President – Election and Term of Office
In republic countries, the President of country is act as head of state and endowed executive powers. But in context of India, he is only a nominal head of state as real powers are vested in hands of Prime Minister. He is first citizen of India and act as a symbol of unity, integrity and solidarity of the nation.
Election of President
The President of India is not directly elected from people but indirectly elected by system of proportional representation because direct election is wastage of money and time as he is not endowed with real powers by constitution. The Electoral College and method of election is as follows:-
- Electoral College – only elected members of Parliament (both houses), legislative assemblies (LA) of States and UTs (exclude all nominated members and all members of legislative councils).
- Value of Vote of an MLA (VMLA) = (Total population of state/Total elected member of LA) * 1/1000
- Value of Vote of an MP = (Total VMLA of all states/Total number of elected MPs).
- Electoral Quota (to win election) = (total number of valid votes polled/2) + 1. In other words, more than 50% of valid votes polled.
- The voter has to mark preferences (1,2,3,4,5…) while casting his vote. In case, if no candidate has absolute majority of more than 50% of valid votes polled then votes of last ranked candidate are cancelled and their second preferences are counted. This process continues till a candidate secures required quota of more than 50%.
Qualifications and Conditions
- a) citizen of India; b) 35 yrs of age; c) qualified for election of Lok Sabha; d) not hold any office of profit under any govt or public authority;
- Also to fill nomination a candidate must be backed by at least 5o electors as proposers and 5o electors as seconders. Every candidate must make a security deposit of Rs 15000 in RBI and he should get at least 1/6th of total votes polled to claim security deposit.
- The president salary shall be charged from consolidated fund of India and get salary/emoluments as prescribed by parliament (at present Rs 1.5 lakh/month).
- He enjoys immunity from all criminal proceedings (either personal or official) during his term of office. However, civil proceedings can be started against him for only personal acts on prior notice of 2 months. But after end of term of office, proceedings can be initiated against him either civil or criminal in nature.
Tenure of Office and Vacancy
- The President is elected for fix tenure of 5 yrs and eligible for re-election unlike USA president who can hold office only twice.
- He can resign from office at any time by giving letter to Vice President.
- He can impeach by Parliament only on grounds of ‘violation of the Constitution’. The process of impeachment can be initiated in any house (signed by 1/4th of members) and by giving 14 days notice to President.
- If impeachment bill passed by both of houses by absolute majority of 2/3rd members of total membership of the house then President assumed to be removed from that day only.
- In case of resignation/impeachment/death of president, Vice President can function as President till next election but maximum of 6 months. But in USA, Vice President acts as President till completion of remaining period in expiration of term of office of President.
- If office of Vice President is also vacant then Chief Justice of India or any senior most judge is act as President of India.
- Al of above powers exercised by President is subjected to advice of Council of Ministers. As 44th amendment act 1978 specified that President shall act in accordance with advice of CoM and he can send it for reconsideration but only once.
- So President has no constitutional discretion but has some situational discretionary powers such as appointment of Prime Minister when no party has clear majority and dissolution of Lok Sabha when CoM has lost its majority.