Vice President of India


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Prelims:  Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

Mains:  Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.


Who is a Vice President, and what is his/her constitutional position in India?

The Vice President of India is the second-highest constitutional office in the country after the President of India.

  • The Vice-President is accorded a rank next to the President in the official warrant of precedence. This office is modeled on the lines of the American Vice-President.
  • The Vice President's main role is to act as the President if the President cannot perform his or her duties, such as due to death, resignation, or impeachment.
  • The Vice President also serves as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States), the upper house of the Indian Parliament.


How is the Vice President of India elected?

The Vice-President, like the president, is elected not directly by the people but indirectly. 

  • He is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the members of both houses of Parliament. Thus, this electoral college is different from the electoral college for the election of the President in the following two respects:
    • It consists of both elected and nominated members of the Parliament (in the case of the President, only elected members).
    • It does not include the members of the state legislative assemblies (in the case of the President, the elected members of the state legislative assemblies are included).
  • Vice-President’s election, like that of the President’s election, is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, and the voting is by secret ballot.
  • All doubts and disputes concerning the election of the Vice-President are inquired into and decided by the Supreme Court, whose decision is final.



What are the constitutional provisions relating to the office of the President of India?




Article 63

There shall be a Vice President of India

Article 64

The Vice President shall be ex officio chairman of the council of States

Article 65

Vice President to act as President or to discharge his functions during casual vacancies in the office, or during the absence, of President

Article 66

Vice President shall be elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament in accordance with the system of proportional representation

Article 67

Vice President shall hold office for a term of five years

Article 68

Provisions related to the term and vacancy of the Vice President

Article 69

Oath to the office of President

Article 70

Discharge of Presidents functions in any contingencies

Article 71

Matters and disputes  relating to, or connected with, the election of a President or Vice President



To be eligible for election as Vice-President, a person should fulfill the following qualifications:

  • He should be a citizen of India.
  • He should have completed 35 years of age.
  • He should be qualified for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
  • He should not hold any office of profit under the Union government or any state government or any local authority, or any other public authority.

Oath or Affirmation

Before entering his office, the Vice President has to make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation. In his oath, the Vice President swears

  • to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India; and
  • to faithfully discharge the duties of his office.

The oath of office to the Vice-President is administered by the President or some person appointed by him.

Conditions of Office

The Constitution lays down the following two conditions of the Vice-President’s office:

  • He should not be a member of either House of Parliament or a House of the state legislature. If any such person is elected Vice-President, he is deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date on which he enters upon his office as Vice-President.
  • He should not hold any other office of profit.

Term and Vacancy

  • Term: The Vice-President holds office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters his office. However, he can resign from his office anytime by addressing the resignation letter to the President. 
    • The Vice-President can hold office beyond his term of five years until his successor assumes charge. He is also eligible for reelection to that office. He may be elected for any number of terms.
  • Vacancy: A vacancy in the Vice-President’s office can occur in any of the following ways:
    • On the expiry of his tenure of five years
    • By his resignation
    • On his removal
    • By his death
    • Otherwise, for example, when he becomes disqualified to hold office or when his election is declared void.

If the office falls vacant by resignation, removal, death, or otherwise, then an election to fill the vacancy should be held as soon as possible(within six months for President) after the occurrence of the vacancy.


What is the procedure for the removal of the Vice President?

The Vice President can also be removed from office before the completion of his term. A formal impeachment is not required for his removal. 

  • He can be removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the then members of the Rajya Sabha (Effective Majority) and agreed to by the Lok Sabha (Simple Majority). This means that this resolution should be passed in the Rajya Sabha by an effective majority and in the Lok Sabha by a simple majority. 
  • It must be noted here that the effective majority in India is only a type of special majority and not a separate one. Further, this resolution can be introduced only in the Rajya Sabha and not in the Lok Sabha.
  • But, no such resolution can be moved unless at least 14 days advance notice has been given.


How can the office of the Vice President of India be compared to that of the Vice President of the USA?




  • He serves as the second-in-command to the President and acts as the President in case of his death, resignation, or incapacity.
  • He serves as the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha in India.
  • The Vice-President of India does not automatically take over the presidency when it becomes vacant, instead, the office will remain unfilled for the unexpired term. 
  • The Indian Vice-President acts as the President temporarily until a new President is elected and takes office.
  • The Vice President of the United States is the second-highest officer in the executive branch of the federal government after the President of the United States. 
  • The Vice President is elected alongside the President and serves as the President's deputy and the President of the Senate. 
  • In the United States, if the presidency becomes vacant, the vice-president will assume the role and serve the remainder of the previous president's term.


What are the powers and functions of the Vice President of India?

The powers and functions of the Vice-President include

  • He is the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. In this capacity, his powers and functions are similar to those of the Speaker of Lok Sabha. In this respect, he resembles the American vice president, who also acts as the Chairman of the Senate–the Upper House of the American legislature.
  • He acts as President when a vacancy occurs in the office of the President due to his resignation, impeachment, death, or otherwise. 
  • He can act as President only for a maximum period of six months, within which a new President has to be elected. 
  • Further, when the sitting President cannot discharge his functions due to absence, illness, or any other cause, the Vice-President discharges his functions until the President resumes his office.

While acting as President or discharging the functions of the President, the Vice-President does not perform the duties of the office of the chairman of Rajya Sabha. During this period, those duties are performed by the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.


What is the significance of the role of the Vice President as Chairman of the Rajya Sabha?

​​The Vice President of India serves as the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament.

  • As Chairman, the Vice President presides over the sessions of the Rajya Sabha, maintains order and decorum in the chamber, and ensures that the rules and procedures of the house are followed. 
  • Though he is not a member of the house, the Vice President can vote in the Rajya Sabha in the case of a tie. 
  • The Vice President also appoints the Chairman and members of the Rajya Sabha's various committees.
  • Consideration of motion of removing supreme court or high court judge depends upon the chairman of Rajya Sabha. 




Previous Year Questions (PYQs)



Q) Discuss the role of the Vice –Presidents of India as the chairman of the Rajya Sabha. (2022).




Q) Consider the following statements: (2013)

  1. The Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha are not the members of that House.
  2. While the nominated members of the two Houses of the Parliament have no voting right in the presidential election, they have the right to vote in the election of the Vice President.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q) Which Vice Presidents later became President in india?

Dr S Radhakrishnan, Dr Zakir Hussain, V V Giri, R Venkataraman, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma,  K R Narayanan are the persons who were first elected as Vice-President and later became the country's President. Dr S Radhakrishnan,Dr Zakir Hussain, V V Giri, R Venkataraman, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma,  K R Narayanan.


Q) Who presides over the sessions of Rajya Sabha in the absence of the Vice President?

The Deputy Chairman, who is elected from amongst the house's members, takes care of the day-to-day matters of the house in the absence of the Chairman. Chairman nominates the panel of chairpersons who preside in the absence of Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha.