EC vague on RTI query on whether J&K is part of Electoral College

4 min read

News: Election Commission of India(ECI) in reply to an RTI query “if the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will be part of the Electoral College for the election of the President of India” has asked the applicant to refer to Article 54 of the Constitution of India.

Facts:

  • Article 54:It says that the President is elected by an Electoral College, which consists of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all the States and also of NCT of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
  • J&K Reorganization Act,2019: It does not specify anything about whether the legislature of J&K would be able to vote in the election for a President.
  • Constitutional amendment: Inclusion of new members in the Electoral College in Article 54 would require a Constitutional Amendment to be carried out through two-thirds majority in Parliament and ratification by over 50% of the States. 
  • However, according to some experts, Union territory of J&K would be able to participate in the President’s elections even without any Constitutional amendment based on the:
    • Section 13 of the J&K Reorganisation Act,2019:It says that the provisions contained in article 239A which are applicable to Union territory of Puducherry shall also apply to the Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

Additional Facts:

Presidential Election:

  • Article 52 of the Constitution says that there shall always be a President of India.
  • The President is elected indirectly by members of electoral college consisting of:
    • elected members of both the Houses of Parliament;
    • the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the states;
    • the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.
  • Term: The President shall hold office for a term of 5 years from the date on which he enters upon his office.However,he continues to hold office notwithstanding the expiry of his term until his successor enters upon his office.
  • The authority to conduct elections to the Office of President is vested in the Election Commission of India.
  • The President election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting at such elections is held by secret ballot.