President Addresses to Joint Sitting of Parliament – UPSC Prelims

About President Address:
  • Article 87 of the constitution provides two instances when the President specially 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.
First Constitutional Amendment,1951:
  • Originally, the Constitution had 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 first session after each general election to the House of the People and at the commencement of the first session of each year.
What is there in the President address?
  • All executive power is vested in the President of India.
  • The Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister aids and advises the President who exercises his powers in accordance with such advice.
  • Hence, the President’s speech essentially highlights the government’s policy priorities and plans for the upcoming year.
  • It also provides a broad framework of the government’s agenda and direction.
  • The government also uses the President’s address to make policy and legislative announcements.
History: Before Independence
  • In India, the practice of the President addressing Parliament can be traced back to the Government of India Act of 1919. This law gave the Governor-General the right to address the Legislative Assembly and the Council of State.
  • But the Government of India Act of 1919 did not have any provision for a joint address.
History: After independence
  • After the Constitution came into force, it empowered the President to address either House or a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament.
  • For the first time on January 31, 1950, President Rajendra Prasad addressed members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
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