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How the Vice President of India is elected, what the Constitution says about the post

General Studies  2

Syllabus: Parliament-Structure, functioning and conduct of businesses, the role of vice-President, powers and privileges etc

 

Source: Indian Express

Context:

  • The opposition on Sunday named former Governor and former union minister Margaret Alva as its candidate for Vice President.
  • The ruling NDA has announced West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar will be its candidate for the post.
  • The term of office of Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice-President of India, is ending on 10 August 2022.
  • As per Article 68 of the Constitution of India, an 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.

 

Office of the Vice President:

  • Article 63: It 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: It says that “in the event of the occurrence of any vacancy in the office of the President by reason of his death, resignation or removal, or otherwise, the Vice-President shall act as President until the date on which 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.

 

Election of Vice-President:

  • 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 notification for election shall be issued on or after the sixtieth day before the expiration of term of office of the outgoing Vice-President.
  • As per Article 66 of the Constitution of India, the Vice-President is elected by the members of the Electoral College.
  • Electoral College consists of:
  1. Elected members of Rajya Sabha.
  2. Nominated members of Rajya Sabha.
  3. Elected members of Lok Sabha.

 

  • Since, all the electors are members of both Houses of Parliament, the value of the vote of each Member of Parliament would be the same i.e.1 (one).
  • The Election Commission, in consultation with the Central Government, appoints the Secretary General of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, by rotation, as the Returning Officer.
  • Accordingly, the Secretary-General, Lok Sabha will be appointed as the Returning Officer for the present election to the Office of the Vice-President of India.
  • The Commission has also decided to appoint Assistant Returning Officers in Parliament House (Lok Sabha) to assist Returning Officers.
  • As per Rule 8 of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules, 1974, polls for the election will be taken in the Parliament House.

 

Manner of Election:

Eligibility and term of office:

  • Article 66(3): It says “No person shall be eligible for election as Vice-President unless he:
    • Is a citizen of India
    • Has completed the age of thirty-five years
    • Is qualified for election as a member of the Council of States”.
  • Article 66(4): “A person shall not be eligible for election as Vice-President if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments.”
  • Article 67: It 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 “shall, notwithstanding the expiration of his term, continue to hold office until his successor enters upon his office”.
  • The Vice-President may leave office before the end of his term by resigning to the President, or he “may 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: 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 whose decision shall be final”.
  • Parliament may by law regulate any matter relating to or connected with the election of a President or Vice-President”.

 

Insta Links:

Vice-President

 

Practice Questions:

Q. Individual parliamentarian’s role as the national lawmaker is on a decline, which in turn, has adversely impacted the quality of debates and their outcome. Discuss( UPSC 2019)

 

Consider the following statements:

  1. All doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with the election of a Vice-President are inquired into and decided by the Supreme Court whose decision is final.
  2. The Electoral college of Vice-President does not include nominated members of Rajya Sabha.

Which of the statements given above is/are not correct?

    1. 1 only
    2. 2 only
    3. Both 1 and 2
    4. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)

Justification:

  • Article 71: 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 whose decision shall be final”.
  • Electoral College of Vice-President consists of:
    • Elected members of Rajya Sabha.
    • Nominated members of Rajya Sabha.
    • Elected members of Lok Sabha.