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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016
ARTICLE 67 : Term of office of Vice-President

The Constitution of India is the fountainhead from which all our laws derive their authority and force. This is next article in the series on constitutional provisions in order to aid our readers in understanding them.

67. " Term of office of Vice-President. The Vice-President shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office:

Provided that-

(a) a Vice-President may, by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office;

(b) a Vice-President may be removed from his office by a resolution of the Council of States passed by a majority of all the then members of the Council and agreed to by the House of the People; but no resolution for the purpose of this clause shall be moved unless at least fourteen days' notice has been given of the intention to move the resolution;

(c) a Vice-President shall, notwithstanding the expiration of his term, continue to hold office until his successor enters upon his office."

Article 67 is the original Article after the final draft Constitution of India. It has not yet been amended till date. This Article says that the normal tenure of the office of Vice-President of India is 5 years. But this office can be terminated before completion of such normal tenure either by resignation or removal or by impeachment of him by Rajya Sabha. The Vice-President is constitutionally entitled to resign by signing under his own hand and seal addressed to the President of India. But for his removal any formal impeachment is not needed as in case of President and Chief Justice of India. A resolution for removal of Vice-President can be passed by a majority of total members of Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and most importantly, the same resolution should have to be agreed upon by Lok Sabha.

Clause (c) of the Article is clear that any Vice-President of India shall continue his office until another Vice-President takes into the office, either when he is impeached, removed or resigned or he completes his tenure of 5 years.

From another constitutional point of view it is dramatical to say that there is no provision in the Constitution for re-election of Vice-President but Vice-President of India, Dr. Radhakrishnan had been re-elected for his second tenure in the year 1957 held office from May 13, 1952 to May 12, 1962 during the Presidentship of Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

On 29 th December, 1948 the Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitutional Hall, New Delhi with Dr. H.C. Mookherjee in the Chair to accept an amendment in respect to tenure of Vice-President in the line of President of India. But Dr. Ambedkar could not accept such amendment. The Constituent Assembly Debate Vol. VII, viz:

"I regret that I cannot accept any of the amendments which have been moved, to this Article... The difference which has been made in the Draft Constitution between the system of election to the Presidentship and the system of election for the Vice-Presidentship is based upon the functions which the two dignitaries are supposed to discharge. The President is the Head of the State and his powers extend both to the administration by the Centre as well as of the States. Consequently, it is necessary that in his election, not only Members of Parliament should play their part, but the Members of the State Legislatures should also have a voice. But when we come to the Vice-President, his normal functions are merely to preside over the Council of States. It is only on a rare occasion, and that too for a temporary period, that he may be called upon to assume the duties of a President. That being so, it does not seem necessary that the Members of the State Legislatures should also be invited to take part in the election of the Vice-President. That is the justification why the Draft Constitution has made a distinction in the modes of election of these two dignitaries."

It is an inherent fact that though the provisions under Article 67 are imitated from the provisions under US Constitution, it had gone through many debates, opinions, suggestions and amendments in the draft stage of Constitution of India and that is why such Article has not yet been amended.

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