The term of office of Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of India, ends on 24th July, 2012. An election to fill the vacancy caused by the expiration of the term of office of the outgoing President shall need to be completed before the expiration of her term. The law provides that the notification for election shall be issued on, or as soon as conveniently may be after, the sixtieth day before the expiry of term of office of the out going President.
2. Article 324 of the Constitution read with the Presidential and Vice –Presidential Elections Act, 1952, and the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules, 1974 vests the superintendence, direction and control of the conduct of election to the office of the President of India in the Election Commission of India. The Election Commission is mandated to ensure that the election to the office of the President of India, which is the highest elective office in the nation, must be a free and fair election and the Commission is taking all necessary steps for discharging its constitutional responsibility.
3. The President is elected by the members of the Electoral College consisting of:
(I) elected members of both Houses of Parliament, and
(II) elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all States including National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
(The nominated members of either Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha or Legislative Assemblies of the States are not eligible to be included in the Electoral College and therefore, they are not entitled to participate in the election).
4. The Seven-Judges Bench of the Supreme Court of India unanimously held in 1974 in the case of Presidential election that “the Electoral College as mentioned in Article 54 is independent of the Legislatures mentioned in Article 54. None of the Legislatures mentioned in Article 54 has for the purpose of that Article any separate identity vis-a-vis in the Electoral College. The Electoral College compendiously indicates a number of persons, holding the qualifications specified in the Article to constitute the electorate for the election of the President and to act as independent electors…”
Article 55 (3) of the Constitution provides that the election shall be held in accordance with the System of Proportional Representation by means of single transferable vote and the voting at such election shall be by secret ballot.
5. The Election Commission, in consultation with the Central Government, has decided to appoint the Secretary General to the Rajya Sabha as the Returning Officer for the election. The Commission has also decided to appoint Assistant Returning Officers in all State Capitals including NCT of Delhi and Union Territory of Puducherry for making arrangements for conducting the poll and for transportation of the ballot boxes and other important documents to and from the Election Commission. For meeting any eventuality in case the Assistant Returning Officer is not available for any reason, a second Assistant Returning Officer is also being appointed. A list of Assistant Returning Officers is at Appendix-I.
6. In pursuance of sub-section (1) of section (4) of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Elections Act, 1952, the Election Commission of India has fixed the following schedule for the election to fill the office of the President of India:
|Issue of Election Commission’s notification calling the election||16.06.2012 (Saturday)|
|Last date for making nominations||30.06.2012 (Saturday)|
|Date for the scrutiny of nominations||02.07.2012 (Monday)|
|Last date for the withdrawal of candidatures||04.07.2012 (Wednesday)|
|Date on which a poll shall, if necessary, be taken||19.07.2012 (Thursday)|
|Date on which counting, if required, shall be taken||22.07.2012 (Sunday)|
7. The nomination paper of a candidate must be delivered to the Returning Officer at New Delhi in the place to be specified by him by a public notice either by the candidate or by any of his Proposers or Seconders between 11.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. A nomination paper of a candidate has to be subscribed by at least fifty electors as Proposers and at least fifty electors as Seconders. An elector can subscribe to only one nomination paper of a candidate as either a Proposer or a Seconder. The security deposit for the election is Rs. 15,000/- (Rupees fifteen thousand only), which is required to be made along with the nomination paper.
8. The list of Members of the Electoral College maintained by the Commission for the Presidential Election, 2012 (as of today) is available for sale @ Rs. 300/-per copy from the counter opened in the premises of Election Commission of India. A copy of the Electoral College is also being uploaded on the Commission’s website.
9. The polling, if required, shall take place in the polling stations as given in the list at Appendix-II.
10. The Commission appoints senior Officers of the Government of India as its observers at the place(s) of polling.
11. The Chief Electoral Officers of each State including NCT of Delhi and UT of Puducherry shall supervise and coordinate with the Assistant Returning Officers for the conduct of poll at the respective State Capitals and transport of the ballot boxes and other important documents to and from the Election Commission to the respective State Capitals including Capitals of NCT of Delhi and UT of Puducherry.
12. Normally, members of Parliament are expected to cast their votes at New Delhi and members of all respective State Legislative Assemblies at the concerned State’s Capital. However, on account of any exigency for special circumstances, the Members of Parliament can vote in any of the polling stations in the State Capital/Delhi/Puducherry. Similarly, any MLA desirous of voting at New Delhi or at any other State Capital instead of voting in the relevant State Capital can also do so. For this purpose, the electors have to apply in the prescribed format available with the Returning Officer and Assistant Returning Officers so as to reach the Election Commission at least 10 days before the date of poll.
13. The Commission has brought out a comprehensive booklet covering all aspects of election to the office of the President and copies of the publication can be obtained @ Rs. 25/- per copy from the Commission’s sale counter or from the offices of the Chief Electoral Officers in different States and Union Territories.
FOR MORE READING. . .