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


86. "Right of President to address and send messages to Houses.- (1) The President may address either House of Parliament or both Houses assembled together, and for that purpose require the attendance of members.

(2) The President may send messages to either House of Parliament, whether with respect to a Bill then pending in Parliament or otherwise, and a House to which any message is so sent shall with all convenient dispatch consider any matter required by the message to be taken into consideration."

This Article is the original Article since inception of the Constitution. It has not yet been amended though Chapter II in Part V has been amended 37 times till date as such Chapter deals with the provisions in respect of the "Parliament of India".

This Article provides for the right of the President to address and send messages to both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The important word used by the framers of the Constitution of India in the marginal note of this Article is "Right". They have not used the word "obligation". Perhaps they have used the word "right" because the President is the "executive head" in the governance of India. They have used "may" in the first clause of this Article which means that it is the prerogative of the President of India to address either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha or both of such Houses. The first clause of this Article includes the words "require the attendance of members". It determines that the President for addressing the meeting of the Houses of Parliament requires attendance of members of both the Houses.

The second and the last clause of this Article states that the President may send the messages to either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha in respect of any pending Bill or otherwise and such House is to dispatch considerations in the required matter in respect of the message. On the whole the two clauses of this Article have made provisions regarding rights and not obligations of the President of India to address the meetings of either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha or both and also the right to send messages to both the Houses particularly in respect of pending Bills or otherwise i.e. in other respects which he thinks proper.

In case of K. Ananda Nambiar v. Chief Secretary to the Government of Madras , AIR 1966 SC 657 para 10 it was interpreted by the Supreme Court: "Article 86 and its clause (1) gives the President of India the right to address either House of Parliament or both Houses assembled together; and it provides that for that purpose, the President shall require the attendance of members. "

The most important argument in this case was that of Mr. Setalvad, the then Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court. He argued for the petitioner that when a summons is issued by the President requiring the members to attend the ensuing session of the Parliament, it is not only his right but his constitutional obligation to attend the session and hear the speech of the President.


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