Describe the election, qualifications, term of office and removal of the President and Vice President.

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The Union Executive : President, Vice-President and Council of Ministers

 

Describe the election, qualifications, term of office and removal of the President and Vice President.


At the head of the Union Executive stands the President of India.

 

Election of President

 

The President of India is elected by indirect election, that is, by an electoral college, in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. The electoral college consists of:


(a) the elected members of both Houses of Parliament;
(b) the elected members of the Legislative Assembl.es of the States; and
(c) the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of Union Territories of Delhi and Pondicherry [Art. 54].


As far as practicable, there shall be uniformity of representation of the different States at the election, according to the population and the total number of elected members of the Legislative Assembly of each State, and parity shall also be maintained between the States as a whole and the Union [Art. 55].

 

This second condition seeks to ensure that the votes of the States, in the aggregate, in the electoral college for the election of the President, shall be equal to that of the people of the country as a whole. In this way, the President shall be representative of the nation as well as a representative of the people in the different States It also gives recognition to the status of the States in the federal system Qualifications for election as President In order to be qualified for election as President, a person must :

 

(a) be a citizen of India;
(b) have completed the age of thirty-five years; .
(c) be qualified for election as a member of the House of the People; and
(d) must not hold 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 Government [Art. 58].


But a sitting President or Vice-President of the Union or the Governor of any State or a Minister either for the Union or for any State is not disqualified for election as President [Art. 58].


Term of Office of President

 

The President’s tersa of office is five years from the date on which the enters upon his office; but he is eligible for re-election [Art.s 56-57]. The President’s office may terminate within the term of five years in either of two ways :


(i) By resignation in writing under his hand addressed to the Vice-President of India,
(ii) By removal for violation of the Constitution, by the process of impeachment [Art. 56]. The only ground for impeachment specified in Art. 61(1) is ‘violation of the Constitution’.

 

Procedure for impeachment of the President

 

An impeachment is a quasi-judicial procedure in Parliament. Either House may prefer the charge of violation of the Constitution before the other House which shall then either investigate the charge itself or cause the charge to be investigated. But the charge cannot be preferred by a House unless :


(a) a resolution containirg the proposal is moved after a 14 days notice in writing signed by not less than 1/4 of the total number of members of that House; and
(b) the resolution is then passed by a majority of not less than 2/3 of the total membership of the House.

 

The Union Executive : President, Vice-President.

 

The President shall have a right to appear and to be represented at such investigation. If, as a result of the investigation, a resolution is passed by not less than 2/3 of the total membership of the House before which the charge has been preferred declaring that the charge has been sustained, such resolution shall have the effect of removing the President from his office with effect îrom the date on which such resolution is passed [Art. 61].


Since the Constitution provides the mode and ground for removing the President, he cannot be removed otherwise than by impeachment, in accordance with the terms of Arts. 56 and 61. 


Conditions of President’s Office

 

The President shall not be a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of the Legislature of any State, and if a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of the Legislature of any State be elected President, he shall be deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date on which he enters upon his office as President. The President shall not hold any other office of Profit [Art. 59(1)].


The President shall be entitled without payment of rent to the use of his official residence and shall be also entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as may be deter-mined by Parliament by law (and until provision in that behalf is so made, such emoluments, allowances and privileges as are specified in the Second Schedule of the
Constitution).

 


Vacancy in the Office of President


A vacancy in the office of the President may be caused in any of the following ways :


(i) On the expiry of his term of five years.

(ii) By his death.

(iii) By his resignation.

(iv) On his removal by impeachment.

(v) Otherwise, e.g., on the setting aside of his election as President [Art. 65(1)].


When the vacancy is going to be caused by the expiration of the term of the sitting President, an election to fill the vacarncy must be completed before the’ expiration of the term [Art. 62(1)]. But in order to prevent an interregnum’, owing to any possible delay in such completion, it is provided that the outgoing President to hold office. notwithstanding that his term has expired, until his successor enters upon his office [Art. 56(1%©)]. (There is no scope for the Vice-President getting a chance to act as President in this case.)


(b) In case of a vacancy arising by reason of any cause other than the expiry of the term of the incumbent in office, an election to fill the vacancy must be held as soon as possible after, and in no case later than, six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy. Immediately after such vacancy arises, say, by the death of the President, and until a new President is elected, as above, it is the Vice-President who shall act as President [Art. 65(1)]. It is needless to point out that the new President who is elected shall be entitled to the full term of five years from the date he enters upon his office.

 

(c) Apart from a permanent vacancy, the President may be temporarily unable to discharge his functions, owing to his absence from India, illness or any. other cause, in which case the Vice-President shall discharge his functions until the date on which the President resumes his duties [Art. 65(2)].

 

Election of Vice-President

 

The election of the Vice-President, like that of the President, shall be indirect and in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. But his election shall be different from that of the President inasmuch as the State Legislatures shall have no part in it. The Vice-President shall be elected by an electoral college consisting of the members of both Houses Parliament [Art. 66(1).

 

Qualifications for election as Vice-President

 

As in the case of the President, in order to be qualified to be clected as Vice-President, a person must be (a) a citizen of India; (b) over 35 years of age; and (c) must nat hold an office of profit save that of President, Vice-President, Governor or Minister for the Union or State [Art. 66].

 


But while in order to be a President, a person must be qualified for election as a member of the House of the People, in order to be Vice-President, he must be qualified for election as a member of the Council of States. The reason for this difference is obvious, namely, that the Vice-President is normally to act as the Chairman of the Council of States.

Whether a member of Legislature may become President or Vice-President


There is not bar to a member of the Union or State Legislature kaing elected President or Vice-President, but the two offices cannot be combined in one person. In case a member of the Legislature is elected Posident or Vice-President, he shall be deemed to have vacated his seat in that House of the Legislature to which he belongs on the date on which be enters upon his office as President or Vice-President [Arts. 59(1): 66(2)].

 


Term of Office of Vice-President

 

The term of office of the Vice-President is five years. His office may terminate earliei that the fixed term either by resignation or by removal. A formal impeachment is not required for his removal. He may be removed by a resolution of the Council of States passed by a majority of its members and agreed to by the House of People [Art. 67, Prov. (b)]. 


Though there is no specific provision (corresponding to Art. 57) making a Vice-President eligible for re-election, the Explanation to Art. 66 suggests that a sitting Vice-President is eligible for re-election and Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was, in fact, elected for a second term in 1957.

 

Doubts and disputes relating to or connected with the election ot a President or Vice-President

 

Determination of doubts and disputës relating to the election of a President or Vice-President is dealt with in Art. 71, as follows :


(a) Such disputes shall be decided by the Supreme Court whose jurisdiction shall be exclusive and final.

(b) No such dispute can be raised on the ground of any vacancy in the electoral college which elected the President or Vice-President.

(c) If the election of a President or Vice-President is declared void by the Supreme Court, acts done by him prior to the date of such decision of the Supreme Court shall not be invalidated.

(d) Barring the decision of such disputes, other matters relating to the election of President or Vice-President may be regulated by law made by Parliament.


 

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