Election of Vice-President of India 2022
The term of office of Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice-President of India, is ending on 10th 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.
Back to Basics
Election of Vice-President of India
Article 324 and Article 66
- 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.
- As per Article 66 of the Constitution of India, the Vice-President is elected by the members of the 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. For 2022, 16th Vice-Presidential Election, the Electoral College consists of:
- 233 elected members of Rajya Sabha,
- 12 nominated members of Rajya Sabha, and
- 543 elected members of Lok Sabha.
- Electoral College comprises of a total of 788 members of both Houses of Parliament. Since, all the electors are members of both Houses of Parliament, the value of vote of each Member of Parliament would be same i.e.1 (one).
- Article 66 (1) of the Constitution provides that the election shall be 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 this system, the elector has to mark preferences against the names of the candidates.
- Preference can be marked in the international form of Indian numerals, in Roman form, or in the form in any recognised Indian languages. Preference has to be marked in figures only and shall not be indicated in words.
- The elector can mark as many preferences as the number of candidates.
- While the marking of the first preference is compulsory for the ballot paper to be valid, other preferences are optional.
- For marking the vote, the Commission will supply particular pens. The pen will be given to the electors in the polling station by the designated official when the ballot paper is handed over. Electors have to mark the ballot only with this particular pen and not with any other pen. Voting by using any other pen shall lead to invalidation of the vote at the time of counting.
- 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 Officer.
- The Constitution has expressly provided that election to the office of Vice-President shall be by secret ballot. Therefore, the electors are expected to scrupulously maintain secrecy of vote.
- There is no concept of open voting in this election and showing the ballot to anyone under any circumstances in the case of Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections is totally prohibited.
- It is also clarified that political parties cannot issue any whip to their MPs in the matter of voting in the Vice-Presidential election.
Office of the Vice President
- Article 63 of the Constitution states that “there shall be a Vice-President of India”. Under 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 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”.
- During this period, the Vice-President shall “have all the powers and immunities of the President and be entitled to… (the) emoluments, allowances and privileges” that are due to the 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.
Election of the Vice-President
- Article 66 lays down the process of the election of the Vice-President.
- It says the Vice-President “shall be elected by the 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 at such election shall be by secret ballot”.
- For the 16th Vice-Presidential Election, 2022, the Electoral College consists of 233 elected members of Rajya Sabha, 12 nominated members of Rajya Sabha, and 543 elected members of Lok Sabha, adding up to 788 members.
- 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.
- Preference can be marked in the international form of Indian numerals, in Roman form, or in the form in any recognised Indian languages… The elector can mark as many preferences as the number of candidates. While the marking of the first preference is compulsory for the ballot paper to be valid, other preferences are optional.
- 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”.
Eligibility and term of office
- Article 66(3) says “No person shall be eligible for election as Vice-President unless he — (a) is a citizen of India; (b) has completed the age of thirty-five years; and (c) is qualified for election as a member of the Council of States”.
- Under 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 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 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”.
- Should the Supreme Court declare the election of the President or Vice-President void however, “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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