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First Vice President of India : Exploring his Role and Significance

Introduction: India as a Parliamentary Government

India is the largest democracy in the world and follows a parliamentary form of government or parliamentarian democracy. In a parliamentary system of government provided by the constitution, the President is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government.

Within this framework, several key positions hold significant importance; one of them is Vice President. The Vice President holds the country‘s second-highest office. He is accorded a rank next to the President in the official order of precedence.

The federal structure of India, which shares power between the Union government and the states, is an important characteristic of the country‘s political environment. The President, who serves as the head of state, represents the citizens and makes sure the smooth functioning of the government in accordance with the Constitution.

On the other hand, the Prime Minister, who is the head of the government, holds executive powers and is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the country.

Among these prominent positions, The position of Vice President of India retains a special place. He serves as the chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament. The Vice President‘s position as Rajya Sabha Chairperson is important for the healthy and effective functioning of Indian democracy.

The Vice President of India: An Overview

Constitutional Provisions 

The Vice President of India‘s position, vacancies, qualifications, election, term, dismissal, and duties are mentioned in the constitution, Article 63 to 71 define all about that.

Let’s go through each of them.

Part V of the Indian Constitution contains details about the Vice President of India. Article 63 of the Indian Constitution established the post of Vice President. It says that “There shall be a Vice President of India“

Article 64 defines eligibility criteria for the post of Vice President.

A person should fulfil the below qualifications:

1. He should be a citizen of India.

2. He should have completed 35 years of age.

3. He should be qualified for the election as a member of the Rajya Sabha.

4. He should not hold any office of profit under the Union government, any state government, any local authority, or any public authority.

Article 65 allows the Vice President to act as President or discharge his functions during casual vacancies in the office or during the absence of the President.

Article 66 defines procedures for the election of the Vice President. The Vice President is elected not directly by the people but through an indirect election process. He is elected by the members of both Houses of Parliament(Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha).

The Vice President holds office for a term of five years from the date of his joining, as mentioned in Article 67.

Vacancies and oaths or affirmations are mentioned in Articles 68 and 69.

Article 71 says that the Supreme Court shall conduct an investigation if there is any doubts or disputes out of the election of the President of Vice President.

Duties and Responsibilities of Vice President

As already discussed, the Vice President of India is the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the upper House of the Parliament, which consists of 250 members (238 represent states and Union territories, and 17 are nominated by the President of India).

His role is vital in the upper house to maintain the smooth functioning of the house. He is responsible for the beginning and adjournment of the session of the Rajya Sabha. He decides the agenda, allots time for debates, ensures the orderly conduct of debates, and maintains decorum in the house.

Apart from this, the Vice President represents India at the domestic and international levels. He participates in diplomatic visits to promote cooperation, charity, and to strengthen India‘s international relationship.

His role is not limited to just here; he also connects with the public by delivering speeches at various events, addressing various issues of national concern. He provides advice to the President and government on various issues.

The basic responsibilities of the vice president are to ensure smooth and effective legislative functioning, provide guidance to the government, advise the President on various issues of national interest, and represent India both nationally and internationally.

Notes: Jagdeep Dhankhar is the current Vice President of Indian. On 11 August 2022 he took the charge as 14th Vice President of India. Before that he served as 21rd Governor of West Bangal.

The First Vice President of India: About, Contribution and Significance 

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan is the first Vice President of an independent India. He was born in the village of Tiruttani in the Madras Presidency (now in Tamil Nadu) on 5th September 1888. He was a scholar, Philosopher, teacher, politician, and statesman. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Madras Christian College and received a Master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Madras.

Academic career

1909 – He delivered his service in the Department of Philosophy at the Madras Presidency College.

1918 – Joined as Professor of Philosophy by the University of Mysore.

1921- Joined as a professor in philosophy to occupy the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta.

1926 – Represented the University of Calcutta at the Congress of the Universities of the British Empire.

1929 – He Delivered a Lecture called The Hibbert on the Ideals of Life at Harris Manchester College, Oxford.

From 1931 until 1936, he served as the vice chancellor of Andhra University.

From 1939 until 1948, he served as the vice chancellor of Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

Books Written By Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Throughout his career, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan published a large number of books. Below are some famous books written by him:

The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore

Indian Philosophy

The Hindu View of life

An idealist view of life

Recovery of faith

The Dharmapada

Eastern Religions and Western Thought

And many more.

Political career

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s political career was as distinguished as his contributions to philosophy and education. Here are a few significant turning points in his political career:

Vice Presidency – Dr. Radhakrishnan served as the first Vice President of India from 13th May 1952 to 12th May 1962.

Acting as President – In 1962, When President Rajendra Prasad was unavailable to deliver his duties due to his illness, Dr. Radhakrishnan also took on the additional responsibilities of serving as acting President of India.

Serving as president – In the same year of 1962, Dr. Radhakrishnan was elected as the second President of India, succeeding Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

His contributions to the nation as the first Vice President

While serving as Vice President, he played a crucial role in maintaining the dignity and decorum of the Rajya Sabha. His dedication to equality and fairness in the proceedings of parliamentary affairs promoted a polite and productive environment for discussions on legislation. Which is very important for a healthy democracy.

Throughout his tenure, he promoted the importance of education and intellectual development. He always advocated for educational reform in the country, to adopt  new technologies and the advancement of the latest knowledge.

He always interacted with scholars, intellectuals, and students, encouraging and educating them on topics such as leadership, values, and knowledge. The nation‘s youth were attracted to his thoughts on education. Beyond the scope of his official duties, his achievements as India’s vice president were significant.

His devotion to intellectualism, education, and cultural understanding had a long-term effect on Indian society and government.

Awards and Honours

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan received various awards and honours throughout his career In acknowledgment of his contributions to philosophy, education, and public service.

Below are some awards and honours received by him.

Bharat Ratna: In 1954, Dr. Radhakrishnan was honoured with India‘s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

British Order of Merit: In 1963, Dr. Radhakrishnan became the first Indian to be awarded the British Order of Merit, a prestigious honour presented by the British monarch.

German Book Trade Peace Prize: In 1961, Dr. Radhakrishnan received the German Book Trade Peace Prize.

He was nominated 27 times for the Nobel Prize, 16 times in literature, and 11 times for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Sahitya Akademi Fellowship: in 1968, Dr. Radhakrishnan was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour conferred by the Sahitya Akademi (India’s National Academy of Letters), and became the first person to receive this award.

Order of Merit of the Italian Republic: Dr. Radhakrishnan received the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic from the Italian government.

Templeton Prize: In 1975, Dr. Radhakrishnan was awarded the Templeton Prize posthumously.

Numerous Honorary Degrees: Dr. Radhakrishnan received honorary degrees from several prestigious universities worldwide, including the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and many more.

Conclusion 

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan‘s life and legacy inspire all of us. As a renowned statesman, famous philosopher, and famous teacher.

Dr. Radhakrishnan‘s belief in the power of education to shape individuals and society, he always advocated for improvement in the educational system. Encouraging students to adopt new technologies.

On 5th September every year, India observes Teachers Day, which marks the birth anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

On this auspicious day, students across the country pay tribute to their teachers, mentors, or Gurus and organise various events, such as cultural programmes, speeches, etc. Many schools and colleges arrange special functions where students take part in various activities like dancing, singing, roleplaying, and many more.

Teachers’ Day in India is not just a day of celebration but also an opportunity to reflect on the important role of teachers in society.

गुरुर्ब्रह्मा ग्रुरुर्विष्णुः गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः।

गुरुः साक्षात् परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः।।

Guru is Brahma (the creator), Guru is Vishnu (the preserver), and Guru is Shiva (the destroyer). I bow before the Guru, who is the personification of the Trinity.

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