Process of Election of President of India
Who can be a President of India?
Article 58 of the constitution lay down the qualifications of a president in India. These qualifications are:
- He/ she should be a citizen of India,
- He / she must have completed the age of 35 years
- He / she must be qualified for election as a member of the House of the People.
- He/ she should not hold any office of profit under Union or state government.
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:
- Elected members of parliament (MPs from Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha).
- Elected members of State legislative members, including that if NCT of Delhi and Pondicherry
Members of legislative councils in the states where there are bicameral legislatures can NOT participate in election of President.
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.
The formula for value of vote for an MLA is as follows:
Value of Vote of MLA= x
The formula for value of the vote for an MP is as follows:
Value of Vote of MP =
Kindly note the following observations
- MPs and MLAs do not have one vote each but their votes are equal to the average number of people they represent.
- Since MPs represent the whole country they have more votes, and MLAs have fewer votes than MPs as they represent only the people in their states. This is called “proportional representation”.
- MPs in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have 708 votes each. Compared to this, MLAs have about 100 or 200 votes, depending on the size of their states
- MLAs from Uttar Pradesh have largest number of votes. The value of vote of each Member of the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh is 208 and that of Sikkim is 7.
- In the election of the President of India, top 10 states with maximum votes of MLAs are as follows:
- The original intention of proportional representation was that “population” would be as ascertained by the last preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published. However, the 42nd amendment act 1976, froze the “last preceding census” to that of 1971 census, till the first census after 2000″. However, in 2000, the union Cabinet made a decision to extend that freeze until the relevant figures for the first census taken after 2026.This was later made possible by the Constitution (Eighty-fourth) Amendment Act, 2001, which provides that until the relevant population figures for the first census to be taken after the year 2026 have been published. So, the population of the States for the purposes of calculation of value of votes for the Presidential Election shall mean the population as ascertained at the 1971-census.
Process of Election
The value of vote of each elector is pre-determined as per the formulae given above. The MPs and MLA give vote on the ballot paper by marking their preference to the candidates. These ballot papers are later separated in trays which are meant for the candidate to whom the first preference was marked. After distributing the ballot papers of each state separately, the returning officer counts the valid votes. These totals valid votes are multiplied by the value of each vote and that total is credited to the candidate as the total value of votes secured. After this, value of valid votes secured by each candidate is totalled. After calculating the total value of votes polled by each candidate, the Returning Officer totals up the value of all valid votes polled. The quota for declaring a candidate as elected is determined by dividing the total value of valid votes by 2 and adding one to the quotient, ignoring the remainder, if any.
For example, assuming the total value of valid votes polled by all candidates is 1,00,001. The quota required for getting elected is:
+1 = 50,000.50 +1 (ignore .50)
If any candidate has secured the above quota of votes, he/ she is declared elected. If none of them secures the above data then following process is followed:
- Returning Officer proceeds further to second round of counting during which the candidate having lowest value of votes of first preference is excluded and his votes are distributed among the remaining candidates according to the second preference marked on these ballot papers.
- The other continuing candidates receive the votes of excluded candidate at the same value at which he/she received them in the first round of counting.
- The Returning Officer will go on excluding the candidates with lowest number of votes in subsequent rounds of counting till either one of the continuing candidates gets the required quota or till only one candidate remains in the field as the continuing candidate and shall declare him/her as elected.
Number of Electors
The last Presidential elections in India were held in 2012. The total number of members in the Electoral College for the Presidential election in 2012 was 4896, as follows:
- Rajya Sabha = 233
- Lok Sabha = 543
- State Assemblies = 4120
- Total = 4896
Value of Each MLA Votes
The following table shows the value of each state elector (MLAs) from state assemblies.
Calculation of the Votes for 2012 Elections
- Total Members: Lok Sabha (543) + Rajya Sabha (233) = 776
- Value Of Each Vote = = 708
- Total Value Of Votes Of 776 Members Of Parliament = 708 X 776 = 549408
- Total Electors for the Presidential Election = MLAs (4120) + MPs (776) = 4896
- Total Value Of 4896 Electors For The Presidential Election 2012 = 549474 + 549408 = 1098882
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.