(Mains GS 2 : Appointment to various Constitutional Posts, Powers, Functions and Responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.)
- With President Ram Nath Kovind’s term set to end on July 24, the process to elect his successor has been kicked off with the Election Commission’s announcement of the schedule.
- The schedule for the election of the President of India has been announced by the Election Commission of India under sub-section (1) of Section (4) of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act 1952.
- Under Article 62(1) of the Constitution, “an election to fill a vacancy caused by the expiration of the term of office of President shall be completed before the expiration of the term”.
- The nomination of a candidate for election to the office of the President must be subscribed by at least 50 electors as proposers and 50 electors as seconders.
- The manner of election of the President is provided by Article 55 of the Constitution which talks about uniformity in representation of different states in the election process of the President.
- Article 55 (3) of the Constitution provides that the election shall be held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting at such election shall be by secret ballot.
- Article 58 of the Indian Constitution provides that the President and Vice President of India must be citizens of India, and at least 35 years old.
- The Presidential candidate must be qualified for elections in the same way as a member of the Lok Sabha, and must not hold any office of profit under the Indian government.
The electoral college:
- The President of India is indirectly elected by an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both houses of parliament, the elected members of the Legislative assemblies of the 28 states and the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the union territories of Delhi, Puducherry.
- This is the second presidential election where J&K’s legislators will not participate, but the first after it became a UT in 2019.
- The electoral college for the presidential elections has 4,809 members, which includes 233 Rajya Sabha and 543 Lok Sabha members, and 4,033 MLAs of State Assemblies.
- Each member has a certain vote value based on the strength of the population they represent.
- The value of vote for each MP is 700 and it was reduced from 708 after the Jammu & Kashmir Assembly was dissolved in 2018, however, the value of an MLAs vote depends on the state the MLA belongs to.
Demonstration of political forces:
- The presidential contest of this year will have many layers of political meaning and symbolism, and therefore will be keenly watched by the country and the world.
- The new President will take over at a time when the country is faced with various religious, social, economic, security and other challenges.
- The presidential election will also be a demonstration of how political forces are aligned in the country with divergent views and conflicting ambitions.
- Periodic election of the President of India as per the constitution reflects the deeper democratic republic nature of the country.