Presidential Election: How the Indian President is Elected
The Indian President enjoys a term of 5 years in office, unless removed earlier by the Parliament. After every years the Presidential election takes place. This article goes into the details of the Indian Presidential elections, the eligibility, the actual election process, how votes are calculated, share of states in the vote and disputes, if any, regarding the Presidential elections.
Eligibility for Office of the President:
Article 59 of the constitution of India states any Indian fulfilling the following requirements is eligible to become president of India:
(i) must be a citizen of India;
(ii) must have completed the age of 35 years;
(iii) must be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha;
(iv) must not hold any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local authority subject to the control of any of these Governments
In short a person who is eligible to become a member of lower house and aged more than 35 years is eligible to become President.
Procedure for the Election of the President
Article 54 of the constitution says:
“The President shall be elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of –
(a) The elected members of both Houses of Parliament and
(b) The elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States (including National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Pondicherry vide the Constitution 70th amendment Act, 1992).”
Note: The electoral college does not include
- Nominated members of both the Houses of the Parliament
- Nominated members of State Assemblies
- Elected as well as nominated members of State Legislative Councils.
- Nominated members of Legislative Assemblies of Delhi and Puducherry
Voting by Proportional Representation:
Article 55(3) of Indian Constitution requires that the President should be elected in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
It prevents the exclusion of minorities from the benefits of the State, and to give each minority group an effective share in the political life.
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used. In India, MLCs and MPs to the Upper House are elected using this scheme. Proportional Representation means that the number of seats won by a person/party is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system, if 50% of voters voted for a party then roughly 50% of seats will be won by that party.
Value of the vote of an MLA = (Total population of state)/(Total number of elected members in the assembly*1000)
Value of the vote of an MP= (Total values of votes of MLAs)/(Total no.of MPs)
All the votes are added to the Electoral College which amounts to 4,896 electors. This electoral college comprises 776 MPs and 4,120 MLAs from across the country.
The total value of MP votes is 549408 votes and the total value of MLA votes is 549474 votes. While value of MLA vote can differ between states and UTs as depicted above, the value of an MP vote is 708. The total value of votes of the electoral college is 1098882 votes.
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The minimum number required to elect the president is 549442.
Note :1971 census is used to calculate the vote value for each MP/MLA.
Process of Election:
The value of vote of each elector is pre-determined as per the formulae mentioned above. The MPs and MLA give vote on the ballot paper by marking their preference (1,2,3 etc.) to the candidates.
Total valid votes are counted and then 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.
For example, assuming the total value of valid votes polled by all candidates is 5,00,000. The quota required for getting elected is: 5,00,000/2 +1 = 2,50,001
- If any candidate has secured the above quota of votes, he is declared elected.
- If none of them secures the requisite quota then second round of counting is done 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.
- The other continuing candidates receive the votes of excluded candidate.
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 as elected.
Disputes regarding election to the office of the President:
All doubts and disputes arising in connection with the election of a President shall be inquired into and decided by the Supreme Court through an election petition can be filed before the Supreme Court.
However, the election cannot be challenged on the ground that the electoral college was incomplete.
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