Election of Vice President: Review of Constitutional Provisions

What is the process of Election of Vice President? What are key differences between elections of President and Vice President in India?

Article 63 of the Constitution of India, 1950 mandates the election of a Vice President of India. The procedure for the election of the Vice President has also been enshrined in Article 66 of our Constitution. It provides that the Vice President is elected through an indirect election process wherein an electoral college which consists of members of both Houses of the Parliament votes based on the principle of proportional representation. Every member casts by means of a single transferable vote and secret ballot system is followed.

Eligibility criteria

The criteria for determining eligibility of a Vice Presidential candidate as per Article 66 are:

  • He or she must be a citizen of India.
  • He or she shall have attained the age of 35 years.
  • He or she is qualified to be elected as a member of the Council of States.
  • He or she shall not be a member of either House of Parliament or the Legislature of a state. However, such a position held is deemed to be vacated when such a person is elected as Vice President.
  • He or she shall not hold office of profit in the Government of India, Government of any state, local or other authority. Here office of profit does not refer to position of President, Vice President, Governor of state or a Minister of Union or state.

As per Article 68 of the Constitution, the election of the next Vice President must be conducted before the expiration of office of the present Vice President. A Vice President can hold office for a term of five years.

Counting of Votes

As per the rules of the Election Commission, the winning candidate is determined using a minimum quota of votes which is 50% of total valid votes +1. A Returning Officer is appointed to whom the contesting candidates have to submit their nomination paper and security deposit. The nomination paper needs to be subscribed by atleast 20 electors as proposers and 20 electors as seconders. The amount of security deposit is Rs 15,000.

Differences between Election of President and Vice President

The election of both President and Vice President occurs through indirect election by an Electoral College via single transferable vote and secret ballot. But the composition of the Electoral College in both the elections varies in two ways:

  • While the Electoral College for Presidential elections consists of only the elected members of Parliament, the electoral college of Vice Presidential Elections also includes nominated members along with elected members.
  • In the election of President, the members of state Legislative Assembly also are eligible to vote (Article 54)but this is not the case for Vice Presidential elections.

Further, while a Vice President is eligible to be elected in the Council of states a President must be eligible to be elected in the House of the People (Article 58).