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

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.

65. "The Vice-President to act as President or to discharge his functions during casual vacancies in the office, or during the absence, of President. -

1. In the event of the occurrence of any vacancy in the office of the President by reason of his death, resignation or removal, or otherwise, the Vice- President shall act as President until the date on which a new President elected in accordance with the provisions given in the Constitution to fill such vacancy, enters upon his office.

2. When the President is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence, illness or any other cause, the Vice-President shall discharge his functions until the date on which the President resumes his duties.

3. The Vice-President shall, during, and in respect of, the period while he is so acting as, or discharging the functions of, the President, have all the powers and immunities of the President and be entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as may be determined by Parliament by law and, until provision in that behalf is so made, such emoluments, allowances and privileges as are specified in the Second Schedule of the Constitution of India."

Functions of the Vice-President during vacancies in the Office or during absence of the President We know that Vice-President of India shall be ex-officio Chairman of the Council of States i.e., Rajya Sabha and shall not hold any other office of profit.

In the constitutional set-up, the holder of the office of Vice-President is part of the Executive but as Chairman of the Rajya Sabha he is a part of the Parliament. He has thus a dual capacity and holds two distinct and separate offices.

Under Article 65 of the Constitution of India, the Vice-President acts as President in the event of a vacancy occurring due to death, resignation or removal of the President, or otherwise.

The Vice-President reverts to his office when a new President is elected and enters upon his office. When the President is unable to act owing to his absence, illness or any other cause, the Vice-President discharges the President's functions for a temporary period until the President resumes his duties. That means in the absence of the President he is the nominal head of the country and all the powers of the executive union are vested in him but he has to work on the advice of Council of Ministers and the real head of the country i.e. Prime Minister of India.

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.

The Vice-President has a small Secretariat called the Vice-President's Secretariat to assist him in the discharge of his duties and functions. The Secretariat is headed by a Secretary who is a senior civil servant.

It can be concluded that the position of the Vice-President is high for the national importance as he is enjoying the dual capacity as on one hand he is the part of the Executive being a Vice-President and on the other hand being the Chairman of Upper House of Parliament he is a part of the Parliament.

He has a great hand in making goodwill and peace loving policies with other nations of our country and to strengthen the bound of dignity and spirituality of our country with other countries on international regime.

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