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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016

ARTICLE 70 Discharge of President's functions in other contingencies

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.

70.  "Discharge of President's functions in other contingencies- Parliament may make such provision as it thinks fit for the discharge of the functions of the President in any contingency not provided for in this Chapter." [Chapter I of Part V, The Union Executive].

The Vice-President acts as the President in case a vacancy is caused by the death, resignation or removal of the President until a new President is elected and assumes office. The Vice-President discharges the functions of the President when he is unable to act owing to absence, illness or any other cause until the President resumes his duties. In the former event when a vacancy occurs, the new President has to be elected as soon as possible after, and in no case later than six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy. When the new President enters upon his office, the Vice-President reverts to his office. In the latter event, when a temporary vacancy occurs in the office of the President, the Vice-President discharges the functions till the President resumes his duties.

There have been many occasions when the Vice-President discharged the functions of the President owing to absence or illness of the President.

When the Vice-President acts as or discharges the functions of the President, he has all the powers and immunities of the President and is entitled to the same emoluments as the President (Article 65). However, during this period he does not perform the duties of the office of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Article 64) and then the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha acts as its Chairman.

Parliament has by an enactment made provision for the discharge of the functions of the President when vacancies occur in the offices of the President and of the Vice-President simultaneously owing to removal, death, resignation of the incumbent or otherwise. In such an eventuality, the Chief Justice of India, or in his absence the senior most Judge of the Supreme Court of India available discharges the functions of the President until a newly elected President enters upon his office or a newly elected Vice-President begins to act as President under Article 65 of the Constitution, whichever is earlier.

Besides presiding over the Rajya Sabha and performing Presidential duties in the contingencies mentioned above, the Vice-President performs several other functions. At times, he goes on goodwill and friendship missions to other countries or represents the country abroad on occasions of national importance in those countries. Because of the high office of the Vice-President he is consulted on formulation and implementation of State policies. Though he is not connected with the day-to-day affairs of the State, he is posted with the decisions of the Cabinet so that he has with him a complete picture of the affairs of the Union Government.

It can be concluded that beside the contingencies described in the Constitution the Vice-President acts as an ambassador or a crusader in all spheres including social, political and economic arenas. He sometimes works as a diplomat, sometimes as the ambassador or representative of the country, sometimes as the high dignitary of academic field and sometimes as a true picture of patriotic soldier or representative who motivates people for bringing new resolutions for the benefit of the country.

Ekta Gupta

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