ARTICLE 54

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Article 54 of the Indian Constitution, states that the President of the country must be elected by elected members of both houses of Parliament. The legislative assembly of each state will elect the President. It should be noted that the term “State” includes Delhi’s National Capital Territory and Pondicherry’s union territory. This pivotal article lays down the foundation for the method of election, emphasizing the democratic principles that govern this crucial selection. With a focus on the representation of the people, Article 54 outlines the mechanism by which the citizens’ voices resonate in choosing their ceremonial head of state.

What does Article 54 states ?

Election of President

  • The President shall be elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament; and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States

Analysis of Article 54

The Electoral College Composition:

Article 54 outlines the composition of the Electoral College responsible for electing the President. This Electoral College comprises two categories of representatives: firstly, elected members of both Houses of Parliament (i.e., Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha); and secondly, elected representatives in the state legislatures (i.e., Members of Legislative Assemblies and Members of Legislative Councils in states with Legislative Councils).

Ensuring Representation of the People:

One of the fundamental principles behind creating an Electoral College is to ensure that a body representing the will of the people at both the national and state levels elects the President. By including elected members from both Houses of Parliament and the state legislatures, the process of electing the President becomes more inclusive, considering diverse voices and opinions in the election.

Indirect Election Process:

Understanding that the President of India is not elected directly by the people in a nationwide popular vote is essential. Instead, an indirect process carries out the election, wherein the Electoral College acts as an intermediary body representing the citizens’ preferences. This indirect method aligns with India’s parliamentary system and federal structure, wherein elected representatives play a crucial role in decision-making.

Value of State Legislatures in the Election:

The inclusion of elected representatives from state legislatures in the Electoral College underscores the significance of state governments in the election process. This provision, therefore, ensures that the Election Commission takes into account the interests and aspirations of the states while electing the President, thereby promoting a well-balanced representation of both the Union and the states in the highest office of the country.

Presidential Election

1. Notification of the Election: When the term of the incumbent President is about to expire or if the President resigns or passes away, the Election Commission of India issues a public notification to conduct the Presidential election. The notification specifies the dates for various stages of the election process.

2. Nominations: Once the Election Commission issues the notification, candidates interested in contesting the Presidential election can file their nominations. To be eligible for candidacy, a person must be a citizen of India, at least 35 years of age, and qualified to be a member of the Lok Sabha (House of the People).

3. Scrutiny of Nominations: After the deadline for filing nominations, the Election Commission scrutinizes the nomination papers to ensure that the candidates fulfill the eligibility criteria and that all required documents are in order.

4. Withdrawal of Nominations: After the scrutiny, in case there are multiple candidates, they have the opportunity to withdraw their nominations if they choose to do so. Subsequently, if only one candidate remains after the withdrawal, the Election Commission declares him or her elected without the need for an election.

5. Conduct of the Election:

If more than one candidate remains in the fray after the withdrawal of nominations, the election takes place through a system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. In this voting system, the elected members of both Houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) and the state legislatures (Members of Legislative Assemblies and Members of Legislative Councils in states with Legislative Councils) participate in the voting process.

.6. Value of Votes: In the Presidential election, the Election Commission determines the value of votes of the members of the Electoral College based on the total population and the elected representatives of each state or union territory. The Election Commission weights the votes, varying the vote value of the elected representatives of each state proportionally according to their population.

7. Counting of Votes: The counting of votes takes place under the supervision of the Election Commission of India. After counting the votes, the Election Commission declares the candidate who secures a majority of the valid votes cast by the members of the Electoral College as elected as the President of India.

8. Oath of Office: Once the Election Commission declares the President-elect, subsequently, the Chief Justice of India or, in their absence, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court administers the oath of office to him or her. After taking the oath, the newly elected President assumes office and begins their term as the ceremonial head of state.

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