Veto Powers of the President of India

Monday, August 10, 2020

In case of any bill passed by the Parliament and presented to the President for his/her assent, he/she has three options as prescribed under the Article 111:- 

  1. Give assent to the Bill,
  2. Withhold assent to the Bill, and 
  3. Return the Bill for reconsideration of the Parliament (Not in the case of Money Bill).

The system of assent was prescribed in the constitution to prevent:- 

  1. Any kind of legislation, which were brought in hast, without any proper checks.
  2. Any unconstitutional legislation. (Also Read: All About the President of India)

Types of Veto Powers Exercised by the President Across the World

There are four types of Veto powers, exercised by Presidents across the world, those are:-

  1. Absolute Veto:- In this type of veto a president can reject legislation passed by the legislature.
  2. Qualified Veto:- In this type of Veto president may return the Bill for reconsideration of the legislature and to override the veto legislature have to pass the Bill special or extraordinary majority (q more number of votes in the favour of the Bill than previous time). American President has this kind of Veto but Indian president President does not have this king of veto. 
  3. Suspensive Veto:- In this type of Veto President return the Bills but these can be overridden by simple majority and do not require any kind of special or extraordinary majority.
  4. Pocket Veto:- In this type of Veto president take no action on the Bill.
  • President of India exercises only 3 of the four Veto Powers that is Absolute Veto, Suspensive Veto and Pocket Veto Powers.

Absolute Veto by the President of India

President of India can exercise absolute veto in only two cases. 

  1. When a Bill passed by the Parliament which was brought  by a Private member fo the Parliament.
  2. When a Government Bill passed by the Parliament but the government in the mean time get dissolved before the assent of the President and the new recommended not to ive assent to the Bill.

Example:- In 1954, Rajendra Prasad rejected the PEPSU Appropriation Bill which was passed by the Parliament when the state of PEPSU was under the President's Rule. but when the Bill was presented for his assent to the President the President's rule was already revoked.

Similar thing was done by the President R. Venkatraman in 1991, when he rejected the Bill of increasing the Emoluments of the Members of the Parliament because the Bill was passed by the Parliament a day before the dissolution of the Loksabha and that too without any prior approval of the President (since it was a Money bill).

Suspensive Veto by the President of India

This veto is exercised by the President of India in form of the power to return the Bill for reconsideration of the Parliament.

This is done by the President to prevent any minor error in the Bill or in the case when it has immediate negative effect on the society.

But when Parliament reconsider it and passes it, with or without any amendments, the President must have to give his assent. This time he has no option other than to give assent as prescribed in Article 111.

The Indian President Exercises this veto because, the constitution of India has no mention of any time period within which he/she is required to given assent to the Bill.

In this case Indian President has very large pocket than the President of America, who can not exercises Pocket veto.

Example:- Gyani Jail Singh in 1986 done the Pocket veto against the Indian Post office (Amendment) Bill, when it was presented for his assent. Since the Bill was supposed to affect the freedom of Expression of Media and widely criticized at public fora. The new National Front Government formed, in 1989 decided to drop the Bill when returned by R. Venkatraman (the then President) for the reconsideration of the Parliament.


In the Case of Constitutional Amendment Bills, President can not return or reject the Bill, as prescribed in the 24th Amendment Act, 1971(brought by India Gandhi Government). Hence President has no power of rejecting or suspending the constitution Amendment Bills at all. Due to which President also does not have Suspensive or Pocket Veto in the Constitutional Amendment Bills.

Presidential Veto of State Legislation

Article 200 prescribes four options for the Governor when a Bill passed by the State Legislature and presented to him for his assent:- 

  1. Give assent to the Bill.
  2. Withhold the assent to the Bill.
  3. Return the Bill for reconsideration (not in the case of Money Bill).
  4. Recommend the Bill for President's Approval.

When a Bill recommended for the President's approval, under Article 201, President has three options:-  

  1. Give Assent  to the Bill. 
  2. Withhold assent to the Bill.
  3. Recommend the governor to return the Bill for reconsideration of the state legislature(not in the case of Money Bill).

Since neither the Article 200 nor the Article 201 prescribe any time limit for the consideration of the State Bill by the President, and States also do not have overriding power as in the case of Parliament which override President's Suspensive Veto by passing it again (with or without Amendments). In other words it can be said that the President of India is not bind to give Assent to the Bills, which is again passed by the State Legislature. (Also Read: Difference between Adjournment and Prorogation)