Do you agree with the view, that being head of the state and being supreme commander of Indian armed forces, the election of president of India should be direct? What would be practical difficulties in the same? While taking reference from the constituent assembly deliberation on this matter, explain why we have current system in place.

Published: July 8, 2017

Some Constituent assembly member favored a direct election of President. However, for several reasons, the direct election was crossed out. Firstly, President is only nominal head and his duties are carried out in reality by other authorities, particularly the Council of Ministers. Secondly, a president belongs to everyone including ruling dispensation, opposition at centre and their counterparts at states. If it was a direct election, then surely it would generate party feelings and political excitement. Thirdly, providing huge electoral machinery for election of nominal head would be almost impossible. Fourthly, a directly elected president may not be content with his position as a nominal and constitutional head and he would claim to derive his authority from people. This would create a constitutional deadlock / crisis several times and inevitable clash with the real executive.
To avoid these practical problems, the framers of constitution adopted a middle course and an original method {method of presidential election in India was not adopted from any other constitution} whereby it was made more broad based. This was done by expanding the Electoral College and including the MLAs from all over India. The idea was to give impression that President is chosen by the nation as a whole, indirectly, through elected representatives of the people. This way, efforts were made to make a president not to be a man of majority and entrust in him more moral responsibility.

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