon
Emergency powers and functions
Miscellaneous powers and functions
Administrative powers and functions:
It refers to the implementation of laws and the administration of various departments of the government. All decisions of the Union executives are expressed in the name of the President, because he is the head of the union executive.
He has a right to seek information about the conduct of the affairs of the Union. He has powers to appoint and remove various high officials.
Military powers and function:
According to Article 53 (2) of the Constitution, the President is the supreme commander of the Armed Forces of the Union. He exercises this command according to law. He appoints chief of armed forces subject to the regulations regarding seniority and other formalities.
Under this head of power, he can declare war and peace and he can deploy armed forces. Parliament can regulate the military powers of the President by law.
Diplomatic powers and functions:
It includes power to
-enter into treaties with foreign countries;
-represent India in foreign affairs;
-determine the framework of foreign policy;
-execute and conduct foreign policy and relations.
However, these powers are subject to the ratification and approval of Parliament.
Legislative powers and functions:
The President is a part of Parliament. His legislative powers can briefly be summaries as under:
Power to dissolve the House of the People and summon each House from time to time and prorogue the House of Parliament.
His right to address and send messages to Houses;
Power to lay down some reports at the floor of Parliament;
Requirement of prior consent of the President on the Bills passes by Parliament;
Requirement of the assent of the President on the Bills passed by Parliament;
Power to assent the bills passed by the Legislature of States;
Power to issue ordinances;
Power to grant pardon:
The President is given, vide Article 72, the power to grant pardon, commutation, remission, respite and reprieve any sentence.
Emergency powers and functions:
The President has power to proclaim national emergency under Article 356, to impose Presidential rule under Article 365 and to proclaim Financial Emergency under Article 360 of the Constitution.
Miscellaneous powers and functions:
These powers of the President are also very wide. He can make rules with respect to various matters like public accounts, service conditions of persons of the central and Parliamentary Secretariats, appointment of Governor for two or more states and so on. He is also empowered under Article 143 to refer any matter of the Supreme Court for its opinion. He is also empowered to perform various functions with respect to Union Territories, Welfare of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.