Absolute Veto of the President Of India

Role and power of India's president, What is the role of the President of India?

Veto is a Latin term for “I forbid”. This provision of VETO was made in the Government of India Act, 1935.

A bill passed by the Parliament can become an act only if it receives the assent of the President.

When such a bill is presented to the President for his assent, he has three alternatives (under Article 111 of the Constitution):

  1. 1. He may give his assent to the bill, or
  2. 2. He may withhold his assent to the bill, or

The Constitution does not prescribe any time-limit within which the President is to declare his assent or refusal, or to return the Bill. Article 111 simply says that if the President wants to return the Bill, he shall do it ‘as soon as possible’ after the Bill is presented to him.

  1. 3. He may return the bill (if it is not a Money bill or a Constitutional amendment 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, the President must give his assent to the bill. Thus, the President has the veto power over the bills passed by the Parliament, that is, he can withhold his assent to the bills.

The object of conferring this power on the President is two-fold–

(a) to prevent hasty and ill-considered legislation by the Parliament

(b) to prevent a legislation which may be unconstitutional.

The veto power enjoyed by the executive in India can be classified into the following 3 types:

  1. 1. Absolute veto – refuses assent to any bill passed by the legislatur
  2. 2. Suspensive veto – when he returns a bill for reconsideration of the Parliament.
  1. 3. Pocket veto – simply withholding a bill, neither giving assent nor sending it for reconsideration back to the legislatur

Absolute Veto

(A veto without restriction – a vote, which cannot be overturned, to block a decision)


Used In Used For Used By
1954 PEPSU Dr. Rajendra Prasad
1991 Salaries and allowances bill R. Venkatraman


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

(a) With respect to private members’ bills (i.e., bills introduced by any member of Parliament who is not a minister)

(b) With respect to the government bills when the cabinet resigns (after the passage of the bills but before the assent by the President)

The new cabinet advises the President not to give his assent to such bills. In 1954, President Dr Rajendra Prasad withheld his assent to the PEPSU Appropriation Bill. The bill was passed by the Parliament when the President’s Rule was in operation in the state of PEPSU. But, when

the bill was presented to the President for his assent, the. President’s Rule was revoked. Again in 1991, President R Venkataraman withheld his assent to the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill. The bill was passed by the Parliament (on the last day before dissolution of Lok Sabha) without obtaining the previous recommendation of the president.

The constitution stating that the President shall act in accordance with the advice of council of misters, in practice there remains no case for an absolute or pocket veto if the bill has support of the government.

Only in cases when the President feels that the government is unstable he may opt to do nothing (pocket veto). Or in case a private member bill which is not supported by the government (but has somehow managed to pass through legislature) the President can refuse to sign the bill (absolute veto).


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