The Constitution of India provides for a parliamentary form of Government, with the President as the head of the Indian Union. The President is not directly elected by the people of India. Instead, he is elected by an electoral college, consisting of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament and the elected members of the State Legislative Assemblies. Voting is done by secret ballot. Each member of the Legislative Assembly has as many votes as are obtained by the formula: Total population of State divided by 1000 Total elected members of the Assembly Each member of Parliament will have as many votes as obtained by the formula: Total number of votes assigned to Assemblies divided by 1000 Total number of elected members of Parliament The candidate who wishes to contest the election must fulfil the following conditions : (i) He should be a citizen of India. (ii) He must not be less than 35 years of age. (iii) He should be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha. (iv) He should not hold any office of profit under the government of India or a local body. (v) He must not be a member of Parliament or any State Legislature. The President holds office for a term of five years and is eligible for re-election. He can be impeached by the Parliament for violation of the Constitution. He may also resign in writing, by communicating his resignation to the Vice-President, who will then communicate it to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. It is interesting, however, that the President is a mere constitutional head with very little real powers. The real power is exercised by the Prime Minister with the help of the Council of Ministers. On paper, the President enjoys the following executive, legislative, financial, judicial and emergency powers. (i) All executive actions are taken in his name. (ii) He is the supreme commander of the defence forces. (iii) He can summon, prorogue, address and send messages to the two Houses of Parliament and gives assent to bills passed by the Parliament. (iv) He makes certain appointments, such as those of the Prime Minister and other ministers of the Union Government, Diplomats, Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, members of the Union Public Service Commission, the Controller and Auditor General, Attorney General, Election Commissioner, etc. (v) He can grant pardon to criminals and suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases. (vi) He can issue ordinances when the Parliament is not in session. (vii) He has the power to declare war or peace. (viii) He can declare a state of emergency arising due to (a) war (b) external aggression (c) internal disturbances (d) failure of constitutional machinery in any state (s) (e) threat to financial stability or credit of India. The President is entitled to an official rent-free residence.
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