Indian President's Address
- Article 87 of the constitution provides two instances when the President addresses both Houses of Parliament.
- The President of India addresses both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha at the beginning of the first Session after each general election when the reconstituted lower house meets for the first time.
- The President also addresses both the houses at the beginning of the first session of each year.
The amendment in Article 87
- Originally, the Constitution required the President to address both Houses of Parliament at the commencement of “every session”. This requirement was changed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
- Article 87 was amended by the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951.
- In article 87 of the Constitution:
- In clause (1), for the words “every session”, the words “the first session after each general election to the House of the People and at the commencement of the first session of each year” is substituted.
- In clause (2), the words “and for the precedence of such discussion over other business of the House” is omitted.
- The President’s speech essentially highlights
- The government’s policy priorities and plans for the upcoming year.
- It provides a broad framework of the government’s agenda and direction.
- It is drafted by the Cabinet.
Is President bound to Address?
- The President cannot refuse to perform the constitutional duty of delivering an address to the legislature.
- But there can be situations when they deviate from the text of the speech prepared by the government.
Similar Address in other countries
- In the United States, it is referred to as the “State of the Union”.
- The phrase comes from an article in the US Constitution which specifies that the President, “from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
- In the United Kingdom, it is referred to as the Queen’s Speech and is part of the ceremony to mark the formal start of the parliamentary year.