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Sunday, Oct 24, 2021
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The Giani And The Sea Of Changes

Assertiveness hasn’t often been a presidential trait. But, as Zail Singh showed in 1987, it can be learnt.

The Giani And The Sea Of Changes
Ashok Vahie
The Giani And The Sea Of Changes
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

As the sun sets on a forgettable Pratibha Patil presidency, which comes to an end on July 25, speculation mounts on who will succeed her. Veteran parliamentarian Piloo Mody, speaking to us, the 1974 civil services batch, at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, four decades ago, said the best address in Lutyens’ Delhi was Rashtrapati Bhavan, on Raisina Hill, but it was reserverd for a “rubber stamp”.

The president’s office is fashioned after the British sovereign, who, since the Magna Carta in 1215 and the English Bill of Rights of 1689, has progressively ceded power to parliament. The Fixed Term Parliament Act of 2011 even eliminated the sovereign’s power to dissolve the House. The Indian president’s powers are enshrined in the Constitution, though circumscribed by conventions, precedents and amendments. The president, however, names the prime minister, following an election or the resignation of an incumbent, significant in the coalition government era. He also has,...

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