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.

 

Explanation.—In this article and in article 55, ''State'' includes the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union territory of Pondicherry

Debate Summary

Article 43, Draft Constitution of India, 1948 

The President shall be elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of-

(a) The members of both Houses of Parliament, and

(b) The elected members of the Legislatures of the States.

 

The Constituent Assembly debated the Draft Article 43 (Article 54, Constitution of India, 1950) on 10th and 13th December 1948. The Draft Article describes the electoral college of the President.

 

One member moved an amendment to seek presidential elections to be based on direct elections by ‘adult citizens’. He opposed the Draft Article for not sufficiently representing the will of the people. In defence of his motion, he argued that direct elections were indispensable to ensure that the President was the true representative of the collective sovereignty of people. This amendment would not make him a ‘creature of party majorities’ and insulate him from the “vicissitudes of parliamentary fortunes”.

 

There was strong opposition to this proposal. One member noted that ‘adult citizens’ would even allow Indian citizens who were otherwise disqualified from voting in general elections. Further, it would be inconsistent with the parliamentary form of government which ‘presupposes responsible government’. The elected representatives are entrusted with the government, not citizens themselves. It was also argued that direct elections would make the President a ‘party man’. He would be supported by a political party as direct elections would necessitate active campaigning for votes. It was reminded that the President was not the ‘real sovereign’: he was analogous to the King of England.

 

The Chairman of the Drafting Committee responded to this proposal and highlighted its practical difficulties. First, he noted that the size of the electorate was too large and would make it extremely difficult to conduct presidential elections based on adult franchise. Second, direct elections would pose several administrative issues including inadequate unofficial polling staff, bribery, corruption, election manipulation. Third, since the President in the Indian Constitution was ‘only a figurehead’, it does not necessitate elections based on adult franchise.

 

The Assembly rejected this proposal and adopted the Draft Article with minor amendments.