VICE PRESIDENT OF INDIA: ROLES AND DUTIES
The post of Vice President of India ranks second in the order of Precedence in India. It is the second-highest constitutional office holder after the President of India and is followed by the Prime Minister of India.
The Vice President of India cannot be a Member of either Houses of the Indian Parliament. S/he can neither be a member of any House of Legislature of a State.
ELECTION OF VICE PRESIDENT
- The provisions ratifying the elections of the Vice President of India are given in Article 66 of the Constitution of India.
- The Election Commission of India conducts and administers the election for the Vice President of India following the provisions of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952.
- The election for the post of Vice President of India must be held within a period of 60 working days of the lapse of incumbency of the departing Vice President.
- The Secretary-General of either House of Parliament is generally appointed as the Returning Officer. Roles of the Returning Officer include issuing a public notice of the proposed Election, inviting nominations of interested candidates and taking note of the delivery of the nomination papers till they reach their terminus.
- The Returning Officer then inspects the nominations thoroughly in physical presence of the candidate himself or his proposer or both and any one authorized person.
- Basic requirements one need to clear for nominate himself for the Vice-Presidential Elections are:
- Must be a citizen of India;
- Must have completed 35 years of age, and
- Must clear the qualifications for getting elected as a Member of Rajya Sabha or the Council of States.
- Must not hold an office of profit under the Government of India or any State Government.
- Any person who intends to nominate himself/herself for the election for Vice President of India and is also qualified to do so, must be mandatorily nominated by a minimum of 20 MPs (Member of Parliament) as proposers and must have at least 20 MPs as his/her seconders.
- The person serving as the Vice President of India is not a member of either House of Parliament or a Legislative House of any state. In case s/he is already a member of a House of Parliament or a House of Legislature, he is supposed to vacate his seat in the respective House before taking up the charge as the Vice President of India.
Also Read: President’s Power of Dissolution
- The electoral college electing the Vice President of India consists of all the members of the Indian parliament consisting of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. They all vote through a secret ballot. The winning candidate is expected to secure more than 50% of the votes.
TENURE AND REMOVAL OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
- Article 67 of the Indian Constitution provides for the term of office of Vice-President.
- The elected Vice President of India serves the office for a period of 5years. S/he can also resign from the office before completing his term, if s/he wishes to.
- To remove an incumbent Vice President, a voting has to be done in Rajya Sabha following a 14-day notice to the parliament by the members intending to move such a resolution. A majority of the present members vote and decide upon the removal of the serving Vice President.
- Article 68 of COI in 68(1) reads that,
“An election to fill a vacancy caused by the expiration of the term of office of Vice-President shall be completed before the expiration of the term.”
It mandates an election to be completed before the incumbent Vice President leaves his office.
- Whereas, Article 68(2) provides for provisions relating to election of a new Vice President of India as per the provisions of Article 66 in case the present Vice President dies, resigns or is removed.
“An election to fill a vacancy in the office of Vice- President occurring by reason of his death, resignation or removal, or otherwise shall be held as soon as possible after the occurrence of the vacancy, and the person elected to fill the vacancy shall, subject to the provisions of article 67, be entitled to hold office for the full term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office.”
Venkaiah Naidu is the current Vice President of India.
ROLES AND DUTIES OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
- Every Vice-President is, after his appointment and before taking the charge of the office, supposed to take an Oath or Affirmation as given under Article 69 of COI.
- The Vice President of India is the ex-officio, i.e., by the virtue of his office chairman of Rajya Sabha. According to Article 64 of the Constitution of India:
‘The Vice-President shall be ex officio Chairman of the Council of States and shall not hold any other office of profit. Provided that during any period when the Vice-President acts as President or discharges the functions of the President under article 65, he shall not perform the duties of the office of Chairman of the Council of States and shall not be entitled to any salary or allowance payable to the Chairman of the Council of States under Article 97.’
Article 64 implies the primary duty of the Vice President of India as the Chairman of the Council of States, i.e., Rajya Sabha. S/he cannot hold any other office of profit. When the Vice President executes the functions and duties of the President of India as per the provisions of Article 65, s/he is liberated from the duties of the Chairman of the Council of States and is not remunerated as per the pay of the Vice President.
- The Vice President of India takes care of the office of the President of India in case it is vacant owing to his/her death, resignation or removal or any similar occurrence.
Article 65(1) of the Constitution of India reads:
“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 elected in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter to fill such vacancy enters upon his office”
Article 65(2) reads,
“When the President is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence, illness or any other cause, the Vice President shall discharge his functions until the date on which the President resumes his duties.”
This implies that the Vice President takes charge of the office of the President of India when s/he is still in the office but is not in a state to serve his office due to illness, temporary absence or any similar cause till the date the President returns to serving the office.
As mentioned in Article 65(3), the Vice President of India while functioning as the President of India and holding his/her office in any of the aforementioned circumstances, will be bestowed with the powers and the privileges of the president will be granted allowances respectively. Article 65(3) reads,
“The Vice President shall, during, and in respect of, the period while he is so acting as, or discharging the functions of, President, have all the powers and immunities of the President and be 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.”
- Article 70 of the Constitution of India additionally grants certain powers to the parliament to make provisions as it deems appropriate and needed to carry out the functions of the President in any situations not covered in the aforementioned Articles of this Chapter. It reads,
“Parliament may make such provisions as it thinks fit for the discharge of the functions of the President in any contingency not provided for in this Chapter.”
It covers practical situations like occurrence of any vacancy in the office of the President and the Vice-President of India at the same time. The death of the former President Dr Zakir Hussain during his term followed by the resignation of the then Vice-President, V.V. Giri is an epitome of such situations.
Written by Mrutyunjay Saramandal, Semester-2, UWSL, KU
(Writer, The Legal State)