Vice-President of India

From Academic Kids

The Vice-President of India is second behind the President in the Executive branch of the Government of India.

The current Vice-President of India is Mr. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

The Vice-President takes over from the President when the President:

  • dies in office
  • is impeached from office
  • resigns from office
  • is too ill to continue in office.

Article 52 of the Constitution of India provides for a Vice-President. "There shall be a Vice-President of India". Article 53 states that executive power of the Union shall vest in the Vice-President, who shall exercise directly or through officers under him, this power in accordance with the Constitution. This provision is similar to the provision under Article II of the US Constitution. A remarkable feature under the Indian constitution could be seen under Article 53 whereby parliament has the authority to confer powers and functions exercised by the president to any other authority. While the Indian Vice-President could be elected for any number of terms, the Constitution requires that the Vice-President must be a citizen of India (but not necessarily Indian-born). In fact Indian president is a part of the Parliament (Article 79) and literally a nominal head of state. Although the Constitution explicitly says that the president is the executive head of the state but this real executive power is exercised by the council of ministers and Prime minister at the helm of it. This has to be inferred from Article 74 of the Indian Constitution ".. council of ministers to aid and advise the President who shall, in exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice".

The Vice-President is elected whenever the office becomes vacant by an electoral college consisting of: Members of both Houses of Parliament Members of the Unicameral Legislature or the Lower House of the Bicameral Legislature of each State Each elector casts a different number of votes. The general principle is that the total votes cast by Members of Parliament equals the total votes cast by Legislators. Also, legislators from larger states cast more votes than those from smaller states. Finally, the number of legislators in a state matters; if a state has a few legislators, then each legislator has relatively more votes; if a state has many legislators, then each legislator has fewer votes. The actual calculation for votes cast is as follows: First, determine the population of a certain State. Then, divide the population by one thousand. Finally, divide this quotient again by the number of legislators from the State voting in the electoral college. This number is the number of votes per legislator in a given state. For votes cast by those in Parliament, determine the total number of votes cast by all state legislators. Then, divide the sum by the number of members of both Houses of Parliament. This is the number of votes per member of either house of Parliament. (Note that India's electoral college is provided by law, not by the Constitution)

The constitution also provides the mechanism for the impeachment of the Vice-President (Article 61) for the violation of the Constitution. The place of the president is peculiar in the Indian governmental setup. His functions are to be exercised in accordance with the aid and advice of the council of ministers but powers are to be exercised by the President however the rider in favour of parliament vides Article 53 of the Constitution. The Vice-President of India swears before entering the office of the vice-president that he shall protect, preserve and defend the Constitution (just like the president) (Article 60) which provides for an executive head of state who is nominal or ceremonial. The Indian Constitution must be seen as a purveyor of a system of governance where a mixture of presidential and parliamentary systems could be located.

List of Vice-Presidents of India

No. Name Took Office Left Office
01 Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan May 13, 1952 May 13, 1962
02 Dr Zakir Hussain May 13, 1962 May 12, 1967
03 Varahagiri Venkata Giri May 13, 1967 May 03, 1969
04 Gopal Swarup Pathak Aug 31, 1969 Aug 30, 1974
05 B D Jatti Aug 31, 1974 Aug 30, 1979
06 Mohammed Hidayatullah Aug 31, 1979 Aug 30, 1984
07 Ramaswamy Venkataraman Aug 31, 1984 Jul 24, 1987
08 Shankar Dayal Sharma Sep 03, 1987 Jul 24, 1992
09 Kocheril Raman Narayanan Aug 21, 1992 Jul 24, 1997
10** Krishan Kant Aug 21, 1997 Jul 27, 2002
11 Bhairon Singh Shekhawat Aug 19, 2002 In Office

* Acting (Interim) VP
** Died while in office

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