Veto Power of the President

Article 111

According to article 111 of Indian Constitution, A bill passed by the Houses of Parliament can become an act only if it receives the assent of the President.

When a bill comes to the President for its affirmation, he has 3 options –

  • He may give his assent to the bill.
  • He may with hold his assent to the bill.
  • He may return the bill.
    Thus, President has the Veto power over the bills passed by the Parliament i.e, he can withhold his assent to the bills.

Object of this Power

  • To prevent hasty and ill-considered legislation by the Parliament.
  • To prevent a legislation which may be unconstitutional.

Types of Veto Powers

  • Absolute veto
  • Qualified veto
  • Suspensive veto
  • Pocket veto

Absolute Veto- It refers to the power of the president to withhold his assent to a bill passed by the Parliament. The bill then ends & does not become an act. Usually this veto is exercised in the following two cases:

  • With respect to Private members bills.
  • With respect to government bills when the cabinet resigns after the passage of the bills but before the assent of the president and the new cabinet advises the president not to give his assent to such bill.

Example- In 1954, President Dr. Rajendra Prasad withheld his assent to the PEPSU appropriation bill.
Again in 1991, President or Venkataraman withheld Salary, allowances and pension of member of parliament amendment bill.

Qualified Veto – It can be overridden by the legislature with a higher majority. There is no qualified veto in the case of Indian president, it is possessed by the American president.

Suspensive Veto – The President exercises this veto when he returns bill for reconsideration of the Parliament.
However, if the bill is passed again by the Parliament with or without amendments and again presented to the president, it is obligatory for the President to give his assent to the bill.
This means that the Presidential veto is overridden by a re-passage of the bill by the same ordinary majority and not a higher majority as required in USA.
President does not possess this veto power in the case of money bills.

Pocket Veto – In this case, the President neither ratifies nor rejects nor returns the bill but simply keep the bill pending for an indefinite period.
The President can exercise this veto power as the constitution does not prescribe any time limit within which he has to take the decision with respect to a bill presented to him for his assent.
In USA, The president has to return the bill for reconsideration within 10 days. Hence it is remarked that the pocket of the Indian president is bigger than that of the American President.
President has no veto power in respect of a constitutional amendment bill.- [Added by 24th constitutional amendment act 1971.]

Also Read:

History of Indian Constitution

The Supreme Court Of India- Basics

National Emergency- Article 352


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