India achieved independence from English on 5th August 1947, initially as a Dominion the Commonwealth of Nations George VI the King of India, represented in the country by a Governor-General. Still, following this, the Constituent Assembly of India, under the leadership of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, undertook the process of drafting a completely new constitution for the country. The Constitution of India eventually enacted on 26th November 1949 and came into force on 26th January 1950, making India a republic. The offices of monarch and governor-general were replaced by the new office of President of India, with Rajendra Prasad as the first incumbent.
Articles 52 to 78 in part V of the Constitution deal with the Union executive.
The Union Executive consists of the President, Vice president, the Prime minister, the Council of ministers and the Attorney general of India.
President is the head of the Indian State. He is the first Citizen of India and acts as the symbol of unity, integrity and solidarity of nation.
The President is indirectly elected the people through elected members of the Parliament of India (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) as well as of the Legislative Assemblies in States of India (Vidhan Sabha) and serves for a term of five years.
Historically, ruling party (majority in the Lok Sabha) nominees (for example, United Progressive Alliance nominee Pranab Mukherjee) have been elected or largely elected unanimously. Incumbent presidents are permitted to stand for re-election. A formula is used to allocate votes so there is a balance between the population of each state and the number of votes assembly members from a state can cast, and to give an equal balance between State Assembly members and the members of the Parliament of India. If no candidate receives a majority of votes, then there is a system by which losing candidates are eliminated from the contest and their votes are transferred to other candidates, until one gains a majority.
A candidate should satisfy the following requirements to contest the election to the Office of President:
1. Must be a citizen of India.
2. Must have completed 35 years of age.
3. Must be eligible to be a member of the Lok Sabha.
4. 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 Governments - Exceptions are the offices of President and Vice-President, Governor of any State and Ministers of Union or State. Under The Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952, a candidate, to be nominated for the office of president needs 50 electors as proposers and 50 electors as secondars for his or her name to appear on ballot.
The President holds an Elective office, He is to be elected from an Electoral College which comprises of the elected members of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and Legislative Assemblies of the States (Art. 54).
Here, a few important points have to be noted First, the Constitution has designed an Indirect Election to the office of the President. Secondly, since reference is only to elected members of Lok Sabha, etc., by necessary implication, the nominated members cannot participate and vote in the Presidential Election. Thirdly, Elected Members of Legislative Councils also cannot participate and vote.
Conditions for Presidency
Certain conditions, as per Article 59 of the Constitution, debar any eligible citizen from contesting the presidential elections. The conditions are:
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.
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 until provision in that behalf is so made, such emoluments, allowances and privileges as are specified in the Second Schedule.
The emoluments and allowances of the President shall not be diminished during his term of office.
President of India is elected by an electoral college through proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.
The Electoral College consists of
1. Elected Members of the both houses of Parliament.
2. Elected members of legislative assemblies of states.
3. The elected members of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.
This implies that, following members are not allowed to vote in Presidential election.
The value of vote of an M.L.A & M.P is such that, there shall be uniformity in the scale of representation of different states and Union at the election of the President
Value of vote of an M.L.A = Total Population of State / (Total Number of elected members in the state legislative assembly × 1000)
Value of vote of an M.P = Total value of votes of all MLAs of all states / Total number of elected members of Parliament.
Lok Sabha = 545 – 2(nominated members)= 543
Rajya Sabha = 245 – 12 (nominated members)= 233
Total = 776 M.P Participate in Presidential election.
In order to be declared elected to the office of President, one must secure a fixed quota of votes. The quota is calculated as follows:
Electoral Quota = (Total no. of Valid votes polled / 2) + 1
Note: All Doubts and Disputes in connection with the election of President are inquired into and decided by Supreme Court of India. Other Courts have no jurisdiction over the same.
In the election of the President of India the members of the Electoral College are allowed to exercise their preferences for the candidates in order of their choice. Each voter is allowed to exercise as many preferences as candidates are there. The voter indicates his order of preferences on the ballot paper. A candidate in order to be elected must secure his quota of votes which is 50% of valid votes +1. If no candidate secures the quota or the number of votes required to win, subsequent rounds of counting shall be taken up. The counting will continue till a candidate gets the quota of votes required to win.
Whenever the presidential office falls vacant on account of his death, resignation or impeachment the Vice-President succeeds him for a period of six months. The election of the President must be conducted within six months from the date of vacancy. In case of resignation, the President hands over the letter to the Vice-President of India.
Term of office
The President shall hold office for a term of 5 Years from the date on which he enters upon his office.
Even after the expiration of this term, the President shall continue to hold office until his successor enters upon his office.
The President, through a letter written by him, addressed to the vice President may resign from his office. When this is done, the Vice-President shall immediately communicate the same to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha (Art. 61).
The President can be removed from his office for the violation of the Constitution through the Process of Impeachment. The President may seek re-election(Art. 57).
Oath or affirmation
The President is required to make and subscribe in the presence of the Chief Justice of India (or in his absence, the senior-most Judge of the Supreme Court), an oath or affirmation that he/she shall protect, preserve and defend the Constitution.
The President of India used to receive Rs. 10,000 per month as per the Second Schedule of the Constitution. This amount was increased to Rs. 50,000 in 1998. On 11th September 2008 the Government of India increased the salary of the President to Rs. 1.5 lakh. However, almost everything that the President does or wants to do is taken care of by the annual Rs. 225 million budgets that the Government allots for his or her upkeep.
Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President's official residence, is the largest Presidential Palace in the world.
If the Office of President shall remain vacant
Note: In case the office of Vice President is Vacant, the Chief Justice of India (or if his office is also vacant, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court available) shall act as the President of India.