Mr Brij Kishore Sharma, Chairman of Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, released book ‘The Role of the President of India’ by Prof Balakrishna, Press Attaché of the First President of India- Dr Rajendra Prasad, on 26th September 2015 at Press Club of Mumbai.
Written in early 1990’s, the book is based on a report submitted to the first President of India about his role and powers. When the Constitution came into force on the 26th January 1950, President Dr. Rajendra Prasad was faced with the challenge of interpreting his role based on the given provisions. He queried with the then Prime Minister of India Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and Attorney General M.C. Setalvad. Being a distinguished Lawyer himself, he felt that the matter needed further examination and entrusted the work to Prof. Balakrishna on confidential basis. Late Professor Balakrishna, the author of the book, joined the Secretariat of the Constituent Assembly of India after an invitation from Dr. Rajendra Prasad. He was entrusted the work of preparing the Constitution in Hindi. He joined the personal staff of the President as Press Attaché, and later on functioned as his Deputy Secretary. He was sent to Ministry of Law to initiate the preparation of the authoritative texts of Central Laws. After retirement wrote a book in Hindi on Jurisprudence, which published posthumously. The Ministry of Law awarded a prize for the work. Prof Balakrishna had many admirable traits. He refused to use official perks while in office. He was an early proponent of equality of women and also dropped his surname to make a beginning to end the caste system in India.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Brij Kishore Sharma said “Equating our President to the King of Great Britain was a grave mistake committed by the jurist. The two are as different as chalk and cheese. Had we correctly interpreted the constitution and given to the president the powers contemplated by the constitution there would have been no emergency, no misuse of article 356 and no need of periodical revision of the procedure for appointing the judges. Even now, it is time for the supreme court to revisit its decisions on this point.”
“Given the present political scenario, is it time to re-examine the role of the President of India, as originally envisaged in the Constitution but practiced differently. This is the theme of this book.,” said Commodore Arun Kumar, AVSM, NM (Retd.), the son of Late professor Balkrishna. Cmde Arun Kumar also announced donating 300 copies of the book to the libraries accessed by rural and poor students, through ‘The Brave New World Foundation,’ a Public Charitable Trust set up to commemorate the memory his exceptionally gifted and bright son, Alyosha Kumar.
One of the India’s eminent Constitutional Lawyer, Mr. Fali S Nariman had sent a message to be read on the occasion. “An elected President notionally represents the collective will of the people – he can use it (and I believe he must use it) to temper the occasional excesses of its elected representatives,” wrote Mr. Fali Nariman in his message.
The event was attended by professor Balakrishna’s sons, Mr. Dharmendra Kumar, Cmde Arun Kumar, Mr Heman Kumar, daughter Prabha Rao, relatives and friends. The book has been published by Frontier India Technology and is priced Rs 250/-.