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Impeachment of the President of India



  May 16, 2024

Impeachment of the President of India



Process Summary

Grounds for Impeachment: The President can only be impeached for "violation of the Constitution."

Initiation: Either house of Parliament can initiate the impeachment process against the President for violation of the Constitution.Impeachment means bringing charges.

Notice and Proposal: A resolution containing the charge must be moved with at least 14 days' written notice, signed by not less than one-fourth of the total members of the house.

Resolution: The resolution to prefer such charge must be passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the house.

Investigation: The other house of Parliament investigates or causes the investigation of the charge. The President has the right to appear and be represented during this investigation.

Removal: If the investigating house passes a resolution by a majority of not less than two-thirds of its total membership, declaring the charge sustained, the President is removed from office from the date of the resolution's passage.

Total Membership

Total Membership: The two-thirds majority required for passing the resolution is calculated based on the total sanctioned strength of each house, regardless of absences or vacancies.Example: For the Lok Sabha (Lower House), the total membership is 543, and for the Rajya Sabha (Upper House), it is 245.

"Violation of the Constitution"

The term "violation of the Constitution" is not specifically defined in the Constitution, leaving it open to interpretation.It could mean for example, not following the advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister after after the advice has been sent back and reconsidered and re-submitted(Art.74). Vetoing a Bill against the advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. The President's post is ceremonial for all practical purposes.

COMPARISON OF IMPEACHMENT PROCEDURES: INDIA AND THE UNITED STATES

Aspect India United States
Initiating Body Either House of Parliament can initiate the impeachment process. Only the House of Representatives can initiate the impeachment process.
Majority Required for Initiation Requires a two-thirds majority of the total membership of the House for the initial resolution. Requires a simple majority in the House of Representatives.
Investigation and Trial The other House investigates or causes the investigation. The Senate conducts the trial, with the Chief Justice presiding if the President is being tried.
Conviction Requirement A two-thirds majority of the total membership of the investigating House is required to sustain the charges and remove the President. A two-thirds majority of the Senators present is required to convict and remove the President.
Grounds for Impeachment Violation of the Constitution. Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. 3
Use of Term "Impeachment" Used only for the President of India Used for the President, Vice President, and all civil officers.

Conclusion

Both the Indian and American procedures for impeachment involve multiple steps and require significant majorities for conviction and removal of the President, ensuring that such a grave measure is undertaken with due seriousness and broad support.


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