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.
58. "Qualifications for election as President.- (1) No person shall be eligible for election as 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 House of the People.
(2) A person shall not be eligible for election as 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."
Qualifications of the President
India became formally independent of the United Kingdom in August, 1947. However, the country remained a Commonwealth Realm and continued to observe the British Monarch as Head of the State, with the title downgrading from Emperor of India to King of India in 1948 after independence. The Monarch was represented by a Governor-General of India appointed by the King, but now on the advice of the Prime Minister of India. In January, 1949 the Governor-General was replaced with an elected President and on January 26, 1949 Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first President of India. This ended India's status as a Commonwealth Realm, but India remained in the Commonwealth of Nations.
The President of India, as provided under Article 58 of the Constitution, must be a citizen of India, must have completed the age of 35 years and be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha. At the time of the election, he should not hold an office of profit under any Government, Union or State or local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments. However, he is not deemed to hold office of profit by reason only that he is the President or the Vice-President of India or the Governor of a State, or a Minister either at the Centre or in the State. If he is a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of the Legislature of any State and elected to the office of the President, he is deemed to have vacated the membership as soon as he enters upon his office as President. The superintendence, direction and control for the election of President is vested with the Election Commission. The decision on doubts and disputes relating to the election of the President rests upon the Supreme Court and its decision is final.
However, besides the above mentioned qualifications, the Presidential Election Act, 1974 provides for a security deposit of Rs.15,000 along with the nomination paper of the candidate proposed at least by 10 members and seconded by 10 other members of the electoral college. This provision has been made to prevent fake names being given in the poll.
The election procedure of the President and powers and duties allotted to the President has a unique significance in them. The President is known as the figurehead of the country that depicts our nation 'India' on International arena as the true picture of unification with multi colours of different caste, creed and colour. The President of India represents the nation but does not rule the nation. He/She has to act according to the advice of the Council of Ministers which is headed by the Prime Minister. The duty, which rests on the President, is of utmost responsibility and dignity as he/she is the person who is responsible for the security of our nation. The President is the symbol of sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.