(1) No person shall be eligible for election as President unless he—

 

(a) is a citizen of India,

 

(b) has completed the age of thirty-five years, and

 

(c) is qualified for election as a member of the House of the People.

 

(2) A person shall not be eligible for election as President if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments.

 

Explanation.—For the purposes of 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 for any State

Debate Summary

Article 47, Draft Constitution of India, 1948 

(1) No person shall be eligible for election as President unless he-

(a) Is a citizen of India,

(b) Has completed the age of thirty-five years, and

(c) Is qualified for election as a member of the House of the People.

(2) A person shall not be eligible for election as President if he holds any office or position of emolument under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments.

Explanation.- For the purposes of this clause a person shall not be deemed to hold any office or position of emolument by reason only that-

(a) He is a minister either for India or for any State for the time being specified in Part I of the First Schedule; or

(b) He is a minister for any State for the time being specified in Part III of the First Schedule, if he is responsible to the Legislature of the State, or, where there are two Houses of the Legislature of the State, to the Lower House of the Legislature, and if not less than three-fourths of the members of the Legislature or House, as the case may be, are elected.

 

The Constituent Assembly debated Draft Article 47 (Article 58, Constitution of India, 1950) on 27 December 1948 and 13 October 1949. The Draft Article lays down the qualifications of the President.

 

There was a proposal to add a disqualification to Clause 1: “by reason of any conviction for treason, or any offence against the State, or any violation of the Constitution". It was urged that this “categoric disqualification is a safeguard for the free and honest working of the Constitution”.The Chairman of the Drafting Committee was not convinced by this proposal. He reminded that clause 1 (c) required the President to have qualified for election as a member of the House of the People. Further, Draft Article 83 (Article 102, Constitution of India) empowered the Parliament to enact laws with comprehensive disqualifications for the House of the People members. Therefore the issue of codifying disqualifications must be left for future Parliaments.

 

One member sought to ensure a Minister’s resignation from his office prior to signing up as a Presidential candidate. This, he reasoned, would avoid misuse of the Minister’s office and staff for Presidential campaign. The Chairman of the Drafting Committee highlighted that this amendment would ‘create complete administrative chaos’.  If Ministers were to resign, then the administrative responsibilities would come to a halt. It would not be feasible to delegate this role to bureaucrats or temporary Ministers. He further noted that the Election Commission, a constitutional body, would ensure fair elections and prevent any Minister from exercising undue influence.

 

An amendment which would require the President-elect to declare all ‘right, title, share, property and interest’ in any government-aided or supported enterprise, business or trade was moved. Such assets were to be bought by the government. The mover invoked the German President Hindenberg’s example who played a crucial role in strengthening the Nazi government. And strongly urged ‘that President should be free from any entanglements’. In opposition, it was reminded that this proposal would infringe the right to hold private property which was a recognised fundamental right. The Chairman of the Drafting Committee observed that this ‘novel condition’ was unprecedented: he illustrated how even the American Constitution, which adopted a Presidential form of government, did not have a similar mandate. Moreover, this amendment was unnecessary as the Indian Constitution viewed the position of the President as ‘a nominal figurehead’. If the Assembly were to adopt this, there would be a dearth of Presidential candidates.

 

All these proposals fell flat. On 27 December 1948, the Draft Article was adopted with a minor amendment. The Drafting Committee successfully moved another minor amendment on 13 October 1949.