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How the Vice President of India is elected

  • Published
    7th Jul, 2022
Context

The Election Commission of India issued the notification for the election of the Vice President of India.

About
  • The term of office of Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu comes to an end on August 10.
  • The election is scheduled for August 6.

Office of the Vice President

  • The office of the Vice-President of India is the second-highest constitutional office after that of the President and ranks second in the order of precedence.
  • Article 63 of the Constitution states that “there shall be a Vice-President of India”.
  • Article 64, the Vice-President “shall be ex officio Chairman of the Council of the States” (Rajya Sabha).
  • Article 65 says that, in the event of the occurrence of any vacancy in the office of the President, the Vice-President shall act as President until a new President enters upon his office.
    • The Vice-President shall also discharge the functions of the President when the latter is unable to do so “owing to absence, illness or any other cause”.
    • During this period, the Vice-President shall “have all the powers and immunities of the President” that are due to the President.

Election of the Vice-President

  • Article 66 lays down the process of the election of the Vice-President.
  • It says that the Vice-President shall be elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of:
    • It 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).
  • Election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting at such election shall be by secret ballot.
    • In the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, the elector has to mark preferences against the names of the candidates.
    • As per Election Commission of India’s guidelines, the marking of the first preference is compulsory for the ballot paper to be valid, other preferences are optional.

Eligibility and term of office

  • Article 66(3) says “No person shall be eligible for election as Vice-President unless he —
    1. is a citizen of India;
    2. has completed the age of thirty-five years; and
    3. is qualified for election as a member of the Council of States”.
  • Under the Constitution, the Vice-President “shall not be a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of the Legislature of any State”.
    • If a member of any of these Houses is elected to the post, “he shall be deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date on which he enters upon his office as Vice-President”.
  • Term of office: Article 67 lays down that the “Vice-President shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office”.
    • However, the Vice-President continue to hold office until his successor enters upon his office.
  • Resignation: The Vice-President may leave office before the end of his term by resigning to the President.
  • Removal: He can be removed by a resolution of the Council of States passed by a majority of all the then members of the Council and agreed to by the House of the People.

What if the election is disputed?

  • Article 71 of the Constitution deals with matters relating to the election of a President or Vice-President.
  • It says that all doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with the election of a President or Vice-President shall be inquired into and decided by the Supreme Court.
  • The decision of SC shall be final.

Note: If the Supreme Court declares the election of the President or Vice-President void, the acts done by him in the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of the office of President or Vice-President, on or before the date of the decision of the Supreme Court shall not be invalidated by reason of that declaration.

Also, Parliament may by law regulate any matter relating to or connected with the election of a President or Vice-President.

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