President of India
The current President of India is Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
India became formally independent of the United Kingdom in August of 1947. However, the country remained a Commonwealth Realm and continued to observe the British monarch as Head of State, with the title downgrading from Emperor of India to King of India in 1948 after independence. The monarch was still represented by a Governor-General of India appointed by the King, but now on the advice of the Prime Minister of India.
Many Indians felt this system still had colonial overtones, and was not appropriate for a truly sovereign nation. In January of 1950 the government of Jawaharlal Nehru thus voted to change the Indian constitution, replacing the Governor-General with an elected president. The amendment passed, and on January 26, 1950 Rajendra Prasad became the first President of India.
The move ended India's status as a Commonwealth Realm, but thanks to Nehru's negotiations, India was permitted to remain in the Commonwealth of Nations. Nehru argued that a nation should be allowed to stay in the Commonwealth simply by observing the British monarch as "Head of the Commonwealth" but not necessarily Head of State. This was a ground-breaking decision that would allow for many other republics to remain in the Commonwealth in future years.
Article 52 of the Constitution of India provides for a President of India. The Constitution requires that the President be a citizen of India, but it is not a condition that he be born a citizen. Article 53 states that executive power of the Union shall vest in the President, who shall exercise directly or through officers under him, this power in accordance with the Constitution. This provision is similar to the provision under Article II of the US Constitution.
A remarkable feature under the Indian constitution is Article 53 whereby parliament has the authority to confer powers and functions exercised by the president to any other authority.
An Indian President may be elected for any number of terms.
Although the Constitution explicitly says that the president is the executive head of the state, the real executive power is exercised by the council of ministers and Prime minister at the helm of it. This is to be inferred from Article 74 of the Indian Constitution, indicating a "... council of ministers to aid and advise the President who shall, in exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice".
The President of India's main function is the formal summoning and swearing-in of the Prime Minister.
The President is elected whenever the office becomes vacant by an electoral college consisting of:
Each elector casts a different number of votes. The general principle is that the total votes cast by Members of Parliament equals the total votes cast by Legislators. Also, legislators from larger states cast more votes than those from smaller states. Finally, the number of legislators in a state matters; if a state has a few legislators, then each legislator has relatively more votes; if a state has many legislators, then each legislator has fewer votes.
The actual calculation for votes cast by a particular state is calculated by dividing the state's population by 1000, which is divided again by the number of legislators from the State voting in the electoral college. This number is the number of votes per legislator in a given state. For votes cast by those in Parliament, the total number of votes cast by all state legislators is divided by the number of members of both Houses of Parliament. This is the number of votes per member of either house of Parliament. (Note that India's electoral college is provided by law, not by the Constitution.)
The constitution also provides the mechanism for the impeachment of the President (Article 61) for the violation of the Constitution. The place of the president is peculiar in the Indian governmental setup. His functions are to be exercised in accordance with the aid and advice of the council of ministers but powers are to be exercised by the President however the rider in favour of parliament vides Article 53 of the Constitution.
The president of India swears before entering the office of the president that he shall protect, preserve and defend the Constitution (Article 60) which provides for an executive head of state who is nominal or ceremonial. The Indian Constitution must be seen as a purveyor of a system of governance where a mixture of presidential and parliamentary systems could be located.
The choosing of the President is often done to appease religious minorities in India. There have thus been a few non-Hindu Presidents of the country, including several Muslims and one Sikh. There has even been a President who was a member of the untouchables class.
List of Governors-General of India after independence
List of Presidents of India
sv:Indiens presidenter och premiärministrar