“If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the Father, the Mother, and the Teacher.”
- APJ Abdul Kalam
The President of India, (Bharat ke Rashtrapati) is the ceremonial head of the State of the Republic of India and the Commander-in-chief of the Indian Armed forces. He is also called the first citizen of India and acts as the symbol of the integrity and solidarity of the Nation.
Origin of the post of President:
India achieved its independence from the British on 15th August 1947 and was still being represented by a Governor-General. Following that, the Constituent Assembly of India, under the leadership of B.R Ambedkar, undertook the process of drafting a completely new Constitution for the country. The Constitution of India was enacted on 26th November 1949 and came into force on 26th January 1950, this made India a Republic. The offices of monarch and governor-general were replaced by the new office of President of India, with Rajendra Prasad as the First President of Independent Republic India.
Election of President of India
Article 52 of the Indian Constitution says that there shall be a President of India. The provisions of the election of the President are laid down in Article 54 of the Constitution of India.
Qualifications for election as President of India
Article 58 of the Indian Constitution embodies the qualifications for election as President of India. They are listed below:
A person who is not a citizen of India is not eligible for election as President.
A person must have completed the age of 35.
A person must be qualified for election as a member of the House of the People.
A person must not hold a government (central or state) office of profit. However, if
A person is eligible for election as President if he/she is holding the office of President or Vice-President.
A person is eligible for election as President if he/she is holding the office of the Governor.
A person is eligible for election as President if he/she is holding the office of Union/ State Minister.
Election of the President of India:
An Electoral College following the system of proportional representation utilizing a single transferable vote system and secret ballots elects the President of India indirectly. MPs and MLAs vote based on parity and uniformity values.
Electoral College composition-
I. Legislative Assemblies of the States: According to the provision of Article 333, every state’s Legislative Assembly must consist of not less than 60 members but not more than 500 members.
II. Council of States: 12 members are nominated by the President of India based on skills or knowledge in literature, arts, science, and social service to act as the members of the Council of States. In total, 238 represent act as representatives from both the States and Union Territories.
III. House of the People: The composition of the House of People consists of 530 members from the state territorial constituencies. They are elected through direct election. The President further elects 20 more members from the Union Territories.
Single vote system- During the presidential election, one voter can cast only one vote. While the MLAs vote may vary state to state, the MPs vote always remain constant.
MPs and MLAs vote balance- The number of the total value of the MPs votes must equal the total value of the MLAs to maintain the State and the Union balance.
The President of India is elected through proportional representation using the means of the single transferable vote (Article 55(3)).
Under the system of proportional representation, the total weightage of all MLA votes equals the total value of that of the MPs.However, the weightage of the votes of the MLAs varies on the basis of the population of their respective states. For example, the vote of an MLA from Uttar Pradesh would be given higher weightage than the vote of an MLA from a less populous state like Sikkim.