Procedure for election of the President of India

The union executive consists of the President and the Council of Ministers with the Prime Ministers at the head. The members of the Constituent Assembly after a lot of deliberations decided in favor of the British model of cabinet- system of Government or Parliamentary form of government for India. Under this system the President of India is a nominal head of the executive and the Prime Minister is the real head. Despite the fact that the President of India is nominal head of the executive he plays a very significant role in the constitutional set up of the country.

The constitution of India lays down way simple qualification for the august office. He should be a citizen of India, who has completed the age of thirty five years and is qualified to use elected as a member of the House of the People. He should not hold any office of profit under any government local authority. The President cannot be a Member of Parliament or a state legislature simultaneously. If such a member is elected President he has to resign his seat before assuming office.

He is entitled to a rent free official accommodation in Rashtrapati Bhawan. His salary, allowances and privileges are determined by the Parliament from time to time. Presently his monthly salary is Rs.__________/- which cannot be reduced during his term of office. He also gets Rs._________________/-  towards his annual pension after retirement.

The majority of members in the Constituent Assembly after a great deal of debate decided in favour of an indirectly elected President. The factors that influenced their decision were a) his little effective powers in the constitutional set up of the country, b) The large size of the Indian electorate, c) The financial burden on the exchequer to elect a non-functional head of the state and d) The aspirations of an elected President for more powers.

Art 53 lays down that the President shall be elected by an electoral college consisting of a) the elected members of the Parliament and b) the elected members of the state legislature assemblies. The significance of including Legislative Assemblies in the Electoral College is to ensure a non-partisan election of the President. If only the Parliament elects the President it is just possible that the party having a comfortable majority can get its candidate elected easily. But when the Legislative Assemblies join the Electoral College the position might just be different in view of the party positions in different Assemblies.

Election :

The President of India is elected according to secret ballot by the system of proportional representation through single transferable vote. An attempt is made to secure the uniformity of representation of the different states, according to population and the total number of elected members of legislative Assembly of each state so that parity may be maintained between the state as a whole and the union. This has been done to ensure that the votes of the states shall be equal to that of population of the country. This makes the representative of the President broad based.

In the election of the President the weightage system is used to bring about a parity between the votes of the members of Parliament and the members of the Assemblies. Since the strength of legislative assemblies differ owing to differences in population the exact weight of votes of the members of the Assemblies are determined by a definite formula by dividing the population of the concerned state by the total number of elected members of the Assembly which is further divided by one thousand. If the remainder is less than to 500 is should not be taken into account. If it is more than 500 the member should be increased by one.

For example According 1991 census the population of Orissa was 31,659,736 and the member of elected members of the legislative assembly was 147. The formula to determine the weight of vote is

Population of the state

-------------------------------------- 1000

No. of M.L.A.s in the state

In that case the weight of vote of each Orissa MLA was

31659736

-------------- + 1000 = 215

147

Since the remainder was 372 it was neglected. Similarly the weight of the votes of the members of Parliament is also worked out by a formula by dividing the total number of votes assigned to all the M.L.A.s of the country by the member of elected members of Parliament. If the remainder is more than one half one more vote is added and if it is less than one half than it is ignored.

Total no. votes assigned to all the M.L.A.s

------------------------------------------------------- = Weight of votes of each M.P.

Total no. of elected M.P.s

Taking a hypothetical example we may assume the weight of the votes of all the elected M.L.A.s is 554459 and the total strength of the elected MPs is 783. In this assumption the weight of votes of each M.P. is 708. The fraction of 1 in this case has been ignored.

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.