Vice-President of India

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Vice-President of India
भारत के उपराष्ट्रपति
Emblem of India.svg
Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari
Incumbent
Mohammad Hamid Ansari

since 11 August 2007
Residence Vice President House
Appointer The Electoral College of India
Term length Five years, renewable
Inaugural holder Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
May 13, 1952 to May 12, 1962
Salary 125,000 (US$1,900) per month (February 2015)
Website vicepresidentofindia.nic.in

The Vice-President of India is the second-highest constitutional office in India, after the President.[1] Article 63 of Indian Constitution states that "there shall be a Vice-President of India." The Vice-President acts as President in the absence of the President due to death, resignation, impeachment, or other situations.

The Vice-President of India is also ex officio Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha. When a bill is introduced in Rajya Sabha, vice-president decides whether it is a financial bill or not. If he is of the opinion, a bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha is a money bill, he would refer the case to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha for deciding it.

Article 66 of the Indian Constitution states the manner of election of the Vice-President. The Vice-President is elected indirectly by members of an electoral college consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament in accordance with the system of Proportional Representation by means of the Single transferable vote and the voting is by secret ballot conducted by election commission.[2]

The current Vice-President is Mohammad Hamid Ansari, since 11 August 2007, and re-elected on 7 August 2012.[3]

Election, oath and term[edit]

Qualifications[edit]

As in the case of the President, in order to be qualified to be elected as Vice-President, a person must:

  • Have completed more than 35 years of age
  • Not hold any office of profit

While in order to be a President, a person must be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha (House of Peoples), the Vice-President must be qualified for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States).[1] This difference is because the Vice-President is to act as the ex officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Election[edit]

The Vice-President is elected indirectly, by an electoral college consisting of members of both houses of the Parliament. The election of the Vice-President is slightly different from the election of the President as the members of state legislatures are not part of the electoral college for the vice-presidential election.

The nomination of a candidate for election to the office of the Vice-President must be subscribed by at least 20 electors as proposers and 20 electors as seconders. Every candidate has to make a security deposit of Rs.15,000 in the Reserve Bank of India.

The Election Commission of India, which is a constitutional autonomous body, conducts the election. The election is to be held no later than 60 days of the expiry of the term of office of the outgoing Vice-President. A Returning Officer is appointed for the election, usually the Secretary-General of either House of the Parliament, by rotation. The Returning Officer issues a public notice of the intended election, inviting nomination of candidates. Any person qualified to be elected and intending to stand for election is required to be nominated by at least twenty Members of Parliament as proposers, and at least twenty other Members of Parliament as seconders. The nomination papers are scrutinized by the Returning Officer, and the names of all eligible candidates are added to the ballot.

The election is proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote by secret ballot. Voters stack-rank the candidates, assigning 1 to their first preference, 2 to their second preference, and so on. The number of votes required by a candidate to secure the election is calculated by dividing the total number of votes by two, and adding one to the quotient by disregarding any remainder. If no candidate obtains the required number of first-preference votes, the candidate with the least number of first-preference votes is eliminated and his/her second-preference votes are transferred. The process is repeated until a candidate obtains the requisite number of votes. Nominated members can also participate in the election.[4]

After the election has been held and the votes counted, the Returning Officer declares the result of the election to the electoral college. Thereafter, he/she reports the result to the Central Government (Ministry of Law and Justice) and the Election Commission of India and the Central Government publishes the name of the person elected as Vice-President, in the Official Gazette.

The Vice-President may resign his office by submitting his resignation to the President. The resignation becomes effective from the day it is accepted.

Election disputes[edit]

All disputes arising in connection with the election of the Vice-President are petitioned to the Supreme Court of India, which inquires into the matter. The petition is heard by a five-member bench of the Supreme Court, which decides on the matter. The decision of the Supreme Court is final.[4]

Supreme Court shall inquire and decide regarding doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with the election of a Vice-President per Article 71(1) of the constitution. Supreme Court can remove the Vice-President for the electoral malpractices or upon being not eligible to be Rajya Sabha member under the Representation of the People Act, 1951.[5] Subject to Article 71 (3), Parliament made applicable rules/procedure to petition the Supreme Court for resolving the disputes only that arise during the election process of the vice-president but not the doubts that arise from his unconstitutional actions/deeds or changing Indian citizenship during the tenure of vice-president which may violate the requisite election qualifications.[6] Supreme Court shall also expeditiously deicide any doubt raised by which the elected vice-president could be ineligible to be Rajya Sabha member for the unconstitutional acts committed before becoming vice-president.

Oath of Affirmation[edit]

The article 69 of Indian Constitution provides the Oath of Affirmation for the Office of Vice President as under:-
"I, ________ do swear in the name of God/solemnly affirm that I will bear true faith and allegiance to solemnly affirm the Constitution of India as by law established and that I will faithfully discharge the duty upon which I am about to enter."
The President administers the oath of office and secrecy to the Vice-President.

Term[edit]

The Vice-President holds office for five years. The Vice-President can be re-elected any number of times. However, the office may be terminated earlier by death, resignation or removal. The Constitution does not provide a mechanism of succession to the office of Vice-President in the event of an extraordinary vacancy, apart from re-election. However, the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha can perform the duties of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha in such an event.

Removal[edit]

The Vice-President cannot be formally impeached, unlike the President. The Constitution states that the Vice-President can be removed by a resolution of the Rajya Sabha passed by an absolute majority (more than 50% of total membership ) and agreed to by a simple majority (50% of present and voting members) of the Lok Sabha (Article 67(b)).[1] But no such resolution may be moved unless at least 14 days' advance notice has been given. Notably, the Constitution does not list grounds for removal. No Vice-President or ex officio Vice-President has ever faced removal proceedings.[7]

Salary and pension[edit]

There is no provision for the salary of the Vice-President of India in that capacity. He or she receives a salary in the capacity as the ex officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States), which is currently Rs. 1,25,000 per month. In addition, he or she is entitled to a daily allowance, free furnished residence, medical, travel and other facilities. The constitution provides that when the ex officio Vice-President acts as the President or discharges the duties of the President, he or she is entitled to the salary and privileges of the President. The pension for the Vice-President is 50% of the salary.[8]

List of Vice Presidents of India[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]