Elections to the Office of the President - UPSC Current Affairs

Elections to the Office of the President - UPSC Current Affairs

Here’s our today’s edition of the Current Affairs Dialog box wherein we will discuss Elections to the Office of the President in detail.

Navigate through the article to get valuable insights on the topic and enhance your UPSC preparation. Its relevance to the CSE syllabus is mentioned below:

For Prelims: President of India, Eligibility and qualifications for the President, Elections to the office of President, Impeachment.  

For Mains: Election process to the Office of the President, Impeachment process of the President. 

Context

Recently, 16th presidential elections were held to elect the new President of India.

Probable Question

Write a brief note on the Office of the President of India covering the aspects of eligibility, qualifications, elections and impeachment process. 

 About the Office of the President

The President of India is the Head of the state of India. Article 52 to Article 62 of the Constitution of India mentions the eligibility, qualifications, tenure and election to the office of President. 

  • Article 52: There shall be the President of India.  
  • Article 53: The executive powers of the Union and the Supreme Command of the Defense Forces of the Union are vested in the President.
  • Article 54: The President shall be elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of:
    • The elected members of both Houses of Parliament; and 
    • The elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States. 
  • Article 55: Method of calculating value of vote of each MP and MLA to secure uniformity. 
  • Article 56: Term of office of President
  • Article 57: Eligibility for re-election.
  • Article 58: Qualifications for election as President.
  • Article 59: Conditions of the office of President.
  • Article 60: Oath or Affirmation by the President
  • Article 61: Procedure for Impeachment
  • Article 62: Elections to fill the vacancy in the office of President. 

Also Read: New Rules for Advertisements and Endorsements

Elections to the office of the President

The elections to the office of the President are conducted and overseen by the Election Commission (EC) of India.

  • Electoral College: The Indian President is elected through an electoral college mentioned in Article 54.
    • The electoral college is made up of all the elected members of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs), and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of States and Union Territories (MLAs). 
    • For the 16th Presidential Elections, the number of electors will be 4,896 — 543 Lok Sabha MPs, 233 MPs of the Rajya Sabha, and 4,120 MLAs of all States, including the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi and Union Territory of Puducherry.
  • Nomination Stage: Before the voting, comes the nomination stage, where the candidate intending to stand in the election, files the nomination along with a signed list of 50 proposers and 50 seconders. 
    • Proposers and seconders can be anyone from the total of 4,896 members of the electoral college from the State and national level. 
    • An elector cannot propose or second the nomination of more than one candidate. 
    • The rule for securing 50 proposers and seconders was implemented when the Election Commission noticed, in 1974, that several candidates, many without even a bleak chance of winning, would file their nominations to contest the polls. 
  • What is the value of each vote and how is it calculated? A vote cast by each MP or MLA is not calculated as one vote. There is a larger vote value attached to it. Method of calculating value of each vote is given in the Article 55 of the Constitution of India. 
    • The fixed value of each vote by an MP of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha is 708. 
    • The vote value of each MLA differs from State to State based on a calculation that factors in its population vis-a-vis the number of members in its legislative Assembly. 
    • As per the Constitution (Eighty-fourth Amendment) Act 2001, currently, the population of States is taken from the figures of the 1971 Census. This will change when the figures of the Census taken after the year 2026 are published.
    • The value of each MLAs vote is determined by dividing the population of the State by the number of MLAs in its legislative Assembly, and the quotient achieved is further divided by 1000. 
    • For example; Uttar Pradesh has the highest vote value for each of its MLAs, at 208, while that in Arunachal Pradesh is just 8. 
    • The total votes of each Legislative Assembly are calculated by multiplying the vote value of each MLA by the number of MLAs.
    • Finally, based on these values, the total number of votes of all Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs would be 5,59,408 (776 MPs X 708), and the total votes of all MLAs from State Legislative Assemblies would come up to 5,49,495. Thus, the grand total vote value of the whole electoral college comes up to 10,98,903.
  • What is required to secure a victory?
    • ​​The presidential election ballot follows the Single Transferable Vote system. 
    • Unlike general elections, where electors vote for a single party’s candidate, the voters of the electoral college write the names of candidates on the ballot paper in the order of preference.
    • If there are five candidates for example, the voter will give five preferences. It is mandatory to give a first preference as the vote will be declared invalid in its absence. However, if the voter doesn’t give other preferences, the vote will be considered valid.
    • A nominated candidate does not secure victory based on a simple majority but through a system of bagging a specific quota of votes. 
    • While counting, the EC totals up all the valid votes cast by the electoral college through paper ballots and to win, the candidate must secure 50% of the total votes cast + 1.

Also watch a detailed video on Ordinance Making Power of the President by M. Puri Sir.

What if the election is disputed?

Article 71 of the Constitution deals with “Matters relating to, or connected with, 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 whose decision shall be final.
  • If the Supreme Court declares the election of the President or Vice-President void, 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.
  • The Parliament may by law regulate any matter relating to or connected with the election of a President or Vice-President.
Additional Information:
Article 56: Term of office of President;
The President shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office. He may resign or may be removed. 

Article 57: Eligibility for re-election; A person who holds, or who has held, office as President shall, subject to the other provisions of this Constitution, be eligible for re-election to that office.

Article 58: Qualifications for election as President. No person shall be eligible for election as President unless he:is a citizen of India, has completed the age of thirty-five years, and is qualified for election as a member of the House of the People.

A person shall not be eligible for election as 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 59: Conditions of the office of President.

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 such house, 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. The President shall be entitled without payment of rent to the use of his official residences and shall be also entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as may be determined by Parliament by law and as specified in the Second Schedule. 

The emoluments and allowances of the President shall not be diminished during his term of office.

Article 60:

Oath or Affirmation by the President

Every President and every person acting as President or discharging the functions of the President shall, before entering upon his office, make and subscribe in the presence of the Chief Justice of India or, in his absence, the senior-most Judge of the Supreme Court available, an oath or affirmation (in the form mentioned in the constitution.)

Article 61: Procedure for Impeachment:

President can be impeached for violation of the Constitution.

The impeachment process can be started from any house of the parliament by leveling charges against him.

The notice bearing the charges against the president must be signed by at least one-fourth of the members of the house after a fourteen days’ notice.

The resolution to impeach the president must be passed by a special majority (two-thirds) in the originating house.

It is then sent to the other house for consideration. The other house acts as the investigating horse. A select committee is formed to investigate the charges labeled against the president.

The President shall have the right to appear and to be represented at such an investigation. He can choose to defend himself or appoint any person/lawyer or attorney general of India to do so.

If as a result of the investigation a resolution is passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House, such resolution shall have the effect of removing the President from his office as from the date on which the resolution is so passed.

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