The Impeachment Procedure of the President of India

Article 61 of our Constitution deals with the procedure of impeachment of the President. When a President is to be impeached for the violation of the Constitution, the charge shall be preferred by either House of Parliament.

Before the charge is preferred by either House of Parliament, the proposal should contain in a form of resolution and to move such a resolution at least fourteen days’ notice should be given with the signature of at least one-fourth of the total number of members of the House.

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Only after the expiry of fourteen days, such a resolution will be discussed in the House which has preferred the charges against the President. If thirds majority of the total membership of that House approve it will be referred to the other House.

The other House may investigate the charge or cause the charge to be investigated by a special body and the President shall have the right to appear and to be present at such investigation.

After such investigation if the charges against the President are established and to that effect a resolution is passed by the House with two-thirds majority of its total membership, the President is impeached and ceases to hold the office from the date of passing such resolution.

The justification for a two-thirds majority has a special significance. An impeachment against the President is not like a no-confidence motion which may be passed with simple majority.

The highest office of the land should be treated with all seriousness and gravity. If the President has the support of one-third plus one members of a House, he cannot be impeached.

The President is entitled to a monthly salary of Rs. 1, 50,000/- and other allowances and privileges. He is also entitled to have an official residence free of rent. The President’s Pension Act, provides that the President after the expiration of his term of office or resignation is entitled to a pension of Rs. 75, 000/- per month for the remainder of his life.

His salary and pensions are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. The President is eligible for re-election. There is no constitutional bar for a person to contest for the office of the President for several times. However, late Dr. Rajendra Prasad established a convention by not contesting for a third term. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan remained as President for one term only.

It is expected that the convention established by Dr. Prasad may be followed by future incumbents.. In case of removal, death, or resignation of the President, the Vice-President will succeed to the office. Unlike the U.S. Constitution, he does not hold the office for the rest of the term. Within six months of the vacancy, there shall be a next election for the post of President.

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