In India, the Election Commission announces the schedule for the presidential election. For example, the election to elect the next President of India took place on July 18th 2022, and the results were announced on July 21st 2022.
With the announcement of the date, a common question arose, i.e., how the President of India is elected?
This law article will tell you everything about the Indian presidential election, like who is eligible, who can and cannot vote, the values of each vote and the method of counting votes, in a detailed yet easy manner.
- Eligibility for the President of India
- Can the President of India Be Re-elected?
- Who Can Vote to Elect the Indian President?
- Who Cannot Vote for President?
- What Is the Electoral Formula for Presidential Election?
Eligibility for the President of India
Article 58 of the Indian Constitution talks about the President’s eligibility. To be eligible to run for the office of President, a candidate must meet the following criteria:
- Must be a citizen of India,
- Must have completed 35 years of age,
- Must be eligible to be a member of the Lok Sabha,
- Should not hold any office of profit under the Government of India or a state government nor should be a member of any local or other authority controlled by the government. However, the candidate may hold the following office and and he shall not be disqualified to contest the election:
- The President
- The Vice President
- Minister of Union or States
As per the President and Vice President Election Act of 1952, the aspiring candidates need to file their nominations with 50 electors as proposers and 50 others as seconders, with an amount of ₹15,000 as security.
Can the President of India Be Re-elected?
Yes, the President can be elected more than once. The Constitution of India does not bar the nomination of any candidate who has already served as a President.
Who Can Vote to Elect the Indian President?
As per Article 55 of the Constitution, the Indian President is elected by members of the Electoral College. Electoral College consists of:
- Elected members of both the Houses of Parliament.
- Elected members of all the State Assemblies.
- Elected members of the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
Note: For presidential election 2022, the number of elected members of parliament were:
- Lok Sabha (543) + Raj Sabha (233) = 776
- And the total number of MLAs was 4033.
Who Cannot Vote for President?
The following person cannot vote in the presidential election:
- Nominated members of both Houses of Parliament.
- Nominated members of the State Legislative Assemblies.
- Members of the State Legislative Councils.
- Nominated members of the Legislative Assemblies of Delhi and Puducherry.
What Is the Electoral Formula for Presidential Election?
Article 55(3) says the election of the President shall be held by the system of proportional representation through a single transferable vote.
Votes Value of MLAs
Among the states, the value of the MLAs’ vote differs because of the strength of the Legislative Assembly and the population in the respective states. For example, each MLA’s vote value varies from a high of 208 in Uttar Pradesh to a low of 7 in Sikkim.
However, to maintain uniformity in the representation of the value among MLAs, a formula is applied based on the population of each state:
The state’s total population (as per the 1971 census) / the total number of elective seats in the Legislative Assembly x 1000 = Value of votes of members of the Electoral College (MLAs).
1. The population of UP is 83849905 (as per the 1971 census). The number of MLAs in UP is 403. Therefore:
Value of each MLA of UP = 83849905 / (403 x 1000) = 208
2. The population of Sikkim is 209843 (as per the 1971 census). The number of MLAs in Sikkim is 32. Therefore:
Value of each MLA of Sikkim = 209843 / (32 x 1000) = 7
Similarly, we can get the value of votes of each state, and if we add the value of the votes of each MLA from all legislative assemblies of the Electoral College, it will amount to 5.43 lakh.
Votes Value of MPs
As per Article 55(2), there must be uniformity in the value of votes among states and between states and the union. To get uniformity, a formula is used:
Total value of MLAs votes / Total number of MPs
Currently, there are 776 MPs. Therefore, value of each vote of a MP is:
5.43 lakh / 776 = 700
So the value of votes of MPs for the 2022 presidential election was 700.
Total Vote Value of the Electoral College
Finally, the total vote value of the Electoral College is:
- MLAs = 5.43 lakhs
- MPs = 776 x 700 = 5.43 lakhs
- Total = 5.43 lakhs + 5.43 lakhs = 10.86 lakhs
As total value of votes of the Electoral College is 10.86 lakh, any candidate who wants to win the presidential poll must get a minimum of 50% + 1 vote out of 10.86 lakh.
Note: These numbers are as per 2022 conditions. They can slightly vary in future elections.
Calculation of Votes Polled to Decide the Winner
For the presidential election, the system of proportional representation through a single transferable vote is applied. The ballot paper contains two columns:
- Name of the candidate, and
- Order of preference.
Let us understand this by a hypothetical example.
Suppose there are three candidates for the presidential election: A, B, and C.
The ballot paper is given to every voter. They mark the order of preference according to their choice.
When the voting ends, counting starts. In the first instance, the first preferences of all voters are counted, and if any candidate’s votes exceed 50%, then that candidate wins the election.
But if none of the candidates receives more than 50% (like A-40%, B-35%, C-25%), then counting starts again. This time the candidate who got the minimum share of votes is disqualified (here in our example, C will be disqualified). Now the second preference of all the votes polled to C will be counted and added to the total votes of A and B. The candidate with the majority wins the election. Suppose out of 25% of votes polled to C, 20% of the voters gave second preference to A, and the rest 5% of voters gave second preference to B. Now the total vote share of A and B will be:
- A = 40% + 20% = 60%
- B = 35% + 5% = 40%
In this case, A will win the election.
The President of India – the head of the Union and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces – is an essential part of the Executive.
Thus the election for such a prestigious and honourable post becomes highly important and must be made in an effective manner.
The President and Vice President Election Act of 1952 and the Constitution of India deal with the eligibility and manner of election of the President of India, respectively.
On July 21st 2022, India got its 15th president, i.e., Smt. Droupadi Murmu. She is the first tribal president and the second woman who serves as the President of India after Smt. Pratibha Patil. She won by a majority of 64.03% of votes.