Articles 52 to 78 in Part V of the Constitution deal with the Union executive. The Union executive consists of the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, the council of ministers and the attorney general of India. The President is the head of the Indian State. He is the first citizen of India and acts as the symbol of unity, integrity and solidarity of the nation.
ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENT
The President is elected not directly by the people but by members of Electoral College consisting of:
1. the elected members of both the Houses of Parliament;
2. the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the states; and
3. the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry1.
The Constitution provides that there shall be uniformity in the scale of representation of different states as well as parity between the states as a whole and the Union at the election of the President. To achieve this, the number of votes which each elected member of the legislative assembly of each state and the Parliament is entitled to cast at such election shall be determined in the following manner:
1. Every elected member of the legislative assembly of a state shall have as many votes as there are multiples of one thousand in the quotient obtained by dividing the population of the state by the total number of the elected members of the assembly. This can be expressed as:
Value of the vote of an MLA =
2. Every elected member of either House of Parliament shall have such number of votes as may be obtained by dividing the total number of votes assigned to members of the legislative assemblies of the states by the total number of the elected members of both the Houses of Parliament. This can be expressed as:
Value of the vote of an MP =
The President’s election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting is by secret ballot. This system ensures that the successful candidate is returned by the absolute majority of votes. A candidate, in order to be declared elected to the office of President, must secure a fixed quota of votes. The quota of votes is determined by dividing the total number of valid votes polled by the number of candidates to be elected (here only one candidate is to be elected as President) plus one and adding one to the quotient. The formula can be expressed as:
Electoral quota =
All doubts and disputes in connection with election of the President are inquired into and decided by the Supreme Court whose decision is final. The election of a person as President cannot be challenged on the ground that the Electoral College was incomplete (ie, existence of any vacancy among the members of Electoral College). If the election of a person as President is declared void by the Supreme Court, acts done by him before the date of such declaration of the Supreme Court are not invalidated and continue to remain in force.
Indirect election due to the following reasons:
1. The indirect election of the President is in harmony with the parliamentary system of government envisaged in the Constitution. Under this system, the President is only a nominal executive and the real powers are vested in the council of ministers headed by the prime minister. It would have been anomalous to have the President elected directly by the people and not give him any real power.
2. The direct election of the President would have been very costly and time- and energy consuming due to the vast size of the electorate. This is unwarranted keeping in view that he is only a symbolic head. The present system makes the President a representative of the Union and the states equally.
QUALIFICATIONS, OATH AND CONDITIONS
Qualifications for Election as President
A person to be eligible for election as President should fulfil the following qualifications:
1. He should be a citizen of India.
2. He should have completed 35 years of age.
3. He should be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha.
4. He should not hold any office of profit under the Union government or any state government or any local authority or any other public authority. A sitting President or Vice-President of theUnion, the Governor of any state and a minister of the Union or any state is not deemed to hold any office of profit and hence qualified as a presidential candidate.
Oath or Affirmation by the President
Before entering upon his office, the President has to make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation. In his oath, the President swears:
1. to faithfully execute the office;
2. to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law; and
3. to devote himself to the service and well-being of the people of India.
The oath of office to the President is administered by the Chief Justice of India and in his absence, the
seniormost judge of the Supreme Court available. Any other person acting as President or discharging the functions of the President also undertakes the similar oath or affirmation.
Conditions of President’s Office
The Constitution lays down the following conditions of the President’s office:
1. He should not be a member of either House of Parliament or a House of the state legislature. If any such person is elected as President, he is deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date on which he enters upon his office as President.
2. He should not hold any other office of profit.
3. He is entitled, without payment of rent, to the use of his official residence (the Rastrapathi Bhavan).
4. He is entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as may be determined by Parliament.
5. His emoluments and allowances cannot be diminished during his term of office.
The President is entitled to a number of privileges and immunities. He enjoys personal immunity from legal liability for his official acts. During his term of office, he is immune from any criminal proceedings, even in respect of his personal acts. He cannot be arrested or imprisoned. However, after giving two months’ notice, civil proceedings can be instituted against him during his term of office in respect of his personal acts.