Veto Powers of the President of India

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The President of India is the head of state and he is also the first citizen of India. He/She exercises different powers of the three branches of government that are legislative, executive, and judiciary. Apart from that, the head of the state also exercises other powers like military, diplomatic, financial, and emergency. Another power exercised by the President of India is the Veto power. The Veto Powers are crucial in the political scenario and are an important power exercised by the President of India.In this article, we will know about the Veto powers of the President of India, the four Veto options of the Indian President, other Veto Powers of Worldwide Presidents, and some controversies surrounding Veto powers.

There is also an FAQ section where the most asked questions are answered. Before we move on to that, let us first understand “what is Veto power?

What is Veto Power?

  • Legislative proposals or bills are tabled and passed by the Parliament of India. Before these bills can become an act, they need to be presented to the President of India who will either accept or reject the bill.
  • This power of deciding if a Parliamentary bill will become an Act is called the Veto Power of the President.
  • Article 111 of the Indian Constitution gives the President the right to exercise all the Veto powers.

This Veto Power is granted because of two reasons:

  • Preventing Parliament from passing ill-considered and hasty legislation laws.
  • Preventing unconstitutional legislation.

What are the Different Veto Powers of the Indian President?

There are three different Veto powers of the Indian President:

Absolute Veto Powers

Absolute Veto Powers can be defined as the power invested by the Indian President to withhold assent to the bill. Although the bill is passed, it is not yet enacted.

The President of India Uses His Absolute Veto Powers in the following two cases:

When the Parliament bill is a Private Member bill which means it is not a government bill but a private bill passed by non-ministers.

If the cabinet has resigned before the President assented to the bill, the latter may use his absolute veto powers. The new cabinet may either advise the President to go for or against the bill’s assent.

Absolute Veto Powers were exercised by Dr. Rajendra Prasad in the year 1954.

Absolute Veto powers were also used by India’s President, R Venkataraman in the year 1991.

Suspensive Veto Powers

Suspensive Veto Powers can be defined as the power invested by the Indian President to return the bill to the Parliament for its revaluation.

If the Parliament doesn’t reconsider the Bill, makes no amendments, and resends it, the President has to accept the bill and he won’t be able to exercise any of his veto powers.

– In case of bills passed by the state, the state legislature would not be able to override the Suspensive powers of the President. In this instance, the government may choose to withhold the bill for the President’s consideration.

The ordinary majority in the house must resend the bill back to the President.

A money Bill is an exception in which the President cannot exercise Suspensive Veto powers.

Pocket Veto Powers

Pocket Veto powers can be defined as the powers invested with the Indian President where he would choose to keep the status of a bill pending for an indefinite period.

The President with his Pocket veto Powers neither rejects the bill nor returns the bill for revaluation.

There is not any particular period within which the Bill has to be acted upon by the President.

In 1986, the Pocket Veto Powers were used by President Zail Singh.

The President has no Pocket Veto powers in case of constitutional amendment bills.

The Four Veto Options of the Indian President

There are four options for the Indian President in exercising the Veto Powers:

He may sign the parliamentary bill or veto it.

He may refuse to sign the parliamentary bill or veto it.

The President may return the bill to the state legislature for reconsideration or veto it.

As already stated, the governor has the option of reserving the Parliamentary bill for the President’s consideration.

Other Veto Powers of Worldwide Presidents

Qualified Veto Powers

A qualified Veto can be overridden by the legislature with a greater majority like two-thirds or three-fifths. This only delays the law from coming into force. This type of Veto power is enjoyed by the American President. Qualified Veto power is not available in India.

Types of Bills for Veto Powers of the President

The President can ratify, reject and return Ordinary bills.

The President can ratify and reject Money Bills but not return them.

The President can ratify Constitutional Amendment Bills but cannot reject or return them.

Controversies

1950 – The President questioned the elements of the Bihar Zamindari Abolition Bill which he believed was an inadequate compensation for people whose lands were nationalized. Nehru’s Cabinet reconsidered the Bill and Dr. Rajendra Prasad gave the due permission.

1951 – PM of India Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to modify the Hindu family law through certain legislation, but President Rajendra Prasad differed in his viewpoint.

The PM told the President that he doesn’t have a right to a different viewpoint than what the Parliament wants.

Nehru read Article 111 only as a routine activity and considered that the President was merely to rubber-stamp the assent on Bills without having a say.

Many lawyers fought on his behalf to prove his point.

1987 – The Indian Post Office (Amendment) Bill 1986 which provided the executive extensive powers to intercept personal communication violated the right to privacy according to the President of India Rajendra Prasad.

He introduced certain changes to it on two occasions but killed the Bill by doing nothing about it.

2006 – The Office of Profit Bill, 2006 which was passed by the Parliament was returned by the then president of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

The bill was a self-serving piece of legislation that secured members from disqualification with retrospective effect.

The bill was later resent to the President and it was finally approved.

Wrap Up!

The Veto Power is a Power exercised by the President of India that enables him/her to accept or reject a bill.

There are three types of Veto powers, Absolute Veto powers, Suspensive, and Pocket Veto powers.

While the former withholds assent to a bill, the latter two returns the bill and decide inaction in response to the bill.

Different Presidents have exercised different Veto Powers in the past.

Another Veto Power that is found in America is the Qualified Veto power which can be overridden by the legislature by a greater majority.

Also, there are different controversies associated with the Veto powers in India.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is meant by veto power?

A Bill is passed in the Parliament of India which needs to be approved by the President of India before becoming an Act. The power that the President exercises in such a situation is known as Veto Power.

What veto power does the President have?

The President has mainly three Veto Powers:

Absolute Veto power: Absolute veto Power can be defined as the power of the president to withhold assent to a Parliamentary bill.

Suspensive Veto power: Suspensive Veto power can be defined as the power of the President to return the Parliamentary bill for reconsideration.

Pocket Veto Powers: Pocket Veto Powers can be defined as the power of the President to not act on the parliamentary bill.

Who uses the first veto power?

Russia has been the first country to use the Veto power since the 1990s.

How veto power can be removed?

There is no legal mechanism to remove veto power.

Is a qualified veto available in India?

Qualified Veto Power is not exercised by the President of India.

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