Prasad acted independently of politics, following the expected role of the president as per the constitution. Following the tussle over the enactment of the Hindu Code Bill , he took a more active role in state affairs. In 1962, after serving twelve years as the president, he announced his decision to retire. After relinquishing the office of the President of India on May 1962, he returned to Patna on 14 May 1962 and preferred to stay in the campus of Bihar Vidyapeeth.  He was subsequently awarded the Bharat Ratna , the nation's highest civilian award.