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.
64. " The Vice-President to be ex officio Chairman of the Council of States . - The Vice-President shall be ex officio Chairman of the Council of States and shall not hold any other office of profit:
Provided that during any period when the Vice-President acts as President or discharges the functions of the President under Article 65, he shall not perform the duties of the office of Chairman of the Council of States and shall not be entitled to any salary or allowance payable to the Chairman of the Council of States under Article 97.
Article 63 of the Constitution of India provides for a Vice-President: "There shall be a Vice-President of India". While the Indian Vice-President could be elected for any number of terms, the Constitution requires that the Vice-President must be a citizen of India . The qualifications for Vice-President are the same as those for President.
The Vice-President of India is ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. He is elected by the electoral college consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament i.e. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. As the presiding officer of Rajya Sabha his functions and powers are the same as those of the Speaker. He is, however, not a member of the House.
The present Vice-President of India is Hamid Ansari, who was elected on 10 th August, 2007.
The Vice-President acts as President in the event of the death, resignation, or removal of the President, until a new President is chosen by the electoral college. The Vice-President may also act temporarily as President during the absence or illness of the President.
The Vice-President is elected for a term of five years whenever the office becomes vacant, by an electoral college consisting of all the Members of both Houses of Parliament. He can be re-elected.
However, the term of the Vice- President can be cut short if he resigns or by a resolution of the Rajya Sabha passed by a majority of all the then members of the Rajya Sabha and agreed to by the Lok Sabha.
The Vice-President is the second highest dignitary of India, next to the President of India.
No formal functions are attached to the office of Vice- President.
He is the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. Since he is not a member of Rajya Sabha, he has no right to vote.
Being the Vice-President of India, he is not entitled to any salary, but is entitled to the salary and allowances payable to the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
All bills, resolution, motion can be taken in Rajya Sabha after his consent.
Election of Vice-President
The Vice-President is elected by both the Houses (Electoral College) in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote, the vote being secret. Nominated members also participate in his election.
The Supreme Court has the final and exclusive jurisdiction for resolving disputes and doubts relating to the election of the Vice-President.
Position of Vice-President
The Vice-President of India is the second highest government official in the executive branch of the Government of India after the President but he works under the guidance and supervision of formal head of the country, that is, President.
He acts as the subordinate of the President.