On June 20, 2017, Supreme Court attorney Ram Nath Kovind became the new President Elect in India andon July 25, sworn in as the 14th President of India. (Sonalee Borgohain, All You Need to Know About Ram Nath Kovind, 14th President of India, India Today, June 20th, 2017). President-elect Kovind practiced as an attorney in Delhi high court and the Supreme Court. (Who is Ram Nath Kovind? India Times,last visited, July 31st, 2017) He was also a governor for Bihar.
India has multi-party system consisting on both national and state political parties. Kovind was nominated Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). (Jason Le Miere, Indian Presidential Election 2017: Candidates, Issues and What’s at Stake, News Week,July 16, 2017) and was declared elected as the 14th President of India. He received 65.6% of the vote defeating the opposition candidate, who secured the other 34%. (Nistula Hebbar, Ram Nath Kovind enters Rashtrapati Bhavan with Big Win,The Hindu, July, 21, 2017.)
Kovind will hold office for 5 consecutive years from the date of taking office, and will be eligible for re-election for a second term under Article 57 of the Constitution, unless he resigns or is impeached before the expiration of the term. (Constitution of India, 2011, Art. 57. http://lawmin.nic.in/olwing/coi/coi-english/coi-indexenglish.htm.)
Legal Basis for Election to Presidency
In India election of the president involves election by people through an electoral college. Article 54 of the Indian Constitution states (Constitution of India, 2011, Art. 54.):
The President shall be elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of –
(a) the elected members of both Houses of Parliament; and
(b) the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States.
Article 58 of the Indian Constitution includes qualification of a presidential candidate in the country. It requires, a candidate must be an Indian citizen, 35 years or older, who is qualified to be a member of the Lok Sabha (House of the People) of the Indian Parliament. The provision further provides (Constitution of India, 2011, Art. 54.),
“A person shall not be eligible if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Government.”
The nomination of a candidate for election is subscribed by at least 50 electors as proposers and 50 electors as seconders.
Opposition candidate Meira Kumar, lost the presidential poll to Ram Nath Kovind, in the July, 2017 Presidential election on India. So, Mr. Kovind will be the current Indian Parliament for the Union consisting of the President and two Houses, the Council of States and the House of the People. (Constitution of India, Ch. II, art. 79) (Also see, Tariq Ahmad, National Parliaments: India, February, 2017.)
Writer: Adjunct Professor, David A. Clarke School of Law, Washington, DC 20008