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Everything You Should Know About Vice-President of India

Focus: GS II- Polity and Governance

Why in News?

The Election Commission has announced that the election to the post of the Vice-President (VP) will be held on August 6, as M. Venkaiah Naidu’s term was coming to an end on August 10.

About Vice-President:

  • The Vice-President occupies the second highest office in the country.
  • He is accorded a rank next to the President in the official warrant of precedence.
  • This office is modelled on the lines of the American Vice President.

Election

  • The Vice-President, is elected by the method of indirect election. He is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament.
  • Thus, this electoral college is different from the electoral college for the election of the President in the following two respects:
    • It consists of both elected and nominated members of the Parliament (in the case of president, only elected members).
    • It does not include the members of the state legislative assemblies (in the case of President, the elected members of the state legislative assemblies are included).

Qualification

To be eligible for election as Vice-President, a person should fulfil the following qualifications:

  • He should be a citizen of India.
  • He should have completed 35 years of age.
  • He should be qualified for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
  • He should not hold any office of profit under the Union government or any state government or any local authority or any other public authority.

The nomination of a candidate for election to the office of VicePresident must be subscribed by at least 20 electors as proposers and 20 electors as seconders. Every candidate has to make a security deposit of 15,000 in the Reserve Bank of India.

Oath or Affirmation

  • Before entering upon his office, the Vice-President has to make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation. In his oath, the Vice-President swears
    • To bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India
    • To faithfully discharge the duties of his office.
  • The oath of office to the Vice-President is administered by the President or some person appointed in that behalf by him.

Conditions of the Office

The Constitution lays down the following two conditions of the Vice President’s office:

  • He should not be a member of either House of Parliament or a House of the state legislature. If any such person is elected Vice-President, he is deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date on which he enters upon his office as Vice-President.
  •  He should not hold any other office of profit.

Powers and Functions

The functions of Vice-President are two-fold

  •  He acts as the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. In this capacity, his powers and functions are similar to those of the Speaker of Lok Sabha. In this respect, he resembles the American vice-president who also acts as the Chairman of the Senate, the Upper House of the American legislature.
  •  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.

Removal of Vice President

  • The Constitution states that the vice president can be removed by a resolution of the Rajya Sabha passed by an Effective majority (majority of all the then members) and agreed by the Lok Sabha with a simple majority( Article 67(b)).
  • But no such resolution may be moved unless at least 14 days’ notice in advance has been given.
  • Notably, the Constitution does not list grounds for removal.
  • No Vice President has ever faced removal or the deputy chairman in the Rajya Sabha cannot be challenged in any court of law per Article 122.


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