Presidential Election 2017: How is the President of India elected?

The President of the Republic of India is the Head of State of India and the Commander-in-chief of the Indian Armed Forces.

  • This year presidential election will be held in India on July 17

The candidates are: Ram Nath Kovind from NDA led by BJP & Meira Kumar led by opposition party Congress (UPA).

  • Total Number of Nominations as on 22nd June 2017: 29
  • Number of rejections as on 20th June 2017: 09

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

Article 58 of the Constitution sets the principle qualifications one must meet to be eligible to the office of the President

  • citizen of India
  • 35 years of age or above.
  • Qualified to become a member of the Lok Sabha.
  • A person should not 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.

Exceptions: Certain office-holders, however, are permitted to stand as Presidential candidates. These are

  • The current Vice-President
  • The Governor of any state
  • A Minister of the Union or of any state (including Prime Minister and Chief Ministers)

Election Process

The president is elected for a term of 5 years. He may terminate his own term by writing a resignation addressed to Vice president. He can be removed from the office ONLY by impeachment. He is eligible to re-elected for the same office for unlimited times. The president is not elected by the people directly. A president is elected by an electoral college.

This Electoral College consists of the following

  1. Elected members of parliament (MPs from Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha).
  2. Elected members of State legislative members, including that if NCT of Delhi and Pondicherry.

NOTE :-Members of legislative councils in the state where there are bicameral legislatures cannot participate in election of PRESIDENT.

Proportional Representation

 

With a view to ensure uniformity of the representation of different states and parity between the Union and the states, the constitution in article 56 provides an ingenious method.

How is the value of votes calculated?

The value of votes of electors (voters) is basically determined on the basis of population of the States. Since population figures are dynamic and keep changing every year, it has been decided through the 84th Constitutional Amendment, that until the population figures for the first census after 2026 are published (in other words, 2031 census), the population of the States for the purpose of this calculation will mean the population as per the 1971 census.

 

→ The Process for calculating the Value of MLA vote:

The value of the vote of each MLA is calculated by dividing the population of the State as per 1971 Census, by the total number of elected members of the respective state assembly, and then to divide the quotient by 1000. Total Value of all members of each State Assembly is

obtained by multiplying the number of seats in the Assembly by the number of votes for each member. Let us look at Andhra Pradesh as an example.

 

Similar process is followed for all the states.

For the 2017 Presidential election, the total value of
the MLA votes is 5,49,495. The value of a MLA vote in individual states is in the table below.

The Process for calculating the Value of MP vote:

  • The total value of votes of all the States is divided by the total number of elected members of Parliament (Lok Sabha 543+Rajya Sabha 233) to get the value of votes of each Member of Parliament or the MP. For 2017, this worked out to be 708. The value of a MP vote is substantially higher than the value of a MLA vote. It is in fact 3.5 times the value of a MLA’s vote in Uttar Pradesh where the value of MLA vote is maximum.

  • Both the values (MP & MLA) are added to the total value of the votes for any Presidential Election. In 2017, this value was 10,98,903 (549408 for MP & 549495 for MLA). The total number of eligible voters in the 2017 election is 4896 (776 MPs & 4120 MLAs from states).

The Election Process:

A ballot paper is given to each voter with the names of the contesting candidates, green ballot paper for MPs & Pink ballot paper for MLAs. This election happens through the Single Transferable Vote (STV).  Hence each voter can mark as many preferences, as the number of candidates contesting the election. These preferences for the candidates are to be marked by the voter, by marking the figures 1,2,3, 4, 5 and so on, against the names of the candidates, in the order of preference.

Counting Process:

  • The winning candidate has to secure the required quota of votes to be declared elected, i.e., 50% of valid first preferential votes polled +1. After the valid ballot papers are segregated from the invalid ones, the valid ballot papers are distributed among the contesting candidates on the basis of first preference marked on each of them for those candidates. The value of votes in favour of each contesting candidate is ascertained by multiplying the number of ballot papers on which the first preference is marked for him, by the value of vote which each ballot paper of a member (MP or MLA) represents. The total votes secured by each contesting candidate is then ascertained by adding together the value of votes secured by him from the MPs and the MLAs. This is the first round of counting.
  • To ascertain whether there is a winner after the first round of counting, the value of votes credited to each contesting candidate in the first round of counting is added up to determine the total value of valid votes polled at the election. This total value is divided by two and one is added to the quotient to determine the required quota for victory (50% +1). If any of the candidates receives the required number of votes in the first round, he is declared a winner.

However, even after the first round of counting, no candidate secures the required quota of votes, then the counting proceeds through a process of elimination and exclusion, whereby the candidate credited with the lowest number of first preferential votes in the first round is excluded and all his ballot papers are distributed among the remaining candidates on the basis of the second preferences marked in such ballots. The value of such transferred ballot papers will be the same as the value at which the excluded candidate received them. The ballot papers on which second preference is not marked is treated as exhausted ballot papers and shall not be further counted, even if the third or subsequent preferences are marked. This process is continued until there is a clear winner with 50% +1.

Dispute in the Presidential Election

Article 71 stipulates that all doubts arising out of election of the president will be decided by the “Supreme Court”. There can be no dispute on vacancy in an electoral college. Please note that Constitution 39th Amendment Act had taken away the power of the Supreme Court to settle such disputes. However, this power was restored by Constitution 42nd amendment act. So, if there is any dispute, an election petition is filed with Supreme Court of India which is the only authority to try an election petition regarding President’s election. A petition regarding the dispute in election can be filed by any of the presidential candidates. A petition can be filed by any 20 or more electors as joint petitioners. Petition should be filed within 30 days of declaration of the result.

Question to be asked:


Q.1 Consider the following regarding the electoral college for election of president of India. (i) Electoral college consist of elected members of both the houses of Parliament. (ii) Electoral college consists of elected members of legislative assemblies of State. (iii) Electoral college consists of elected members of legislative assemblies of Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct.

Correct answer is [d].

Q.2- Consider the following regarding election of president of India. (i) The president election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferrable vote and voting is by secret ballot. (ii) The system of proportional representation ensures that the successful candidate is returned by absolute majority of votes. (iii) Under this system, a candidate in order to be declared elected to the office of president does not require any fixed quota of votes. Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct about it?

Correct answer is [b].

Q.3-Consider the following statements. (i) The President should be qualified for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha. (ii) The President should not hold any office of profit as he qualified as a presidental candidate. Which of the statement given above is / are correct.

Correct answer is [b].


 

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