The Constitution of India provides for the office of the Vice-President.
The Vice-President of India is elected indirectly by an electoral college consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament, on the basis of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote system.
The voting is held by secret ballot.
The Vice-President cannot be a member of either Houses of Parliament, or of a State Legislature.
The Vice-President has to possess the following qualifications:
He/she has to be a citizen of India,
He should not be less than 35 years of age,
He should not hold any office of profit
He should be eligible to be elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha
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.
Before entering upon his office, the Vice-President has to make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation.
The oath of office to the Vice-President is administered by the President or some person appointed in that behalf by him.
The Vice-President is elected for a term of five years.
He/she may resign from the office of the Vice-President even before the expiry of five years by writing to the President.
The Vice President can be removed before five years if a resolution to this effect is passed by a majority of members of Rajya Sabha and agreed to by the Lok Sabha.
But, no such resolution can be moved unless at least 14 days advance notice has been given. Notably, no ground has been mentioned in the Constitution for his removal.
A formal impeachment is not required for his removal.
The Vice-President can hold office beyond his term of five years until his successor assumes charge.
He is also eligible for re-election to that office.
He may be elected for any number of terms.
Functions of the Vice-President
The Vice-President is the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha which means that whosoever is the Vice-President; he/she presides over the Rajya Sabha and performs normal duties of a presiding officer.
These include maintenance of order in the House, allowing members to speak and ask questions, and putting bills and motions to vote.
Since the Vice-President is not a member of the Rajya Sabha, he/she cannot vote in the House.
But, in case of a tie (equality of votes in favour and against a bill), the Vice President exercises his/her casting vote so that a decision can be reached.
If ever a vacancy arises in the office of President, due to death, resignation or impeachment, the Vice-President officiates as the President for not more than six months.
During that period, he enjoys all powers of the President, and does not preside over the House when he officiates as President.
In case the President is temporarily unable to discharge his/her functions, the Vice-President may be called upon to discharge his/her functions, without becoming officiating President.