How President is Elected in India?
President is elected in India by an indirect method by an electoral college. Pranab Mukherjee is 13th and current President of India. His five year Presidential term is nearing its end. By July mid, India will get its 14th President.
We all know that Chief Ministers and Prime Minister are directly elected by people. But we are not casting any vote for the President election. So how President is Elected in India? What is the exact process behind this indirect method?
What is the eligibility to become President?
Article 58 of the Constitution sets the principle qualifications one must meet to be eligible to the office of the President. A President must be:
- A citizen of India
- Of 35 years of age or above
- Qualified to become a member of the Lok Sabha
- He shall not be a member of either House of Parliament.
- He shall not be a member of a House of Legislature of any State.
- 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.
What are the Powers and Duties of the President?
- The primary duty of the President is to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and the law of India as made part of his oath (Article 60 of Indian constitution).
- The President is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces.
- The President can declare three types of emergencies: national, state and financial, under articles 352, 356 & 360 in addition to promulgating ordinances under article 123.
- President appoints the Chief Justice of the Union Judiciary and other judges on the advice of the Chief Justice.
- He dismisses the judges if and only if the two Houses of the Parliament pass resolutions to that effect by a two-thirds majority of the members present.
How President is Elected in India?
Article 54 of the Constitution provides for an indirect method for the election of the President. He is elected by an electoral college consisting of elected members of both Houses of Union Parliament (Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha) as well as of all State Legislative Assemblies. So both MPs and MLAs can cast their votes.
To win the election, the presidential candidate must poll above the 50% cut off as the first preference.
So in General Election, People elect Legislators. In Presidential Election, the Legislators elect President.
In General Election, a single person’s vote is counted as one. But it’s not the same in Presidential Election.
Value of Vote of MLA & MP
The Voting Process
Voting is based on single transferable vote. The MPs and MLA give vote on the ballot paper by marking their preference to the candidates. Unlike the Parliament and Assembly elections, the ballot paper does not contain symbols and party names. There are two columns: the first contains the name of the candidate and the second is blank and the voter can indicate the order of preference. These ballot papers are later separated in trays which are meant for the candidate to whom the first preference was marked.
The votes polled (First Preference Votes) of each candidate are counted and calculations are done taking into account the value of each vote as stands determined on the basis of the formulas discussed above.
The total number of valid votes decide how many votes will a candidate need in order to be declared winner. This number is divided by two and added to one to form the benchmark of winning. For example, if there are 10,000 valid votes, then the candidate would require (10,000/2)+1, which is equal to 5,001 votes. If none of the candidates secure the benchmark, then following process is followed:
Let us assume a candidate needs 25001 votes to be declared as a winner. Out of four candidates, A, B, C, and D, the results of the first preference counting are:
In this case, candidate B will be eliminated and his votes will be distributed to the rest of the candidates on the basis of the second preference. Post this, suppose, A gets 3000 votes, C gets 2000 votes and D gets 3000 votes. The new results are:
D: 13, 000
Now, candidate D gets eliminated with, suppose, A getting 2,000 votes and C getting 11,000 votes.
Exceeding the vote quota, candidate C will be declared as the President of India.
This is how President is Elected in India.
Dispute in the Presidential election
If there is any dispute, an election petition is filed with Supreme Court of India which is the only authority to try an election petition regarding President’s election. A petition regarding the dispute in election can be filed by any of the presidential candidates. A petition can be filed by any 20 or more electors as joint petitioners. Petition should be filed within 30 days of declaration of the result.
ALSO CHECK OUT – COMPLETE LIST OF PRESIDENTS OF INDIA SINCE 1950
Did You Know?
The President now gets salary of Rs. 150000/- per month. Besides salary the President gets several allowances and a free furnished accommodation. After retirement the President gets a monthly pension of Rs. 75000/ as well as an allowance for employing a personal secretary, free accommodation and medical aid.
For the exercise of his constitutional rights and powers, the President is not answerable to any court. During his tenure, he cannot be arrested or detained and no criminal proceedings can be launched against him. For suing him in a civil case involving his personal acts, an advance notice of two months has to be given.
As per the Constitution of India, the country cannot be without a President even for a single day. In those rare circumstances, where both the President as well as the vice-president are unavailable, the Chief Justice of India takes over until subsequent election. Such a circumstance arose just once in 1969, when Mr M Hidayatullah, the Chief Justice of India took over as the President for a month.