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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016

ARTICLE 61 Procedure for impeachment of the President

The Constitution of India is the fountainhead from which all our laws derive their authority and force. This is next article in the series on constitutional provisions in order to aid our readers in understanding them.

61. "Procedure for impeachment of the President . -(1) When a President is to be impeached for violation of the Constitution, the charge shall be preferred by either House of Parliament.

(2) No such charge shall be preferred unless-

(a) the proposal to prefer such charge is contained in a resolution which has been moved after at least fourteen days' notice in writing, signed by not less than one-fourth of the total number of members of the House, has been given of their intention to move the resolution, and

(b) such resolution has been passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House.

(3) When a charge has been so preferred by either House of Parliament, the other House shall investigate the charge or cause the charge to be investigated and the President shall have the right to appear and to be represented at such investigation.

(4) If as a result of the investigation a resolution is passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House by which the charge was investigated or caused to be investigated, declaring that the charge preferred against the President has been sustained, such resolution shall have the effect of removing the President from his office as from the date on which the resolution is so passed."

Definition of Impeachment

Impeachment is the first of two stages in a specific process for a legislative body to remove a Government official without that official's agreement. The second stage is conviction.

Impeachment is so rare that the term can be misunderstood. A typical misconception is to confuse it with involuntary removal from office. In fact, it is only a legal statement of charges, paralleling an indictment in criminal law. An official who is impeached faces a second legislative vote (whether by the same body or another), which determines conviction, or failure to convict, on the charges embodied by the impeachment. Most Constitutions require a supermajority to convict. The word "impeachment" derives from Latin roots expressing the idea of becoming caught or entrapped, and has analogues in the modern French verb empêcher (to prevent) and the modern English impede .

The process should not be confused with a recall election. A recall election is usually initiated by voters and can be based on "political charges", for example mismanagement, whereas impeachment is initiated by a constitutional body (usually a legislative body) and is usually based, but not always, on indictable offences. The process of removing the official is also different.

Impeachment is a British invention. Following the British example, the Constitutions of Virginia (1776) and Massachusetts (1780) and other States thereafter adopted the impeachment doctrine. In private organizations, a motion to impeach can be used to prefer charges.

Procedure of Impeachment of President of India

Under Article 61, the President of India can be removed from the office by a process of impeachment for the violation of the Constitution. The impeachment is to be initiated by either House of Parliament.The charges are to be framed in the form of resolution, signed at least by 1/4 th members of the total members of the House. The President has to be given a notice of 14 days in advance. The resolution is to be passed by 2/3 rd majority of the total members of the House and then it is to be sent to other House for investigation and decision. If the other House after investigation sustains the charges and passes the identical resolution with 2/3 rd majority of the total membership, the President ceases to hold office from the date such resolution is passed.


The word 'Impeachment' is an origin of British convention which means to remove a Government official without any official agreement and after the impeachment conviction has been provided to that official. In India, it is a quasi-judicial procedure and President can only be impeached on the ground of violation of the Constitution.

Ekta Gupta

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