Role and Powers of the President of India : Article 52 of The Constitution of India

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By Legal Referencer

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Article 52 of the Indian Constitution of India establishes the President of India as an influential figure who holds a significant position as the head of the state. This distinguished role carries immense symbolic importance, representing the values of solidarity, unity, and integrity that define the nation. As the foremost citizen of India, In this article we are going to see the Role and Powers of the President of India. The President embodies the collective spirit and aspirations of its diverse populace. Working within the framework of the Union Executive, the President collaborates with other key officials such as the Vice-President, Prime Minister, Council of Ministers, and the Attorney-General of India to govern the country and uphold its constitutional principles.

However, the President’s role extends far beyond symbolism. They exercise powers and fulfill duties conferred upon them by the Constitution. These responsibilities encompass a range of functions, including the appointment of key constitutional authorities such as judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, as well as Governors of states. Additionally, the President plays a crucial role in the legislative process by granting assent to bills passed by the Parliament, thereby transforming them into law.



According to Article 54 of the Indian Constitution, the President of India is not elected through a direct vote from the citizens. Instead, an electoral college is responsible for the President’s election. This electoral college comprises elected members from various bodies, ensuring a balanced representation of different political entities within the country.

The electoral college includes representatives from both houses of Parliament, namely the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Additionally, elected members from the Legislative Assemblies of the states, excluding the Legislative Councils, play a crucial role in the election. Moreover, the Legislative Assemblies of Delhi and Puducherry, as Union Territories, also have representation in the electoral college. The collective votes of all these members determine the outcome of the President’s election.

By involving representatives from different levels of government, the process of electing the President upholds the principles of representative democracy. It allows for diverse voices and perspectives to contribute to the selection of the President, who serves as the ceremonial and constitutional head of the country. This inclusive approach reflects the federal nature of India’s democratic system.

It is important to note that certain individuals are excluded from participating in the electoral process for selecting the President. This includes nominated members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, as well as nominated members of the State Legislative Assemblies. Their role is limited to providing expertise and representing specific interests rather than directly engaging in the electoral process.

Furthermore, members of the Legislative Councils in bicameral legislatures, both elected and nominated, do not have a role in the President’s election. Additionally, nominated members from the union territories of Delhi and Puducherry are not part of the electoral college.

The exclusion of these groups from the President’s election ensures that the process remains representative of elected members who are directly accountable to the citizens. By limiting participation to elected representatives from the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assemblies of states, and Legislative Assemblies of Delhi and Puducherry, the electoral process maintains a democratic foundation that reflects the will and mandate of the people.


As outlined in Article 56 of the Indian Constitution, the term of the President’s office in India is five years. Once elected; the President serves for the entire duration of the term unless circumstances necessitate a new election or the election of a new President during that time. The President has the opportunity to be reelected and there is no limit on the number of times they can be reelected.

This provision allows for continuity in the President’s tenure, ensuring stability in the highest office of the nation. By allowing the possibility of reelection, the Constitution acknowledges the valuable experience and leadership that a President may have after serving a term. This continuity helps in maintaining consistency and a sense of familiarity in the functioning of the President’s role, facilitating effective governance and institutional knowledge.

Continuity in the President’s tenure brings several advantages. It allows for the consolidation of efforts initiated during the first term and provides an opportunity for the President to implement long-term plans and policies effectively. It also facilitates the development of institutional knowledge and expertise, as a re-elected President brings their experience and insights to the office for another term.


According to Article 58 of the Indian Constitution, specific qualifications must be met by a candidate to be eligible for the position of President. These qualifications ensure that only suitable individuals hold the esteemed office.

To be elected as the President of India, a candidate must fulfill the following qualifications:

  • Firstly, the candidate must be a citizen of India.
  • Secondly, they must be at least 35 years of age.
  • Lastly, the candidate should be qualified to become a member of the Lok Sabha, which is the lower house of Parliament.

    These qualifications serve as essential prerequisites, emphasizing the importance of Indian citizenship, maturity, and eligibility to participate in the legislative process. They ensure that the President possesses a deep understanding of the nation’s dynamics, governance, and constitutional matters.

    By delineating these qualifications, the Indian Constitution aims to maintain a high standard for the President’s role. It ensures that individuals elected to this esteemed position have the necessary experience, knowledge, and commitment to uphold the values and principles enshrined in the Constitution of India.

The conditions associated with the President’s office in India can be summarized as follows:

1. Non-membership of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha:

The candidate running for the President’s elections cannot simultaneously hold a seat in the Lok Sabha (House of the People) or Rajya Sabha (Council of States). If the candidate is already a member of either house, they must vacate the seat on the first day of assuming office as President.

2. No office of profit:

The President should not hold any office of profit under the Government of India or any state government during their term. Holding an office of profit is deemed incompatible with the President’s role, as it may pose conflicts of interest.

3. Residence at Rashtrapati Bhavan:

The President is provided with a residence known as Rashtrapati Bhavan, located in New Delhi, without the requirement to pay rent. Rashtrapati Bhavan serves as the official residence and workplace of the President.

4. Emoluments,

allowances, and privileges: The emoluments, allowances, and privileges of the President are determined by Parliament. These financial provisions are established to ensure that the President receives appropriate remuneration and benefits for fulfilling their constitutional duties. Parliament cannot reduce these emoluments and allowances during the President’s term of office.

5. Immunity from criminal proceedings:

The President enjoys immunity from any criminal proceedings, even for their personal acts. This immunity shields the President from facing criminal charges while in office, ensuring that they can carry out their responsibilities without undue interference or distraction.

6. Protection against arrest or imprisonment:

The President cannot be arrested or imprisoned during their term, except in the case of civil proceedings related to their personal acts. If such civil proceedings are to be initiated, a prior notice period of two months must be given to the President, allowing them sufficient time to respond or defend themselves.


The powers and functions of the President of India can be categorized as follows:

A.  Executive Powers:

  1. All executive actions of the Indian government are taken in the name of the President. This signifies that the President represents the highest authority in the executive side and symbolizes the unity and authority of the nation.
  2. The President has the all the rights to seek administrative information from the Union government. This allows the President to stay informed about the ongoing affairs of the government and make well informed and correct decisions whenever required.
  3. The President also has the authority to require the Prime Minister to submit any matter to the Council of Ministers for consideration. This ensures collective decision making within the government and enables the President to ensure that matters are properly discussed and evaluated before the final decisions are made.
  4. The President also possesses the power to declare any area as a scheduled area. Additionally, the President holds powers related to the administration of scheduled areas and tribal areas. These powers aim to protect the rights and welfare of the tribal communities residing in these regions by promoting their development and safeguarding their interests.

Role and Powers of the President of India

B. The legislative powers of the President of India can be outlined as follows:

1 . Summoning and Proroguing Parliament and Dissolving the Lok Sabha:

The President has the authority to summon and prorogue sessions of Parliament. The summons is a formal call to members of Parliament to attend a session, while prorogation marks the end of a session.

in certain circumstances, the President can dissolve the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, leading to the initiation of general elections.

2. Joint Sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha:

In case of a deadlock between the two houses of Parliament, the President can summon a joint sitting. This joint session includes members from both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to resolve differences and enable legislative progress.

3. Addressing Parliament:

The President addresses the Indian Parliament at the commencement of the first session after every general election. This address is known as the President’s Address. It mainly outlines the government’s policies, achievements, and priorities for the upcoming session.

The President’s Address is a significant event in the parliamentary calendar of India. It serves as a crucial platform for the President to communicate the government’s policies, highlight achievements and outline priorities. This address not only sets the stage for parliamentary debates, shaping the legislative agenda but also facilitate effective governance in the country.

4. Nominating Members:

The President has the power to nominate 12 members to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament. These nominated members bring diverse expertise and perspectives to the legislative process.
The President can also nominate two additional members from the Anglo Indian community to the Lok Sabha for ensuring their representation in the lower house.

The nomination power of the President in both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha is an important aspect of ensuring diverse representation in the Indian Parliament. It allows for the inclusion of individuals with specialized knowledge and expertise as well as the representation of specific communities, thus contributing to a more comprehensive and inclusive legislative process.

5. Consultation with the Election Commission:

The President consults the Election Commission of India on questions of disqualifications of Members of Parliament (MPs). This consultation ensures adherence to electoral laws and procedures.

The dialogue between the President and the Election Commission on questions of disqualifications of MPs serves as an important mechanism to uphold the democratic principles of India. It also reinforces the rule of law ensuring that the electoral laws and procedures are adhered to, promoting the credibility and fairness of the Indian parliamentary system

6. Bills and Ordinances:

The President recommends or permits the introduction of certain types of bills in Parliament. The President’s recommendation adds weight to the proposed legislation.

In cases of urgency when Parliament is not in session, the President has the power to promulgate ordinances, which have the force of law. Ordinances are temporary measures that require parliamentary approval to become permanent laws.

7. Laying Reports before Parliament:

The President lays various reports before Parliament, including those of constitutional bodies. This includes the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report on public accounts, the Union Public Service Commission’s report, and reports of the Finance Commission, among others. Laying these reports ensures transparency and accountability in governance.

The President of India possesses significant financial powers, which can be outlined as follows:

1. Introduction of Money Bill:

The President has the power to introduce a Money Bill in Parliament, but his prior recommendation is essential for its introduction. This recommendation ensures the President’s involvement and approval in matters related to financial legislation.

the requirement of the President’s prior recommendation for the introduction of a Money Bill in Parliament underlines the importance of his/her involvement and approval in financial legislation. It is a constitutional provision that promotes transparency, accountability and prudent financial governance, allowing the highest constitutional authority to have a significant role in matters of national finances.

2. Union Budget:

The President causes the Union Budget to be laid before Parliament. The Union Budget is a comprehensive financial plan that outlines the government’s revenue and expenditure for the upcoming fiscal year. The President’s involvement in this process signifies his role in shaping the financial policies of the nation.

3. Demand for Grants:

The President’s recommendation is a prerequisite for making a demand for grants. A demand for grants refers to the request for funds by various ministries and departments of the government to carry out their activities. The President’s recommendation ensures his/her oversight and involvement in the allocation of financial resources.

By necessitating the President’s recommendation, the constitutional framework ensures that the allocation of funds is subject to scrutiny and approval by an impartial authority. This mechanism promotes fiscal discipline, preventing any arbitrary or improper use of public funds.

4. Contingency Fund of India:

The President has control over the Contingency Fund of India. The Contingency Fund is a reserve fund set aside for unforeseen and emergency expenses. The President’s control over this fund enables quick and efficient utilization of resources during emergencies.

The availability of the Contingency Fund under the President’s control demonstrates the government’s commitment to being prepared for emergencies. It reflects the importance of having resources readily accessible to address unforeseen events that may have significant consequences for the nation and its citizens

5. Finance Commission:

The President constitutes the Finance Commission every five years. The Finance Commission is responsible for recommending the distribution of financial resources between the Union government and the state governments. The President’s role in the constitution of the Finance Commission ensures fair allocation of funds and financial autonomy for the states. The President’s role in constituting the Finance Commission ensures fair allocation of financial resources and financial budget for the states. It upholds the principles of cooperative federalism, promotes inclusive growth, and facilitates sustainable development across the diverse regions of India.

Recommendations of The Finance Commission’s are crucial for ensuring the fiscal stability and promoting sustainable development across the country. It takes into account factors such as population, income disparities, regional imbalances, and the specific challenges faced by different states.

The President of India possesses important judicial powers, which can be outlined as follows:

1. Appointment of Chief Justice and Judges:

The President of India holds the authority to appoint the Chief Justice of India as well as judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. These appointments are made in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and other relevant authorities following the well established process.

The President’s authority in appointing the Chief Justice of India and judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts plays a vital role in safeguarding the independence and integrity of the judiciary. It ensures the selection of competent and deserving individuals to uphold justice and maintain the rule of law in the country.

2. Seeking Advice from the Supreme Court:

The President has the right to seek advice from the Supreme Court on legal matters and questions of public importance. However, the advice rendered by the Supreme Court is not binding on the President.
This provision allows the President to obtain expert legal opinions and perspectives from the highest judicial authority in the country in order to take right decisions.

3. Pardoning Power:

According to Article 72 of the Indian Constitution, the President holds the authority to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions of punishment for offenses committed against union law, punishments handed down by martial courts, or death sentences.

This power bestowed upon the President serves the purpose of upholding justice, demonstrating mercy, and taking into account mitigating circumstances on a case-by-case basis. It acts as a safeguard against potential miscarriages of justice by allowing for the review and reconsideration of sentences in specific instances.

The President’s pardoning power plays a crucial role in the criminal justice system by providing an avenue for individuals to seek relief or reconsideration of their punishment. It allows for the examination of individual circumstances and mitigating factors that may have influenced the commission of the offense or subsequent sentencing.

By granting pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions, the President can rectify potential injustices or excessive punishments, promoting fairness and compassion. This power reflects the recognition that the criminal justice system should not only focus on retribution but also consider the possibility of redemption, rehabilitation, and second chances.

The exercise of the President’s pardoning power requires careful deliberation and consideration of various factors, including the gravity of the offense, the circumstances surrounding the case, and the recommendations or advice provided by relevant authorities. It is a discretionary power aimed at achieving a balance between upholding the rule of law and ensuring justice tempered with mercy.

The pardoning powers of the President of India encompass various forms of relief for convicts, which can be categorized as follows:

1. Pardon:

The grant of a pardon by the President completely absolves the convict of both the conviction and the associated sentence. It serves as a complete forgiveness and restores the individual’s civil rights and status.
A pardon signifies that the convict is no longer held guilty for the committed offense and is released from all legal liabilities and penalties.

2. Commutation:

The power of commutation allows the President to change the nature or severity of the punishment imposed on a convict. The President may reduce a harsher punishment to a less severe one, such as substituting a death sentence with a term of imprisonment.

3. Remission:

Remission refers to the reduction of the term of imprisonment without completely absolving the conviction. The President can exercise this power to shorten the duration of imprisonment, granting the convict an earlier release.

4. Respite:

Respite involves awarding a lesser punishment than the originally imposed one, considering the special circumstances or conditions of the convict. This power is usually exercised in situations where the President deems it necessary to take into account the specific circumstances affecting the convict.

5.  Reprieve:

The power of reprieve allows the President to temporarily stay the execution of a sentence for a limited period. This provision grants a temporary relief to the convict, suspending the execution of the awarded punishment.

Role and Powers of the President of India

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The President of India possesses diplomatic powers, which can be outlined as follows:

1. Negotiation and Conclusion of Treaties:

International treaties and agreements that are approved by the Parliament are negotiated and concluded in the name of the President. The President acts as the key representative of the Indian government in these diplomatic engagements.

The President’s involvement ensures that the country’s interests, priorities, and concerns are taken into account during treaty negotiations, fostering diplomatic relations and cooperation with other nations.

2. Representative in International Forums:

The President serves as the representative of India in international forums and affairs. These forums include events like state visits, international conferences, and meetings with other world leaders.

As the highest-ranking official in the country, the President symbolizes India’s sovereignty, unity, and dignity on the global stage. The President’s presence and participation in international forums strengthen diplomatic relations, promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and showcase India’s position on various global issues.

3. Enhancing Diplomatic Relations:

The President plays an important role in enhancing diplomatic relations with other countries. Through state visits, receptions and meetings with foreign dignitaries, the President promotes bilateral and international cooperation, cultural exchanges and economic partnerships. The President’s diplomatic engagements contribute to building mutual trust, understanding and goodwill amongst India and other nations, facilitating collaboration in various fields such as trade, defense, education and culture.

The President’s diplomatic engagements contribute to promoting cultural exchanges. Through these interactions, the President showcases the rich cultural heritage and diversity of India, fostering an appreciation and understanding of Indian traditions, art, and literature. This cultural diplomacy helps in strengthening people-to-people connections and fostering a sense of friendship and goodwill between nations.

4. Cultural Diplomacy:

The President being representative of India, promotes cultural diplomacy by showcasing the rich heritage, traditions and diversity of the country. Through cultural events, exhibitions and interactions with artists, intellectuals, and cultural figures, the President strengthens cultural ties and fosters people to people connections between India and other nations.
Cultural diplomacy facilitated by the President serves as a powerful tool to build goodwill, friendship, and cooperation beyond political and economic realms. Through cultural diplomacy, the President acts as a cultural ambassador, promoting India’s rich heritage and nurturing an environment of respect, harmony, and cultural appreciation on the global stage.

The President of India possesses military powers, which can be outlined as follows:

1. Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Forces:

The President serves as the ceremonial head and the supreme commander of the defense forces of India. This role signifies the President’s authority over the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
As the Commander-in-Chief, the President holds the highest military position in the country, responsible for the overall defense and security of India.

2. Appointment of Chiefs of the Armed Forces:

The President appoints the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force. These appointments are crucial in ensuring effective leadership and management of the respective branches of the defense forces.
The appointment of the Chief of the Army, Chief of the Navy and Chief of the Air Force is mainly based on the recommendations of the Union Government by considering various factors such as seniority, experience, and merit.

The appointment of the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force by the President also underscores the significance of meritocracy, ensuring that deserving candidates are selected to lead the defense forces. It ensures that leadership positions are filled by individuals who possess the necessary skills, expertise, and commitment to safeguard the nation’s security interests.

3. Maintenance of Defense Forces:

The President plays a vital role in the maintenance and administration of the defense forces. This involves ensuring the readiness, efficiency, and effectiveness of the armed forces in safeguarding the nation’s security.

The President, in consultation with the Union Government, takes strategic decisions regarding defense policies, modernization of the armed forces, allocation of resources, and other significant aspects pertaining to national defense.

The President’s involvement in defense administration reflects the importance of civilian control and democratic oversight in national security matters. The President acts as the supreme commander of the defense forces, symbolizing the constitutional authority and responsibility for the defense of the nation.

4. Defense-related Diplomatic Engagements:

The President, as the head of state, represents India in defense related diplomatic engagements. This may include interactions with foreign defense officials, visits to defense establishments, and participation in defense cooperation agreements.

Through these engagements, the President contributes to strengthening defense ties, promoting defense cooperation, and enhancing mutual understanding and collaboration in the field of defense with other countries.
The President’s participation in defense cooperation agreements and forums may further reinforces India’s commitment to international peace and security. These agreements serve as an important platforms for dialogue, coordination, and collaboration in addressing shared security challenges, combating terrorism and promoting regional stability as well.

By engaging in defense related diplomatic engagements, the President may also play a crucial role in projecting India’s defense capabilities by fostering cooperation and enhancing mutual understanding with other nations. These efforts highly contribute in strengthening defense ties, promoting defense cooperation and safeguarding India’s national security interests.

The President of India possesses emergency powers, which can be outlined as follows:

1. National Emergency:

The President is empowered to declare a National Emergency under Article 352 of the Indian Constitution. This provision allows the President to declare an emergency when there is a threat to the security, integrity, or sovereignty of the nation, either due to external aggression or internal disturbances.

The declaration of a National Emergency vests the President with exceptional powers to take necessary steps to address the situation effectively. The President’s role is to ensure the smooth functioning of the constitutional machinery during such challenging times.

The declaration of a National Emergency is a significant decision and it is the President’s responsibility to ensure that the emergency powers are exercised judiciously, with the utmost respect for democratic principles and the rights of individuals. The President’s role during a National Emergency is to uphold the Constitution, protect the interests of the nation and guide the country through the challenging period until normalcy is restored.

2. President’s Rule:

The President has the authority to impose President’s Rule in a state under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution. This provision is invoked when there is a failure of constitutional machinery in a state and the state’s governance cannot be carried out in accordance with constitutional provisions.

By imposing President’s Rule, the President assumes direct control over the state’s administration, temporarily suspending the state government’s authority. The President can appoint a Governor or a Lieutenant Governor to exercise executive powers on behalf of the President during this period.

It is important to note that the imposition of President’s Rule is a temporary measure. During the President’s Rule it is the responsibility of the President to ensure that the normalcy is restored as soon as possible. The President, in consultation with the Governor or Lieutenant Governor, closely monitors the situation within the state and takes appropriate steps to facilitate the restoration of constitutional governance.

3. Financial Emergency:

Under Article 360 of the Indian Constitution, the President can declare a Financial Emergency. This provision empowers the President to proclaim a state of financial emergency if the financial stability or credit of India or any part of its territory is threatened.

During a Financial Emergency, the President has the authority to issue necessary directions to the states to ensure financial discipline and the equitable distribution of resources and the stability of the country’s financial system. This also includes the power to suspend the constitutional provisions related to the distribution of financial resources between the Union and the states.

It is important to note that the proclamation of a Financial Emergency does not suspend the operation of the entire Constitution. Fundamental rights guaranteed to citizens under the Constitution remain in force, and the judiciary continues to function independently to protect and uphold these rights.

Power to promulgate ordinances:

The President of India holds the power to promulgate ordinances, as stated in Article 123 of the Indian Constitution. This authority allows the President to issue ordinances when circumstances arise that require immediate action, provided that both Houses of Parliament are not in session. An ordinance, once promulgated, carries the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament. However, for an ordinance to remain valid, it must be passed by both Houses within a prescribed period.

A significant case, A.K. Roy vs. Union of India (1982), highlighted the importance of the President’s satisfaction in determining the necessity of promulgating an ordinance. The President’s decision to issue an ordinance should be based on the existence of a situation that requires immediate action.

The power to promulgate ordinances has always been a subject of debate and controversy regarding the legislative authority of the President. Normally, the power to make laws rests with the Parliament. However, the President possesses a special power to promulgate ordinances when the Parliament is not in session and urgent action is required. It should be noted that an ordinance cannot be promulgated when both Houses of Parliament are in session since a law cannot be passed by only one House.

This unique power granted to the President in the Indian Constitution distinguishes the country’s executive authority from that of Britain or the USA, where such powers are not conferred upon the executive. The provision for issuing ordinances allows the President to address pressing matters promptly, ensuring that necessary legislation can be implemented even when Parliament is not in session.


For a bill to become law in India, it must receive the assent of the President. Therefore, only when the President gives his assent to a bill that has been passed by both houses of Parliament, the bill can be enacted as a valid law. This highlights the President’s integral role in the Indian Parliament.

The President also possesses the power to veto a bill presented to him. Veto power allows the President to send the bill back to the Parliament if he believes that certain aspects of the bill require reconsideration. However, if the Parliament sends the bill back without any changes, the President is obligated to give his assent to the bill.

In certain cases, bills presented to the Governor by the State Legislature may be reserved for the President’s consideration, except for money bills. The President can either accept the bill, instruct the Governor to send it back for reconsideration, or direct the Governor not to send it back. If the State Legislature resubmits the bill and the Governor reserves it again for the President’s consideration, the President is not obliged to accept it.

Regarding money bills, the President’s previous recommendation is necessary. Consequently, the President may either give his assent or withhold it, but he does not have the authority to send the bill back to the house for reconsideration.

In summary, the President’s assent is crucial for a bill to become law, and the President holds the power to veto bills for reconsideration. Additionally, the President’s role extends to the consideration of bills reserved by the Governor and the handling of money bills in accordance with the Constitution of India.

Power of Summoning:

The President holds the authority to summon either one or both Houses of Parliament. Additionally, the President has the power to dissolve the House of People in certain circumstances. Proroguing, on the other hand, means discontinuing the session of the House without dissolving it entirely. After general elections are completed, the President addresses the Houses.

Moreover, the President possesses the power to convene a joint sitting of both Houses in cases of a deadlock. This joint sitting allows the members of both Houses to come together and resolve any conflicts or disagreements that may arise.


The President of India is a key person in the country’s governance and symbolises the people’s desire. The electoral process ensures that the President is democratically elected and serves a defined term in office. The President’s powers are broad and diverse, making the post critical in maintaining constitutional ideals and protecting the nation’s interests. Overall, the President of India is critical to successful government and the preservation of the country’s democratic values.


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