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.
66. "Election of Vice-President.- 1. The Vice-President shall be elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote and the voting at such election shall be by secret ballot.
2. The Vice-President shall not be a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of the Legislature of any State, and if a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of the Legislature of any State be elected Vice-President, he shall be deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date on which he enters upon his office as Vice-President.
3 . No person shall be eligible for election as Vice-President unless he -
(a) is a citizen of India;
(b) has completed the age of thirty-five years; and
(c) is qualified for election as a member of the Council of States.
4 . A person shall not be eligible for election as Vice-President if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments.
Explanation . -For the purposes of this Article, a person shall not be deemed to hold any office of profit by reason only that he is the President or Vice-President of the Union or the Governor of any State or is a Minister either for the Union or for any State."
Election of Vice-President
To be qualified for election as Vice-President, a person has to be a citizen of India, should have completed the age of 35 years and must be qualified to be elected as a member of Rajya Sabha.
A person is not eligible if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or a State Government or any subordinate local authority.
The Vice-President is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. The voting at such election is by secret ballot. All doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with the election of Vice-President can be looked into and decided only by the Supreme Court of India whose decision is final.
The Vice-President is not a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of a Legislature of any State. If a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of a Legislature of any State is elected as Vice-President, he is deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date he/she enters his office as Vice-President.
An election to fill a vacancy caused by the expiry of the term of office of Vice-President is completed before the expiry of the term. In case a vacancy arises by reasons of death, resignation or removal or otherwise, the election to fill that vacancy is held as soon as possible after the occurrence. The person so elected is entitled to hold office for a full term of 5 years from the date he enters office.
The election of the next Vice-President is to be held within 60 days of the expiry of the term of office of the outgoing Vice-President.
Superintendence of the Election of the Vice-President
The Election Commission of India conducts the election to the office of the Vice-President.
Important Provisions relating to the Election of the Vice-President
1. The Returning Officer usually appointed to conduct the Vice-Presidential elections is the Secretary-General of either House of the Parliament, by rotation. The Returning Officer issues a public notice of the intended election in a prescribed form, inviting nomination of candidates and specifies the place where the nomination papers are to be delivered. Any person qualified to be elected and intending to stand for election as Vice-President is required to be nominated by at least 20 MPs as proposers and at least 20 MPs as seconders. Nomination papers are to be presented to the Returning Officer.
2. A candidate seeking election as Vice-President is required to make a security deposit of Rs.15,000/-. This is the only amount that is required to be deposited by a candidate irrespective of the number of nomination papers filed on his behalf.
3. After the election has been held and the votes have been counted, the Returning Officer declares the result of the election. Thereafter, he reports the result to the Central Government (Ministry of Law & Justice) and the Election Commission of India and the Central Government publishes the name of the person elected as Vice-President, in the Official Gazette.
It can be concluded that election of the Vice President is an indirect election because he is elected by the members of the two Houses of Parliament by the method of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote and the voting at such election is by secret ballot, a special procedure which is adopted for the election of President also.