- The Vice-President occupies the second highest office in the country. He is accorded a rank next to the President in the official warrant of precedence.
- This office is modelled on the lines of the American Vice-President.
- The first vice president of India, SarvepalliRadhakrishnan, took oath at RashtrapatiBhavan on 13 May 1952.
Qualifications for the office of vice President:
- He should be a citizen of India.
- He should have completed 35 years of age.
- He should be qualified for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
- He should not hold any office of profit under the Union government or any state government or any local authority or any other public authority.
Conditions of Office:
The Constitution lays down the following two conditions of the Vice-President’s office:
- He should not be a member of either House of Parliament or a House of the state legislature. If any such person is elected Vice-President, he is deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date on which he enters upon his office as Vice-President.
- He should not hold any other office of profit.
Vacancy in Office:
A vacancy in the Vice-President’s office can occur in any of the following ways:
- On the expiry of his tenure of five years
- By his resignation
- On his removal
- By his death
- Otherwise, for example, when he becomes disqualified to hold office or when his election is declared void
As per Article 68 of the Constitution, the election to fill the vacancy caused by the expiration of the term of office of the outgoing vice-president is required to be completed before the expiration of the term.
- Article 324 of the Constitution read with the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952 and the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules, 1974, vests the superintendence, direction and control of the conduct of election to the office of the Vice President of India in the Election Commission of India.
- The Vice-President is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament.
- The electoral college consists of both elected and nominated members of the Parliament (in the case of president, only elected members).
- It does not include the members of the state legislative assemblies (in the case of President, the elected members of the state legislative assemblies are included).
- The Vice-President’s election held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting is by secret ballot.
- All doubts and disputes in connection with election of the VicePresident are inquired into and decided by the Supreme Court whose decision is final.
- The election of a person as Vice-President cannot be challenged on the ground that the electoral college was incomplete (i.e., existence of any vacancy among the members of electoral college).
- If the election of a person as VicePresident is declared void by the Supreme Court, acts done by him before the date of such declaration of the Supreme Court are not invalidated (i.e., they continue to remain in force).
Powers and functions of Vice President:
a) He acts as the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. In this capacity, his powers and functions are similar to those of the Speaker of Lok Sabha.
b) He acts as President when a vacancy occurs in the office of the President due to his resignation, impeachment, death or otherwise.
- He can act as President only for a maximum period of six months within which a new President has to be elected.
- Further, when the sitting President is unable to discharge his functions due to absence, illness or any other cause, the Vice-President discharges his functions until the President resumes his office.
c) While acting as President or discharging the functions of President, the Vice-President does not perform the duties of the office of the chairman of Rajya Sabha. During this period, those duties are performed by the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
Constitutional articles related to Vice President of India
63. The Vice-President of India
64. The Vice-President to be ex-officio Chairman of the Council of States
65. The Vice-President to act as President or to discharge his functions during casual vacancies in the office, or during the absence, of President
66. Election of Vice-President
67. Term of office of Vice-President
68. Time of holding election to fill vacancy in the office of Vice-President and the term of office of person elected to fill casual vacancy
69. Oath or affirmation by the Vice-President
70. Discharge of President’s functions in other contingencies