Friday, April 28, 2017

Term, Impeachment and Vacancy in the Office of Indian President

The article has been written by Sachin Vashisht for PADMAD.ORG with minor additions from Harshit Dwivedi.

In the previous article, we have discussed about the qualifications and the election procedure for the Indian President.

Today we shall discuss the term, impeachment and vacancy of the President's office.

Term of Indian President's Office

The President of India is elected for a term of five years from the day he enters upon his office.

During this period, he can resign from the office at any time by submitting his resignation to the Vice President of India.

The President can also be removed from his office before the completion of five years by the process of impeachment which we shall discuss in a few moments.

Apart from the designated five year term, the President can hold the office even longer and beyond his designated term if his successor has not been elected yet.

The Indian President is also eligible for re-election if he wishes to re-contest.

In India, President can be elected for any number of terms unlike that of the United States of America where the president cannot be elected for more than two terms.

In the United States, the President is elected for a term of four years.

Impeachment of the President of India

Impeachment is a process by which the President of India can be removed from his office before the completion of his full term.

The basic ground for the impeachment process is the “violation of the Constitution of India”.

But the term “violation of constitution” has not been explained or defined in the constitution itself.

This duty lies with the Parliament of India.

Any impeachment charge or charges are initiated by either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.

These charges should be signed by at least one fourth members of the house in which the impeachment charges were initiated.

For example, suppose the impeachment charges have been initiated in the Lok Sabha.

Then at least one fourth members of Lok Sabha must sign the impeachment bill.

Once the impeachment bill has been initiated in either of the houses, then the President is given a fourteen days notice.

An impeachment bill is passed by a majority of two thirds of the total membership of the house and then it is passed on to the other house for investigation. 

If the second house also finds the charges to be valid and the “violation of the Constitution” has been proved, then the second house must also pass the impeachment bill with the majority of two third members.

Once the impeachment bill has been passed with a one third majority in both houses, then the President stands removed from his office from the date on which the impeachment bill was passed.

However the president has the right appear at the investigations or he can choose to be represented at these investigations.

Therefore the impeachment of the president is a Quasi-judicial procedure in the parliament.

Note 1: As we discussed earlier, the nominated members of the Parliament do not participate in the election of the President. However, in the impeachment process of the President, the nominated members of both houses of the Parliament can participate.

Note 2: The elected members of the legislative assemblies of all the states and the union territories of Delhi and Pondicherry participate in the election of the President but they do not participate in the impeachment process of the president.

Note 3: No President of India has been impeached so far.

Vacancy in the President's Office

The President's Office can be vacant in any of the following different ways:

1. The term of the President of five years has expired.
2. If the President has resigned
3. If the President has been removed by the process of impeachment
4. In case of the President's death
5.If the President has been disqualified to hold his office or his election has been declared void

In case the vacancy is caused by the expiration of the five year term of a sitting President, then the elections to fill the vacancy for the president must be held before the sitting President’s term expires.

If due to any reason, there is a delay in conducting the election of the new President, then the sitting President continues to hold the office until such elections are held and a new President takes up office.

This provision is provided by the Indian Constitution to prevent an Interregnum.

Interregnum means a time interval between two successive reigns.

The reason that this word has been used is because the President is the official head of our country.

In another case, if the office of the President is vacant due to the removal of the President through the impeachment process, death of the President, resignation of the President or otherwise, then fresh elections must be held within six months from the day the office is vacant.

The newly elected president continues to hold his office for a full term of five years from the day he is elected.

Meanwhile, the Vice President acts as the President until a new President is elected.

Moreover if a sitting President is unable to perform his functions or duties due to illness or absence or any other reason, the Vice President performs his functions until the President resumes his office.

If the Vice President's office is also vacant, then the Chief Justice of India performs these functions.

If the Chief Justice of India is also unavailable, then the senior most judge of the Supreme Court performs the functions and duties of the President.

When any of the above alternates are acting as sitting President, then they also enjoy all the powers and immunities of the President and are entitled to the same benefits and allowances, which are determined by the parliament.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Add a Comment or Query