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OFFICE OF VICE PRESIDENT AND HIS POSITION IN COUNCIL OF STATES

Updated: Feb 4

Author: Maranganty Sreelakshmi, II Year of B.A.,LL.B from Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies.


Introduction

The position of a Vice President in a nation is noticeable. His position is next to best in a country and he holds second highest office in the country. Part V of the Constitution of India under Chapter 1 talks about Vice President of India. Articles 63-73, which deal with the qualifications, election, and dismissal of the Vice President of India, describe everything about the Vice President. Article 63 of the Constitution Of India states “ There shall be a Vice President of India”.



Election of Vice President

Section 2(h) of the Presidential and Vice - Presidential Elections Act provides the definition of Vice President Election. It means an election to fill the office of the Vice President of India. Article 66 of the Indian Constitution highlight the election and eligibility criteria of the Vice President of India.

  1. The Vice President shall be elected by a secret ballot by members of an electoral college comprising of members of both houses of Parliament, in accordance with the proportional representation system, using a single transferrable vote.

  2. The Vice President may not be a member of either House of Parliament or a House of the Legislature of any State, and if a member of either House of Parliament or a House of the Legislature of any State is elected Vice President, he is deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date he takes office as Vice President.

  3. No person shall be eligible for the position of Vice President unless he is:

a) an Indian citizen;

b) Has reached the age of 35 years old ;

c) and is eligible to serve on the Council of States as a member.


4. A person is ineligible for election as Vice President if he occupies a profit-making position with the Government of India, the Government of any State, or any local or other authority under the control of any of the aforementioned Governments.


Thus, when election of Vice president takes place, no direct election is held. The designated candidate is indirectly elected by an Electoral college. However, there is difference between the college electing for the President and the Vice president. For Vice President, both nominated and elected members of both the Houses of the Parliament take part whereas for President only the elected members are eligible to elect. His elections are proportional representation. Further this article describes about the qualifications of the Vice president. It is clearly stated in the Constitution that Vice President cannot hold any office of profit under Government or outside locally. The State has no role in these elections.



Term of Office of Vice President

Article 67 of Constitution of India specifies about the term of office of Vice President of India.

The Vice President shall continue to be in office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office:

Provided that –

(a) A Vice President may resign his office by writing to the President;

(b) A Vice President may be removed from office by a resolution of the Council of States passed by a majority of all the then members of the Council and agreed to by the House of the People; but no resolution for the purpose of this clause shall be moved unless at least fourteen days' notice of the intention to move the resolution has been given;

(c) A Vice President shall continue to hold the office until his successor takes office, regardless of the expiration of his term.

This Article provides that the Vice President holds the office for 5 years but he can resign before the time by giving his resignation to the President. It also provides for other circumstances when there is vacancy in the office of the Vice President.


Vice President’s Power to Act as President

Article 65 gives the president the authority to serve as president or discharge his duties in the event of a vacancy or in the absence of the president.

  1. In the event of a vacancy in the office of the President due to his death, resignation, removal, or otherwise, the Vice President shall act as President until a new President is elected in accordance with the provisions of this chapter to fill the vacancy.

  2. In the event that the President is unable to perform his duties due to absence, illness, or any other reason, the Vice President will perform those duties until the President resumes his duties.

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


Ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha

Article 64 and 89(1) of the Constitution of India talks about Vice President’s role as 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 office of profit, Provided, however, that during any period in which the Vice President acts as President, he shall not perform the duties of the Chairman of the Council of States and shall be ineligible for any salary or allowance payable to the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha under Article 97.

  1. The Vice President of India serves as the Council of States' ex-officio Chairman.

  2. The Vice President is a member of the Executive branch of the government, but as Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, he also serves as a member of Parliament.


Dual Role of Vice President

The Vice President’s office is one of the peculiar features of the Indian Constitution. Th Vice President would preside over the Upper house (Rajya Sabha) and act as President in certain contingencies. Thus, this way, the Vice President of India takes up this dual capacity. First as the second highest head of the Executive and secondly, as the Presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha of Parliament. The separation of powers says that no person should have two roles or positions in Government yet Vice President gets two distinct powers and offices.


This eventually causes huge burden of responsibility on the holder of the two offices. He is expected to keep the duties of the two offices distinct and separate as these are two critical roles which involve proper decision making. It is also to be noted that while performing duties as Vice President, one cannot take any decision that clashes with the other position or office of him. As difficult as it may appear, the individual must manage through the chair of the Council of States with exceptional distinction and perform their tasks with dignity and ease on their own. These roles receive admiration and appreciation from nation as a whole as it involves dual roles by a single person.



Conclusion

The position of Vice President is a significant position of all the offices in the country. His duty is vital to the nation and Government. The Constitution has defined provisions for election, term of office of Vice President and how he can be removed from the office. It also talks about the powers the Vice President exercises over two positions. His dual role as Vice President and Ex-officio Chairman is crucial to the nation as it requires distinctive skills. He receives immense admiration from the nation.