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.
68. "Time of holding election to fill vacancy in the office of Vice-President and the term of office of person elected to fill casual vacancy. - (1) 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. (2) 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."
The Vice-President of India is second behind the President in the Executive branch of the Government of India.
The election of the Vice-President shall be completed before the expiration of the term of Vice-President. This means that the new Vice-President should be sworn in before the expiration of the term of would be ex-Vice President so that there should not be any discrepancy and disturbance in the working of the Presidential system. The person elected should be subject to the provisions of the Constitution of India especially under Article 67 and should hold office for the full term of five years. The election process is the same as that of President as he is also elected by the single transferable vote system and should hold the office of Vice-President till his successor enters to the office and takes the oath and is ready for holding all the responsibilities in the capacity of Vice-President.
The Vice-President of India swears before entering the office of Vice-President that he shall protect, preserve and defend the Constitution (just like the President) which provides for an executive head of State who is nominal or ceremonial. The Indian Constitution must be seen as a purveyor of a system of governance where a mixture of Presidential and Parliamentary systems could be located.
The position of the Vice-President is of great dignity and prestige and was created chiefly with the intention of filling a political vacuum and creating an aura of security which is caused by the removal, resignation, illness, death or inability of the President to discharge the duties of his office. The Constitution mentions only one specific function of the Vice-President in Article 64. His chief function is to preside over the meetings of the Council of States. The role of the Vice-President is clearly to act as a standby in the political sphere. But the position of the Vice-President is strong when the office of President is vacant. Then the authority, powers and role of the President is taken over by the Vice-President. At that time he becomes the figure head of the country depicting his position as strong as a mammoth elephant.
His positional dignity surfaces all the important duties and discharges all functions keeping his responsibility in mind. And at that time the Vice-President draws the same emoluments, allowances and privileges as the President but he can not draw the salary of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers.