New Delhi: The process to elect the 16th President of India began on Thursday after the Election Commission announced the schedule for the presidential election 2022. The term of the sitting President, Mr Ram Nath Kovind, ends on July 24, 2022, and the process of election for the new President must be complete before that so that the new President can be sworn in by July 25.
Making the announcement, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said the notification for the President’s election will be issued on June 15, the last date for filing nomination is June 29, and the election, if needed, will be held on July 18. Counting of votes, if needed, will be done on July 21 in New Delhi.
The scrutiny of nominations will take place on June 30 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations will be July 2. The EC has said that no political party will be allowed to issue any kind of whip for this election. All Covid-19-related protocols will have to be followed during the voting and counting of votes for the President’s election.
As per the Article 54, the President is elected by an Electoral College consisting of elected MPs of both Houses of Parliament and elected MLAs of the Legislative Assemblies of all states, including NCT of Delhi and Puducherry. This year the total number of electors for the presidential election will be 4,809, out of which 776 are Members of Parliament snd 4,033 are Members of Legislative Assemblies.
"The Election Commission of India is privileged and honoured to announce today the schedule of election for the 16th Presidential Election… Article 324 of the Constitution, the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act 1952 and the rules made thereunder vest the superintendence, direction, and control of the conduct of election to the office of the President of India in the EC," said the CEC. He added that the Rajya Sabha secretary-general will be the returning officer for this election, which will be held in Parliament House in New Delhi and in the premises of State Legislative Assemblies, including NCT of Delhi and UT of Puducherry. The commission has also decided to appoint assistant returning officers in all state capitals, including Delhi and Puducherry, for making arrangements for conducting the poll and for transportation of ballot boxes and other important election materials to and from the Election Commission. Besides, to ensure a free and fair election, the commission also appoints senior officers of the Government of India as its observers at the places of polling.
Voting for the presidential election will take place in Parliament House and the state Assemblies. While MPs will vote in Parliament, MLAs will vote in the respective Assemblies. However, in case of emergency, if any voter wants to cast his/her vote from any place other than the designated one, he or she can do so with the permission of the EC by informing it at least 10 days in advance. In such cases MPs will be able to vote in a state Assembly and MLAs will be able to vote in the Parliament complex.
The nominated members of either the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha or the Legislative Assemblies of states are not eligible to be in the Electoral College and are not entitled to participate in the election. Similarly, members of Legislative Councils are also not electors in this election.
The total value of the vote of electors for the 16th presidential election is 10,86,431. Of this, the total value of votes for MLAs is 5,43,231 and the total value of votes for MPs is 5,43,200. "Article 55(3) of the Constitution provides that the election 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. In this system, the elector has to mark preferences against the names of the candidates. The elector can mark as many preferences as the number of candidates but marking of the first preference is compulsory for the ballot paper to be valid, and other preferences are optional," the CEC said while explaining the procedure of voting. For marking the vote, the commission will supply particular pens and only these pens must be used for marking on the ballot paper.
During the filing of nominations, the candidate must have at least 50 persons proposing him or her and another 50 seconding the candidature. The security deposit for the election is Rs 15,000, which is required to be submitted along with the nomination paper.