Vice-President of India - Indian Polity and Governance Notes | Study Polity and Constitution (Prelims) by IAS Masters - UPSC

UPSC: Vice-President of India - Indian Polity and Governance Notes | Study Polity and Constitution (Prelims) by IAS Masters - UPSC

The document Vice-President of India - Indian Polity and Governance Notes | Study Polity and Constitution (Prelims) by IAS Masters - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Polity and Constitution (Prelims) by IAS Masters.
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Vice-President of India

The Vice-President of India is the second highest constitutional office in the country. He serves for a five-year term, but can continue to be in office, irrespective of the expiry of the term, until the successor assumes office.

Art. 63 declares: ‘There shall be a Vice-President of India.” That is, the office can not remain vacant.

Election :Qualifications

A person cannot be elected as Vice-President unless he  

  • is a citizen of India
  • has completed the age of 35 years, and
  • is qualified for election as a member of the Council of-States (Rajya Sabha).

Under Art. 102, a person cannot become a Member of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha if he is of unsound mind and a competent court has declared so, an undischarged insolvent, has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or if he has been disqualified under any parliamentary law.

A person is not eligible if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or a State Government or any subordinate local authority( Art.66.4).

The Vice-President is not a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of a Legislature of any state. If a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of a Legislature of any state is elected as Vice-President, he is deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date he/she enters his office as Vice-President (Art.66.2).

Manner of election

The Vice-President is elected by an electoral college consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament, in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting in such election is by secret ballot. The Electoral College to elect a person to the office of the Vice-President consists of all members of both Houses of Parliament unlike that of the President of India where nominated members of the Parliament have no role.

Superintendence of the Election of the Vice-President

The Election Commission of India conducts the election to the office of the Vice-President. Important Provisions relating to the Election of the Vice-President are:

The election of the next Vice-President is to be held within 60 days of the expiry of the term of office of the outgoing Vice-President. The Returning Officer appointed to conduct the Vice- Presidential elections is the Secretary-General of either House of the Parliament, by rotation. Any person qualified to be elected and intending to stand for election as Vice-President is required to be nominated by at least 20 MPs as proposers and at least 20 MPs as seconders. A candidate seeking election as Vice-President is required to make a security deposit of Rs.15,000/-. He loses the security deposit if he does not secure l/6th of the valid votes.TK Viswanathan , Lok Sabha Secretary General was the Returning Officer for Vice Presidential poll in 2013.

Proportional system

In the election an elector has as many preferences as there are candidates. In casting his vote, an elector is~required to record on his ballot paper the figure l at the space'opposite the name of the candidate whom he chooses as his first preference and may, in addition, record as many subsequent preferences as he/she wishes by recording on his ballot paper the figures 2,3,4, and so on, in the space opposite the names of other candidates. Each elector shall have as many preferences as there are candidates but no ballot paper shall be considered invalid solely on the ground that all such preferences are not marked. The procedure for counting votes consists of the following steps:

  • The number of first preference votes secured by each candidate is ascertained.
  • The numbers so ascertained are added up - the total is divided by two( number of candidates to be elected and add the number to one) and one is added to the quotient. The resulting number is the quota sufficient for a candidate to secure his return at the election. For example, assuming the total of valid votes polled'by all candidates is 789, the quota required for getting elected is:

IAS,UPSC,Vice president of India,Indian Polity and Governance

After ascertaining the quota, the Returning Officer hasrto see whether any candidate.secured the quota for being declared as elected on the basis of the total of first preference votes polled by him/her.

If at the end of any count, no candidate can be declared elected, then, second preference votes of the candidate with the least number of first preference of votes , are transferred to the candidates left in the fight. The process continues till a candidate attains the quota.

After the election has been held and the votes have been counted, the Returning Officer declares the result of the election. Thereafter, he reports the result to the Central Government (Ministry of Law & Justice) and the Election Commission of India and the Central Government publishes the name of the person elected as Vice-President, in the Official Gazette.

Disputes regarding Election of the Vice-President

An election petition calling in question an election to the office of Vice-President may be presented by any candidate at such election or by any ten or more electors joined together as petitioners.

According to Article 71 of the Constitution, 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. Further,,according to Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952, an election petition can be filed only before the Supreme Court.

A petition challenging the election of the Vice-President is heard by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India. The petition has necessarily to be accompanied by a security deposit of Rs. 20,000/-.

 

An election petition* may be presented within 30 days from the date of publication of the declaration containing the name of the returned candidate. 

Shri.Hamid Ansari secured his re-election as vice-president to become the second person after S Radhakrishnan to become reelected to the post.Ansari defeated the NDA nominee Jaswant Singh by 252 votes in the electoral college of 787 Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs. Of the 736 votes polled, Ansari secured 490 against Singh's 238. Fifty one MPs did not cast their votes, while eight votes were declared invalid. The abstentions largely belonged to BJD, TDP and RSP that had decided to stay away from the election.

Oath of the Vice President

Text of Oath of Affirmation by the Vice-President:

"1, _______ do swear in the name of God that 1 will bear true faith and allegiances solemnly affirm the Constitution of India as by law established and that I will faithfully discharge the duty upon which I am about to enter."

Term of office

It is five years from the date of assumption of office.  Even after the expiration of the term, the vice-President shall continue in office until his successor assumes office. Art 67(c). The Vice-President may resign his office by writing to the President. The resignation becomes effective from the day it is accepted.

Removal

The Vice-President can be removed from office by a resolution of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha), passed by a majority of its members at that time and agreed to by the House of the People (Lok Sabha). A resolution for this purpose may be moved only after a notice of at least a minimum of 14 days has been given of such an intention.

It may be noted that for Impeachment of the President, the cause or reason is “violation of the Constitution”. But for the removal of Vice-President, no cause or reason has been mentioned in the Constitution.

Vacancy

An election to fill a vacancy caused by the expiry of the term of office of Vice-President is completed before the expiry of the term. In case a vacancy arises by reasons of death, resignation or removal or otherwise, the election to fill that vacancy is held as soon as possible after the occurrence. In contrast, the Constitution provides an outer limit of six months (Article 62) for election to the office of the President of India under these circumstances. The person so elected is entitled to hold office for a full term of 5 years from the date he enters office.

The Constitution says that when the Vice President’s Office is vacant, his functions as the Chairperson of the Council of States (R.ajya Sabha) are performed, during the period of such vacancy, by the Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, or any Vice Chairman of Rajya Sabha or other member of the Rajya Sabha authorised by the President of India( Protem Chairman), depending upon the circumstances.

Emoluments

There is no specific provision of salary/pension for the Vice President, per se. He/she receives the salary of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, which is currently Rs. 1,25,000 per month.The constitution provides that when the Vice President acts as the President or discharges the duties of the President, he/she is entitled to the salary and privileges of the President of India.He draws his salary for the duties he discharges as the ex-officio Rajya Sabha Chairman The pension is 50% of the salary.

The Vice-President as Chairperson (ex-officio) of the Rajya Sabha( Art.64)

The Vice-President is the exrofficio Chairperson of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha ) and does not hold any other office of profit. During any period when the, Vice-President acts as, or discharges the functions of the President, he does not perform the duties of the office of the Chairperson of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and, is not entitled to any salary or allowances payable to the Chairperson, Rajya Sabha.

The Vice-President as Acting President (Art.65.1)

The Vice-President acts as President during casual vacancy in the office of the President by reason of death, resignation or removal or otherwise, until a new President is elected as soon as practicable and, in no case, later than six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy. When the President is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence, illness or any other cause, the Vice-President discharges the Presidential functions till the President resumes office(Art.65.2).During this period, the Vice-President has all the powers, immunities and privileges of the President and receives emoluments and allowances payable tothe President.


Attorney-General of India

The Attorney General for India is the chief legal advisor of Indian government and its primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India. He is appointed by the President of India under Article 76(1) of the Constitution and holds office during the pleasure of the President. He must be a person qualified to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court.

The Attorney General is responsible for giving advice to the Government of India in legal matters referred to him. He also performs other legal duties assigned to him by the President.

The Attorney General is to be consulted only after the Ministry of Law has been consulted. All references to the Attorney General are made by the Law Ministry.

The Attorney General has the right of audience in all Courts in India as well as the right to participate in the proceedings of the Parliament, though not to vote. The Attorney General appears on behalf of Government of India in all cases in the Supreme Court in which " Government of India is concerned. He also represents the Government of Irldia in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution. For example, the Presidential reference regarding the 2G case verdict of the Supreme court that was given in 2012.

The Attorney General can accept briefs but cannot appear against the Government. He cannot defend an accused in the criminal proceedings and accept the directorship of a company without the permission of the Government.

The Attorney General is assisted by a Solicitor General and many Additional Solicitors General. By June 2013, there are 18 additional Solicitor Generals.

The current Attorney General is Goolam Essaji Vahanvati.

The Attorney General is the highest law officer in the country.

Functions of AG can be broadly classified under the following heads

  • Legal advice: The Attorney General is the Government's chief legal adviser.
  • Litigation: The Attorney General is the government's primary lawyer in the Supreme Court and High Courts.
  • Parliament: The Attorney General has the right to participate in the proceedings of the Parliament and its committees but has rio right to vote. He may be invited by the parliament to clarify on any legal matter.

Advocate General of a State government is the counterpart of Attorney General for India.

Solicitor General of India

The Solicitor General for India is subordinate to the Attorney General of India. The Solicitor General for India is the second law officer of the country, assists the Attorney General, and is himself assisted by many Additional Solicitors General for India. It is not a Constitutional post unlike the A-G. Like the Attorney General for India, the Solicitor General and the Additional Solicitors General advise the Government and appear on behalf of the Union of India in terms of the Law Officers (Terms and Conditions) Rules, 1972. Union Law Ministry appoints the solicitor and additioiial solicitor general.

“Law Officer” means and includes the Attorney-General for India,the Solicitor-General for India, Additional Solicitor-General for India.

The document Vice-President of India - Indian Polity and Governance Notes | Study Polity and Constitution (Prelims) by IAS Masters - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Polity and Constitution (Prelims) by IAS Masters.
All you need of UPSC at this link: UPSC

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