THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY BRINDA. G. LASHKARI A STUDENT OF PRAVIN GANDHI COLLEGE OF LAW.
With the on going dicussions , comparisons and analysis on the elections in the USA on November 8 , 2016 , the question arises is how is the President of India elected?
Firstly who is eligible to be elected as the President of India ?
This question is answered in Article 58 which states the conditions under which a person is eligible to become a President . The eligibility criteria’s are that he or she –
• Has to be a citizen of India
• Has to have completed the age of 35 years
• Has to be qualified for election as a member of the House of People.
He or she shall not be eligible for election as a President if he holds an Office of profit under the Government of India , or Government of any State in India or under any local or other authority which is subject to the control of the Government .
For any new voter who just crossed the age of 18 , the question that pops in his or her head is that if we vote twice i.e once for the general elections and once for the constituency elections , when do we vote for the President??
Well the answer to this is that our President is elected Indirectly. This means that when we vote twice , once for Members of Parliament and once for the Members of Legislature , the winners who then become the members , vote for the President Of India through Proportional Representation by a Single Transferrable Vote .The candidature for the post of the President is decided on the basis of the candidate getting minimum of fifty proposers and fifty seconders. This means that their should be 50 members who support the candidate and 50 who support the proposition of him being a candidate for President Ship. The Security fee for these elections taken from the candidate is Rupees 15,000. This amount is taken as a deposit which will be forfeited if the candidate fails to obtain even 1/6th of the total valid votes polled. The Indian Constitution in Article 54 provides for the election of President by an Electoral College. This Electoral College consists of –
• The elected members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha (both the Houses of Parliament)
• The elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States.(states include NCT Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry)
The Process of the election of the President is explained under Article 55 of the Constitution.
Article 55 specifies that as practically possible , all the States should be uniformly represented at the election. The process of the election which includes the voting of the electoral college is explained in detail in Article 55(2) . According to Article 55(2)(a) the Vote Value of each MLA would be the total population of the State divided by the total number of members of the Assembly , multiplied by one thousand . This value would be calculated keeping in mind that the population utilised for the calculation would be the one of the census conducted in 1971 and this population count is to remain the same till 2026 ( as amended by the 84th Amendment) .
Here is an example to explain the vote count of MLA’s
For example the number of Assembly seats in Bihar are 243
The total population of Bihar as per the 1971 census is 4,21,26,236 .
So for calculating the vote count of MLA’S we – use this formula
Value of Vote of each MLA = Total Population/Total number of seats in assembly x 1000
So if we apply the current example the calculation would be –
Value of Vote of each MLA of Bihar = 4,21,26,236 173 /243 x 1000
Now the total value of Votes of all the MLA’s in Bihar would be = value of each MLA’S vote x the number of MLA’s ie. 173 x 243 = 42,039
After this the total vote value of all MLA’S of all States is calculated. Say for example the total value of votes of all MLA’S in all States is 5,50,000.
The next step is to calculate the the total value of a vote of a Member of Parliament.
A Member of Parliament votes for a President directly. His vote value depends upon the total value of votes of all MLA’S of all states , which is divided by the total number of Members of Parliament in both the Houses . The total number of Members in the Lok sabha (Lower House) is 543, which excludes the 2 members nominated by the President from the Anglo Indian community , as nominated members are not allowed to vote for these elections . The total number of Rajya Sabha members( the Upper House) who vote are 233 , which excludes 12 members who are nominated.
So the total number of Members of Parliament who participate in the Presidential elections are 776 .
The Value of each vote of each MP will be calculated by this formula –
Value of each vote of each MP = Total Value of all Votes of MLA’S
Total number of elected Members of Parliament
So the value of each vote of each MP would be = 5,50,000/776
This would be equal to approximately 709 . Hence the value of Vote of each MP would be 709. The total of the value of Votes of all MP’s is = 709 x 776 = 5,501,84.
There is a parity in the value of vote of each MP but the Value of Vote of each MLA differs according to the population of each State . This was the method to calculate to total number of votes of the MLA’S and the MP’S .
The total number of members who all together vote are –
4120 MLA’S + 776 MP’s = 4896 members of the electoral college for the election of the President.
The total votes of the electoral college can be calculated by the total number of votes of MLA’S + Total number of votes of the MP’s = 5,50,000 + 5,501,84 = 11,00,184 votes
Hence 11,00,184 will be the total number of votes polled in the election of the President . however the total number of valid votes can differ.
Procedure for the elections
The President is elected through proportional representation by single transferrable votes.
What is a single transferrable vote ?
In the single transferrable voting system there is an Electoral Quota . This quota is ascertained by the formula –
Total Number of valid votes polled 1
Number of seats (1) + 1
This formula gives a Quota of 50 + 1 votes. This shows that the candidate has to acquire 50 plus 1 votes to win the elections . and if the candidate does not secure 50 + 1 votes which is possible because of more than 2 candidates stand for elections it shall be very difficult for one to get 50% or more votes . This procedure involves many rounds and hence It Is called transferable voting system .
What is the transferrable voting system?
For example there are 4 candidates – Bobby, Ricky , Michael and John . This system is called the Preferential Voting system . This means that each elector is given a single ballot and he has to give his preference by marking them out individually as the First , second , third or fourth . After all the electors vote in the candidate receiving the least amount of preferences in the vote is eliminated. If in a scenario where none of the candidates win more than half of the required votes ie. 50+ 1 votes to win , a second round occurs in which the candidate which has received the least amount of preference or say the fourth preference in a higher number and the first preference in a lower number is eliminated .
For example among Bobby, Ricky , Michael and John , Bobby received the least first preference votes. He stands eliminated. Now the electors ballot in which Bobbby was voted the fourth preference , there must be either Ricky , Michael or John who might have received the third preference. If for example Ricky received the third Preference in all the ballots those get added to his vote count . So irrespective on who won the first preference in the first round , if in the second round someone else receives more votes it gets added to his vote count. Following this procedure the person getting the most votes above 50 = 1 votes is declared the winner .
This is the method in which all our MP’S and MLA’S form a electoral college and vote for our President.