Thursday, 22 March 2012

How is President of India Elected

How is President of India Elected
How is the President of India elected? What are the provisions in the Constitution relating to a vacancy in the office of the President of India? Is there any such provision for a vacancy in the office of the Vice President of India also?

India is a democratic republic and the Constitution provides for an elected Head of State i.e. the President. As Head of the Union Executive, the President is elected by an indirect election for a term of five years. Articles 54 and 55 of the Constitution deal with the election of the President. Article 54 provides that the President of India shall be elected by an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both the Houses of the Parliament and such members of the State Legislative Assemblies. As per subsequent amendments to the Constitution, the Assemblies of the National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Puducherry were also included in the electoral college, while other Union Territories are not its part. Nominated members of the Parliament, as well as those from the State Legislative Assemblies are not authorised to vote.
Article 55 provides for uniformity of representation of different States in terms of their population and total number of elected members of the State Assembly. As per this provision, every elected member of Legislative Assembly of a State shall have as many votes as there are multiples of one thousand in the quotient obtained by dividing the population of that State by the number of elected members in the Assembly. It is also provided that the election to the office of the President shall be held by means of single transferable vote. Every voting member of electoral college has as many preferences as there are number of candidates in the fray. If there are more than two candidates in the race, the successful candidate must obtain 50 per cent plus one votes.

If in the first round of counting (in which only first preferences are considered) no candidate gets clear majority of the total votes, second preferences of the candidate getting the minimum number of first preferences in the first round of counting are considered as the first preferences for the remaining candidates. This process goes on till a candidate gets clear majority and is declared elected.

As per the Constitution, a vacancy may be caused in the office of the President of India due to completion of tenure, by death of the President, by his resignation or on removal by impeachment. In case of a vacancy due to expiry of term, the process of election of the new President is required to be completed before such an expiry and the newly elected President assumes the office on expiry of term of the outgoing President. In case of vacancy due to any other cause, election to fill up the office must be held in not later than six months from the date of vacancy. During the period of vacancy, and also during the temporary vacancy caused by illness of the President or due to any other reason, Article 65(2) provides that the Vice- President shall discharge the functions of the President till new President is elected or the President resumes his duties.

In case of a vacancy in the office of the Vice-President due to any reason, the process of election has to be completed within six months. But the Constitution is silent about the person who is to discharge the duties of Vice-President during the period of such vacancy. As per practice during the past, the duties of the Vice-President as Chairperson of Rajya Sabha were discharged by the Vice-Chairperson of Rajya Sabha as and when such a vacancy in the office of the Vice-President had arisen.

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