“The sublimity of administration consists in knowing the proper degree of power that should be exerted on different occasions.”
– Charles de Montesquieu
The post of Vice-President of India is established on the lines of the American Vice-President. In India, Vice-President is the second-highest office in the country. Article 63 of the Indian Constitution, 1950 refers to the post of Vice-President. This regarded position accepted its only holder as Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who served for ten years (May 13, 1952-May 12, 1962) and is currently embraced by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, as the thirteenth Vice President of free India (eleventh August 2017- present).
Constitution of India, 1950
The establishment and functions of the Vice-President of India are stated via various articles of the Constitution of India, 1950.
The Statutory Position
Article 63 of the Constitution of India, 1950 provides that there shall be a Vice-President of India.
Ex-officio Chairman of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha)
Article 64 of the Constitution of India, 1950 provides that the Vice-President shall be ex officio Chairman of the Council of the States and shall not hold any other office of profit:
Provided that during any period when the Vice-President acts as President or discharges the functions of the President under article 65, he shall not perform the duties of the office of Chairman of the Council of States and shall not be entitled to any salary or allowance payable to the Chairman of the Council of States under article 97.
Act as President or to discharge his functions during casual vacancies in the office or during the absence of President
Article 65 of the Constitution of India, 1950 provides: The Vice-President to act as President or to discharge his functions during casual vacancies in the office, or during the absence, of President in the following circumstances:
- In the event of the occurrence of any vacancy in the office of the President because of his death, resignation or removal, or otherwise, the Vice-President shall act as President until the date on which a new President elected per the provisions of this Chapter to fill such vacancy enters upon his office.
- When the President is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence, illness, or any other cause, the Vice-President shall discharge his functions until the date on which the President resumes his duties.
- The Vice-President shall, during, and in respect of, the period while he is so acting as, or discharging the functions of, President, have all the powers and immunities of the President and be entitled to such payments, allowances, and privileges, as may be determined by Parliament by law and, until provision in that behalf, is so made such costs, subsidies, and privileges as are specified in the Second Schedule.
Election of the Vice President
Article 66 of the Constitution of India, 1950 provides for the election of Vice-President in the following way:
- The Vice-President shall be elected by an electoral college consisting of both Houses of Parliament per the proportional representation system through the single transferable vote. The voting at such an election shall be by secret ballot.
- The Vice-President shall not be a member of either House of Parliament or a House of the Legislature of any State. However, suppose a member of either House of Parliament or a House of the Legislature of any State is elected Vice-President. In that case, he shall be deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date he enters his office as Vice-President.
- No person shall be eligible for election as Vice-President unless he—
- is a citizen of India;
- has completed the age of thirty-five years; and
- is qualified for election as a member of the Council of States.
- A person shall not be eligible for election as Vice-President if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments.
Explanation: For this article, a person shall not be deemed to hold any office of profit by reason only that he is the President or Vice-President of the Union or the Governor of any State or is a Minister either for the Union or any State.
Term of office of the Vice President
Article 67 of the Constitution of India, 1950 provides that the Vice-President shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office provided that:
- a Vice-President may, by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office;
- a Vice-President may be removed from his office by a resolution of the Council of States passed by a majority of all the then members of the Council and agreed to by the House of the People, but no resolution for this clause shall be moved unless at least fourteen days’ notice has been given of the intention to move the resolution;
- a Vice-President shall, notwithstanding the expiration of his term, continue to hold office until his successor enters upon his office.
Time of holding election to fill the vacancy in the office of Vice-President and the term of office of person elected to fill the casual vacancy
Article 68 of the Constitution of India, 1950 provides the time of holding election to fill the vacancy in the office of Vice-President and the term of office of person elected to fill the casual vacancy by following way:
- An election to fill a vacancy caused by the expiration of the term of office of the Vice-President shall be completed before the expiry of the period.
- An election to fill a vacancy in the office of Vice-President occurring because of his death, resignation, or removal, or otherwise shall be held as soon as possible after the occurrence of the vacancy. The person elected to fill the vacancy shall, subject to the provisions of article 67, be entitled to hold office for the entire term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office.
Oath or affirmation by the Vice President
Article 69 of the Constitution of India, 1950 provides that every Vice-President shall, before entering upon his office, make and subscribe before the President, or some person appointed in that behalf by him, an oath or affirmation in the following form, that is to say-
“I, A.B., do swear in the name of God that I will bear true faith and solemnly affirm allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established and that I will faithfully discharge the duty upon which I am about to enter.”
Discharge of President’s functions in other contingencies
Article 70 of the Constitution of India, 1950 provides that the Parliament may make such provisions as it thinks fit for the discharge of the functions of the President in any contingency not provided for in this Chapter.
Matters relating to, or connected with, the election of a President or Vice President
Article 71 of the Constitution of India, 1950 provides for all the matters relating to, or connected with, the election of a President or Vice-President as follows:
- All doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with the election of a President or Vice-President shall be inquired into and decided by the Supreme Court, whose decision shall be final.
- If the election of a person as President or Vice-President is declared void by the Supreme Court, acts done by him in the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of the office of President or Vice President, as the case may be, on or before the date of the decision of the Supreme Court shall not be invalidated because of that declaration.
- Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may by law regulate any matter relating to or connected with the election of a President or Vice-President.
- The election of a person as President or Vice-President shall not be called in question on the ground.
Interesting Facts about Vice Presidents of India
- The only Vice President of India was Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. He served twice as the Vice President of India from 1952 to 1962. However, he was chosen only in 1952 and again selected in 1957.
- In the wake of serving two terms as Vice President, S Radhakrishnan was chosen as the President of India in the year 1962. S Radhakrishnan was the only individual who worked as Vice President of India and President of India.
- From the beginning of the only Lok Sabha in 1952, 12 Vice Presidents of India have served up until 2016.
- 7 Vice Presidents were raised and chosen for the President of India.
- There are just two Vice Presidents of India who served twice (for back-to-back two terms); S Radhakrishnan and Hamid Ansari. Initially, Hamid Ansari served as Vice President of India from 2007 to 2012 and afterward from 2012 to 2016.
- S Radhakrishnan, the Vice President of India who later became President, likewise is known as the great intellect, researcher, logician, and known for his essential information on Hindu Culture who additionally addressed India at UNESCO.
- K. R. Narayanan and Hamid Ansari were civil servants and not politicians. The two began their profession as an IFS (Indian Foreign Services) officers.
- K R Narayanan was the only Vice President of India wedded to a foreigner. While functioning as IFS Officer, he married Ma Tint, a Burmese public. She later changed her name to Usha Narayanan.
- Shankar Dayal Sharma was the only Vice President who worked before as Chief Minister of a state, Cabinet served and was appointed President of the Indian National Congress.
- Mohammad Hidayatullah, Gopal Swarup Pathak, R Venkatraman were Vice Presidents of India who were lawyers by profession.
- The only Vice President (later became President) was an individual from Constituent Assembly that drafted Constitution – R Venkatraman.
- Vice President of India was a co-founder of Jamia Milia Islamia, a National Muslim University – Zakir Hussain. Zakir Hussain likewise was appointed as Vice-Chancellor of AMU (Aligarh Muslim University).
- However, the only Vice President who fought elections for the post of President lost – Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. He fought the political race for President against Pratibha Patil.
Interesting Facts about the current Vice President of India
- Born in Nellore in 1949, Naidu is the third from Andhra Pradesh to be chosen as India’s vice-president.
- Venkaiah Naidu hails from an agricultural background.
- He is the only BJP Vice President of India.
- Naidu is the only Vice President born past Independence.
- He became active in ‘Sangh’ Parivar by joining the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
- He was the University Union President of Andhra University.
- Naidu was detained during the Emergency.
- Naidu was the second person from Andhra Pradesh and the third from South India to become party president of BJP.
- He has been chosen as Rajya Sabha multiple times – three times from Andhra Pradesh and once from Rajasthan.
- He has been chosen as a minister twice – once under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and others under Narendra Modi.
- He has established a trust called the ‘Swarna Bharat Trust’ – a social NGO to support the oppressed and poor.