President Election in India

Article 54 of the Indian Constitution states that whenever the office of President (about) to vacant, the new president will be chosen by an electoral college. And, the electoral college is consisting of the elected members of both houses of parliament (MPs), the elected members of the State Legislative Assemblies (Vidhan Sabha) of all States and the elected members of the legislative assemblies (MLAs) of union territories.

Further, Article 55 states that the election of the President shall be held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting at such election shall be by secret ballot.

Qualifications to become the President of India

The qualification to be the President of India is given in Article 58 of the Constitution of India −

  • He/She must be an Indian citizen

  • A person must have completed the age of 35

  • A person must be qualified for election as a member of the House of the People.

But, a person cannot hold a position of profit in the federal or state governments. However, if a person is serving as either President or Vice-President or someone is serving in the role of governor in a state or holds the position of Union or State Minister, they are entitled to run for president.

Election of President in India

Article 54 of the Indian Constitution mentions the election of the President. There is no direct election for the Indian President. An electoral college elects him. The single-transferable voting system is used to indirectly elect the president of the country. An electoral college is made up of elected officials who were chosen to serve in the administration after winning seats in the state assembly and the general election elects the president. Members of the houses and state legislatures who have been nominated are not eligible to vote in the presidential election.

Who takes part in the presidential election (Electoral College)?

As mentioned in the Article 54 of the Indian Constitution, following people are entitled to vote in the presidential election −

  • Elected members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

  • Elected members of Legislative Assemblies (Vidhan Sabha) of the states (Legislative Councils have no role)

  • Elected members of Legislative Assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, and Puducherry (Since 1992 through the 70th Constitutional Amendment Act)

Who does not take part in the President’s Elections?

The following group of people is not involved in electing the President of India −

  • Nominated Members of Lok Sabha (Lower House) and Rajya Sabha (Upper House)

  • Nominated Members of State Legislative Assemblies

  • Members of Legislative Councils (Both elected and nominated) in bicameral legislatures

  • Nominated Members of union territories of Delhi and Puducherry

Manner of the Election of President

The manner of election of President is provided by Article 55 of the constitution.

  • The electoral college indirectly elects the president as enumerated above.

  • A secret ballot must be used to conduct the election.

  • A single transferable vote will be used to conduct the election in accordance with the proportional representation system.

Independent candidates and smaller parties have a chance at representation due to the method of proportional representation. The technique of coalition-building with numerous voters under one administration is made possible by proportional representation. The use of a proportional representation system ensures that elected officials do not necessarily reflect the views of the majority of the voters.

The nomination of a candidate for the post of President must be supported by at least 50 electors who can either propose or support the candidate. A security deposit of INR 15,000 must be made by each applicant with the Reserve Bank of India. If the candidate doesn't win one-sixth of the votes casted, the security deposit will be forfeited. The election is conducted using the instant-runoff voting (IRV) procedure in accordance with the proportional representation (PR) system. Voting is conducted using a secret ballot mechanism.

Uniformity in the scale of representation of states

The following formula is used to preserve the proportionality between the vote values −

Value of vote of an MLA = total no. of the population of the particular state/ number of elected MLAs of that state divided by 1000.

$$\mathrm{Value\: of \:the \:Vote \:of \:an \:MLA \:= \:\frac{Total \:Population \:of \:State}{Total \:Number \:of \:Elected \:Members \:in \:the \:State\: Legislative \:Assembly}\times\frac{1}{1000}}$$

Value of vote of an MP = Total value of votes of all MLAs of all states/ Total number of MPs.

$$\mathrm{Value \:of \:the \:Vote \:of \:an \:MP \:= \:\frac{Total\: Value \:of \:Votes \:of \:all \:MLAs \:of \:all \:States \:(\& UT)}{Total \:Number \:of \:Elected \:Members \:of \:Parliament}}$$

Single Vote System

A voter may only cast one ballot in the presidential election. The MP's vote never changes, however, the MLA's vote may vary from state to state.

MPs and MLAs vote Balance

To keep the State and the Union in balance, the total number of MP votes and the total value of MLA votes must be equal.


The winner is the candidate who meets or exceeds the winning quota. "Winning Quota Total Number of Poll/No. of Seats + 1" is the formula used.

Voters' Preference

During the presidential election, each voter submits a ballot for the candidate they find most appealing. However, if the first-choice candidate falls short of the winning threshold, the vote immediately shifts to the second-choice option.

Vote Transfer

After the first chosen candidate receiving the fewest votes is removed, the votes cast in support of that candidate are distributed among the remaining contenders.

Manner/Procedure for Recording Votes for a Presidential Election

  • As Per Rule 17 of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Rules of 1974, each elector may indicate as many choices as there are candidates running for office under the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. The voter must indicate their preferences for the candidates by placing the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth next to the candidates' names in the space provided in column 2 of the ballot paper.

  • The Returning Officer adds up the value of all legitimate votes cast after determining the total number of votes cast for each candidate. Divide the number of valid votes by 2, add one, and ignore any remaining votes, if any, to arrive at the quota needed to declare a candidate elected. Consider the scenario where 1,00,001 total valid votes were cast for all candidates.

  • The quota required for getting elected is= 1,00,0001/2 + 1/2

  • Quota = 50,000.50+0/50 = 50,001.

  • The Returning Officer must check the quota to see if any candidate met it in order to be declared elected based on the total number of first-preference votes they received.

  • The Returning Officer moves on to the second round of counting if no candidate receives the required number of first preference votes, at which point the candidate with the fewest first preference votes is eliminated and his votes are distributed among the remaining candidates in accordance with the second preferences indicated on these ballots. The votes of the eliminated candidate are distributed to the remaining candidates at the same percentage as they were given in the initial round of voting.

  • The returning officer will continue to disqualify the candidates with the fewest votes in successive rounds of vote tallying until one of the remaining candidates meets the necessary threshold or until only one candidate is left in the running and is declared the winner.


Election Commission is responsible to organize the presidential election in India. And, it must be done by means of single transferable voting system where all elected members of the parliament and all the elected members of all states and Union Territories’ legislative assemblies will participate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Can the result of the election to the Office of President be challenged? If so, what is the proper procedure for doing so?

Ans. Yes, Election petitions that are filed with the Supreme Court after a presidential election might be used to contest the outcome of the election. A candidate or twenty or more electors joined as petitioners must submit such an election petition. According to Section 12 of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act of 1952, they may be presented at any time from the date of publication of the result stating the name of the returning candidate at the election.

Q2. When is the election of the Office of President of India held?

Ans. In accordance with subsection (3) of Section 4 of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act of 1952, the Election Commission may announce the election of the President on any day up to sixty days before the expiration of the current President's term in office. The election calendar must be set up so that the incoming President can take office on the day after the current President's term has ended.

Q3. Who conducts the election to the Office of President of India?

Ans. The Election Commission of India has the responsibility to hold elections for the Office of President under Article 324 of the Indian Constitution.

Updated on: 14-Apr-2023


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