(1) The Vice-President shall be elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting at such election shall be by secret ballot.

 

(2) The Vice-President shall not be a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of the Legislature of any State, and if a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of the Legislature of any State be elected Vice-President, he shall be deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date on which he enters upon his office as Vice-President.

 

(3) No person shall be eligible for election as VicePresident 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 Council of States

 

(4) A person shall not be eligible for election as VicePresident 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 55 (1) to (4), Draft Constitution 1948

(1) The Vice-President shall be elected by the members of both Houses of Parliament assembled at a joint meeting in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting at such election shall be by secret ballot.

(2) The Vice-President shall not be a member either of Parliament or of the Legislature of any State, and if a member of Parliament or of the Legislature of any State be elected Vice-President, he shall be deemed to have vacated his seat in Parliament or such Legislature, as the case may be, on the date on which he enters upon his office as Vice-President.

(3) No person shall be eligible for election as Vice-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 Council of States.

(4) A person shall not be eligible for election as Vice-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 such Legislature, and if not less than three-fourths of the members of such Legislature or House, as the case may be, are elected.

 

The Draft Article was discussed on 28th December 194829th December 1949 and 13th October 1949. It regulated the election of the Vice President.

 

A member moved a proposal to synchronise the elections of the President and Vice-President. Another member argued that the state legislatures should be included in the electoral college. He noted that the manner of elections of the President and Vice-President must be similar and the state legislatures must not be ‘deprived’ of electing the Vice-President. The Chairman of the Drafting Committee defended the electoral composition. He pointed out that the composition of an electoral college for elections of the President and Vice-President was closely linked to their functions. The President was the head of the state whose powers extended to the centre and the states. Hence it was imperative to include state legislatures. However, the Vice-President’s role was largely restricted to the centre. It did not necessitate the state legislatures’ representation.

 

There was a proposal to delete ‘the system of proportional representation’ from clause 1. The mover of the amendment argued that proportional representation, as a form of election, cannot be implemented to fill up one seat. It ‘applies to a plurality of seats’. In support of this motion, another member invoked the English example. He highlighted a Royal Commission’s finding that explored all electoral systems. It found that in case of election to a single post, to secure majority ‘vote transferability’ should be employed. This system was termed as ‘alternative vote’. This should not be conflated with ‘proportional representation’. The Chairman of the Drafting Committee replied that he would consider this suggestion at a later state.

 

Another member was keen on listing disqualifications of the Vice-President. His motion included the following grounds: ‘conviction for treason, or any offence against the safety, security or integrity of the State, or any violation of the Constitution, or has been elected and served more than once as President or Vice- President of the Union’. In response, a member pointed out that Draft Article 83 (Article 102, Constitution of India, 1950) laid down disqualifications of the members of the Parliament. Since, the Vice-President had to be qualified to be a member of the Parliament, insertion of additional grounds was unnecessary.

 

The Assembly adopted the Article on 29th December 1948 with minor amendments that were moved by the Drafting Committee. It was further amended on 13th October 1949.