Polity Notes: The Vice President

Polity Notes: The Vice President

Vice President of India

The Vice-President is elected by an electoral college consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament, in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote & the voting in such election is by secret ballot. The Electoral College to elect a person to the office of the Vice-President consists of all members of both Houses of Parliament. He is ex-officio chairman of Rajya Sabha.

The Vice-President should not be a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of a Legislature of any state. If a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of a Legislature of any state is elected as Vice-President, he is deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date he/she enters his office as Vice-President.

A person cannot be elected as Vice-President unless she/he-

  • is a citizen of India has completed the age of 35 years
  • is qualified for election as a member of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha).
  • Holds any office of profit under the Govt. of India or a State Govt. or any subordinate local authority.


Removal of Vice President

The Constitution states that the Vice President can be removed by a resolution of the Rajya Sabha passed by an absolute majority (more than 50% of total membership) & agreed to by a simple majority (50% of voting members) of the Lok Sabha (Article 67(a)).


Powers & functions of a VP

The functions of Vice-President are twofold:

  1. He acts as the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. In this capacity, his powers & functions are similar to those of the Speaker of Lok Sabha.
  2. He acts as President when a vacancy occurs in the office of the President due to his resignation, removal, death or otherwise. He can act as President only for a maximum period of six months, within which a new President has to be elected. Further, when the sitting President is unable to discharge his functions due to absence, illness or any other cause, the Vice-President discharges his functions until the President resumes his office.

While acting as President or discharging the functions of President, the Vice-President does not perform the duties of the office of the chairman of Rajya Sabha. During this period, those duties are performed by the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha.

  • If the offices of both the President & the Vice-President fall vacant by reason of death, resignation, removal etc the Chief Justice of India or in his absence the seniormost judge of the Supreme Court acts as President.
  • For the first time, during the 15-day visit of Dr. Rajendra Prasad to the Soviet Union in June 1960, the then Vice- President Dr. Radhakrishnan acted as the President.
  • For the first time, in 1969, when the President Dr. Zakir Hussain died & the Vice-President V.V. Giri resigned, the Chief Justice Md. Hidayatullah acted as President.




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