Saturday, 30 June 2012


An MLA of Assam along with her husband was badly beaten by members of a mob who barged into their hotel room and barbarically assaulted the couple. Its alleged that she has re married without divorcing her first husband. Her first husband (or may be her only legal husband) has lodged an FIR against her, accusing her of bigamy. That's the legal part. The religious part of the incident is that she being a Hindu, married a Muslim that too leaving her former Hindu husband. Some people may find the bigamy aspect outrageous, while some fanatics may find the latter part (the Hindu marrying a Muslim part) more aggravating, while others still, may find both aspects too much to handle. Let's for a moment just assume (without actually agreeing) that all these allegations are correct and well founded and are even infuriating.


I'm so angry at the moment at such blatant disregard by those men, for the privacy of the couple and the law of our land, that I myself may resort to a bit of lawlessness, if I find any of those brainless hooligans in front of me. I'm seething with disgust & harboring a hypothetical desire to unravel the antecedents of the men who took upon themselves the task of disciplining the couple, and for each wrong that each of them may have committed, instead of submitting them to the Courts, let mob justice be meted out to them too. Only then they'd realize the horror of their own actions But I guess, that's just not the way.

If the lady MLA is guilty of marrying again in the lifetime of her first husband, the she'll face the iron hands of law & so will her companion. The latter will probably be booked for charges of adultery and other relevant offences against marriage. But there is nothing legally wrong with a Hindu marrying a Muslim or vice versa, howsoever insulting and disgusting some may find that to be. Our Constitution sanctions it, and no one has even a grain of authority, to challenge acts allowed by the law of our land. If they do, the are latently challenging the law and directly branding themselves as outlaws. As for the incident, I hope that the investigating machinery lives up to its obligations and presents the guilty alongwith all proper evidence for the Courts to mete out justice to the lady and the man assaulted.

One thing is for sure. We have become a society which is breeding countless numbers of such intolerant mindless & hypocritical bunch of goons, who resort to lawlessness at the slightest opportunity. I want to ask those nincompoops, those morons happily letting themselves to be puppeteered at the hands of the cunning, What business they think they have in a marital dispute ? And what on this earth they think they were achieving by assaulting the lady and her husband ? It's become an order of sorts, that if we cannot accept something, we rush to root it out, without any regard for the fact that the thing may, in the first place be completely legal and proper. We have become a nation infested by such first order dogmatists and bigots, who will endorse and preach the greatness of our magnanimous cultures and religions, but conveniently disown such of it's sermons as would enable them to seamlessly accomplish their selfish ends. Tolerance is a common yet significant virtue practiced and preached by all religions, but its easily the most ignored and neglected trait among the rest. May be because it requires humans to stay human.

Friday, 29 June 2012


They sat by the unruly window panes, conscious of the twenty apartments between them and the teeming boulevard that stretched beneath their curling toes. They weren't afraid of the elevation, nor of becoming a treat for voyeurs. They barely felt anything other than the inescapable rhythm of their heart beats now intertwined after their fervent love making. Aware of a clandestine stir growing within and wrapped only in tired yet eager arms besides a satin sheet that served their mutual regard for residual introversion, both stared at the distant rumbling of the heavy heavens. She started drawing skeletons of a momentary fascination on the condensing insides of the panes while his calmer breaths crashed on her naked shoulder in a pattern resembling contentment. The rain sprayed itself on the facade of the building, at times stealing its ways onto their skin. It had a will of its own as if mindful of the wishful yearnings of lovers. It had begun to fall as soon as the two had discovered paradise parceled in passionate kisses and an unyielding will to explore the farthest ends of passion. They had savored a pleasure inimitable, lured by ecstasy, yet encountered a craving insatiable as they had gone tossing and turning countless times, not letting go of each other, their faces alternately positioning themselves about the other, responding to the fire that burned at someplace else, where spawned the needs most untranquilling and unspeakable. He began to glide his index tip over the small of her back, she trembled & succumbed to the invite of surrender, calmly drowning in the bliss which his indulgence offered. It rekindled seemingly doused flames, obedient like stringed puppets. He was quick to notice for she was unabashedely forthcoming. It didn't take long for a zealous repetition of moments lived minutes ago.

They left the windows, pulled each other down to the tiled floor, faintly aware of the vague reflections in it, of their obsessive longings. He buried his face in her neck shouting muted pleas to let him flow, travelling bit by bit, by his lips, his hands searching urgently for a spot to cusp. She could connect to his virgin pining, an indescribable yet throbbing urge that he painfully veiled at all times. The realization turned her on, far beyond her own power. She knew not from where she drew the strength to pin him down, and settle on him. He was stunned with pleasure, born of the unadmitted masculine joy of giving in to his consort's domination. They had long lost the satin sheet. The distant flashes of Zeus's bolt, tantalizingly revealed their contours, the knowledge of which only their lips and fingers had relished. He zealously braved himself deep into the mystic ends of her guarded cavern, unvisited, undared and unknown to anyone. He cherished the passing of seconds & she the minutes. She was not ready yet, to leave him. She whispered in his ears the maiden promise of being with him in happiness & sadness alike. She wasn't going to let him visit alone the corridors of ecstasy. He obliged her wishes by clinging tightly, breaking barriers, confines and meaningless frontiers as he did what she loved, again and again, till what seemed as an eternity. She pulled him closer exhibiting an ostensible urgency, wanting him to fill her more & more, gesturing a desire of indivisibly melting into each other, but there was only so much that he could occupy, those undefined limits of invasion by invitation. She smelt like orchids, the edges of her body dimly illuminated by the dark. He murmured her name and how much he yearned for her in every moment of his life & she sighed back timeless pledges of devotion. She dug her fingers in his toiling back, the pain failing to penetrate beyond his skin. His body was now a phantom's garb, ready to fade in the bliss that consumed his soul.

Then in an immortal instance arrived at, in those exact seconds by both, they attained what they had wanted. Their bodies rising and falling in unison and souls intertwined inseparably, they kept their promise of being by each other in times of joy. He stared at her soul, gleaming in the moist of her eyes. She touched his chest caging his racing heart. Nothing existed nowhere. She cusped her hands around his ears steadying his panting face and planted her lips on his. He slowly receded from her remarkable softness and rested his head on her chest. Neither moved an inch, letting intimacies stay the way they were. He closed his eyes to the lullaby of her steady heartbeats, his breathing transforming gradually into a more definitive intake of air. He was in need of it. She moved her fingers on his head, caressing him and reminding herself of how much she needed him. The restless skies had, it seemed, moved closer to their window. Incessant lightning followed the torrent that lashed against the transparent glasses. She glared at the far away endless string of street lamps that sincerely lighted up the desolate freeway, musing over nothing in particular, just the figments of bygone moments, persuading a fancy of the future. Hours later, he woke up to the faint beep of his watch. Not wanting to leave, he began treading out of the apartment, while she watched helplessly pretending to be dreaming.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Did You Know

In India a child below the age of 7 years cannot be punished for any crime committed by him / her. The age of a person, if he is under 7 years of age, is a complete defence to any allegation of commission of crime by him. Section 82 of the Indian Penal Code says that " Nothing is an offence which is done by a child under seven years of age. "

Further a child who is above 7 years of age but below 12 years, shall not be liable for punishment if it can be shown that he, at the time of commission of crime, had not attained sufficient maturity for understanding the nature and consequence of his actions. Section 83 of IPC lays down that "Nothing is an offence which is done by a child above seven years of age and under twelve, who has not attained sufficient maturity of understanding to judge of the nature and consequence of his conduct on that occasion."

Thus while in the case of a child below seven years of age, simply proving his age would exempt him from punishment, in the latter case (child above 7 years and below 12 years), it has to be additionally proven that he was not mature enough, at the time of committing the act, to understand the nature of his acts or its consequences.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Soul ' s A Vagabond

I stare for hours at the partition
Opposite my bed, at the apparition
Everyone misses which
I notice that minor glitch

I stop at the teeming boulevard
And the forlorn graveyard
As if for a rendezvous
With, no one knows who

I pretend a purpose
To obviate its loss
I walk at a nameless goal
That pines for shape & soul

I call on my pal's place
Hoping to meet solace
I forge a frolic so lame
Hoping to stick to the game

Its a lie I've long lived with
They know who know its a myth
The veneer may look strong
Inside, the soul's a vagabond

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Did You Know ?

    If a person attempts to commit suicide but fails in his attempt then he is liable for punishment under Section 309 of the IPC.

    Section 309, IPC says that "Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both."

    It is the only crime which is punishable in the stage of 'attempt' but nonpunishable if the act is completed.

    This provision was declared unconstitutional and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution of India (Right to Life) in the case of P. Rathinam Vs. Union of India (1994) wherein the Supreme Court declared this provision as void as (besides other reasons) it is cruel and doubly punishes a person who has already suffered a lot in life. But eventually this decision was overruled by Supreme Court in the case of Gian Kaur Vs. State of Punjab (1996). The Court rejected the argument that the right to live with dignity also includes the corollary right to die as and when one feels necessary on the ground that living with dignity may no longer be possible.

    Therefore the present position of law is that if a person attempts to commit suicide and does any ostensible or definitive act towards such attempt then he is liable to be punished u/s 309 of IPC. For example a man may buy kerosene and match stick, pour the kerosene on his body and light the matchstick. But he is not guilty of attempt to commit suicide. But the moment he lights himself, he becomes guilty under Section 309, IPC. Similarly if a woman runs to a well to jump in it & die and just at the mouth of the well people catch her. She is not guilty. But if she jumps and then people rescue her, she is liable under Section 309, IPC.

    The test is that if the relevant action would have led to the achievement of the purpose had there been no external interference, then that is the stage where attempt is said to be complete and irreversible. At that stage only an act becomes an attempt and the person becomes liable for punishment.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Conversation - X (Women cannot be punished for adultery.)

Avinash: (Reading from the daily " The Express")

"Woman caught with her lover...... Both have been arrested and forwarded to the Court u/s 497, IPC, along with charges of trespassing etc. . ........ Husband files for divorce....... Wife pleads innocence..."

Hey, what's section 497.

Me: That's the provision which deals with the crime of adultery

Avinash: How much jail time are we talking about here for both ?

Me: Upto 5 years with or without fine. And that's not for both.

Avinash: What do you mean ?

Me: I mean only the man will get punished, of course only if the charges are proved.

Avinash: Why? What about the woman ?

Me: You see, as per Indian law, a woman cannot be punished for committing adultery. Its only the man indulging in adultery who can be proceeded against and punished.

Avinash: What ? Are you serious ? I mean even if the woman is equally guilty, she will go scott free. This can't be. It doesn't sound logical. I mean after all law is largely based on profound logic isn't it. Then how can law let go off the woman if she has consciously or deliberately committed the crime of adultery.

Me: I agree that law is more often than not built upon the edifice of sound logic. But sometimes a logic becomes outdated and antiquated due to changed circumstances and therefore the logic as well as the law which it supports, both become questionable. Before I say anything further let me first quote the relevant provision. Section 497 of the IPC defines the crime of adultery and prescribes punishment for the same in the following words :-

"Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. 
In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor."

If you read section 497 carefully, you'll notice that the target of the law is the man and not the woman. The provision does not contain words like "whenever a man and a woman have sexual intercourse knowing or having reason to believe that the other is the someone's wife or husband, as the case may be,.....both shall be guilty of the offence of adultery....etc etc" Hence the woman in question is not culpable for adultery which she may have committed.  Not only that, the wife shall not even be punishable as an abettor.

For your information, an abettor is a person who aids, helps, instigates or indulges with another to commit a crime. Thus the woman cannot even be booked as an accomplice for adultery.The mere fact that she is a woman makes her completely immune to the charge of adultery and she cannot be proceeded against for that offence.

Avinash:  Keep going.

Me: As for the logic behind this provision, section 497 is based on the archaic presumption that a woman is always the naive accomplice deceived and tricked onto bed by a shrewd philanderer, therefore she should be exempt from any punishment, not even as an abettor. The recommendations of several Courts to change this law and make the woman equally culpable for an act of adultery, in view of the changed times, has not yet been adopted.

Avinash: Are you telling me that an adulterous woman suffers nothing for her actions ?

Me: The setbacks that she may suffer are with regard to maintenance or alimony or other allied benefits which she would have normally reaped from her marriage had she not indulged in adultery. But she cannot be punished and sent to jail or fined for commission of adultery as is the case with a man.

Avinash: I see.

Me: There's one thing though which I must tell you.

Avinash: Please.

Me: While on the face of it Section 497 may seem biased against men and oblivious of certain truths about women in the changed times, it is not without certain screaming difficulties for women also, especially married women.

Avinash: Care to explain ?

Me:  There are a few aspects of the provision against adultery under Section 497 which would appear to be biased against women too.


a) S. 497 elucidates that if the sexual intercourse takes place between a man and married woman

with the consent of the latter's husband then its not adultery. The expression "without the

consent or connivance of that man,..." in Section 497  makes it clear that if the husband of the adulterous

woman can allow an extramarital sexual relationship then the said act would no more amount to

the offence of adultery. But the law does not provide similar authority to wives with regard to sanctioning

extramarital affairs of their husbands.           

b) It does not confer on the wife the right to prosecute the woman with whom her husband

committed adultery while giving to her husband the right to prosecute the man with whom she

may have committed adultery. (This is because Section 198 of the Code of Criminal

Procedure only allows the husband or any other person who had the care of his wife in

his absence to prosecute the man committing adultery).

c) It does not cover cases where a married man may commit adultery with an unmarried woman.

The expressions " be wife of another man,..." only covers married women, meaning

thereby that if a married man were to have an affair with an unmarried woman, he shall not be

guilty of adultery. This leaves his wife in a disadvantageous position.

It was on these grounds that Section 497 was challenged in the Supreme Court as being a bad law. (In the case of Sowmithri Vishnu Vs. Union of India & Another (1985) )

Avinash: What did the Court decide ?

Me: Well, the Supreme Court rejected the arguments by observing that it is normally accepted that the man is the seducer and not the woman. However the Court also observed that this position may have undergone a change over the years, but it was for the Parliament to take that into account and modify the law accordingly. And the matter has remained as it was, till date.

AvinashNow, that's a revelation. 

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Fire & Ice

Life's most difficult phases often coincide with its most irresistible temptations. When I was due to write my matriculation examination, I wanted to do anything but study. Though storming through the pages of one's syllabus, is the most required indulgence at that time, it would take tremendous amount of will power to break free from the throng of temptations, garbed in varying facades and manifestations, that often swirled about my study table, and focus on something that was the most obvious and expected. I later found out that my peers and friends underwent the same predicament. It was then that I'd realized that life's most trying times often come wrapped with the most distracting allurements. Allurements that dissuade us from overcoming those trials that life puts us on. One must therefore fight those enticements and seek to stick to the blessed path as the one advised by elders. Easier said than done. It was only when my mind found an adult peace, that all this made sense. Otherwise I fought and revolted against advise of sticking to that path away from the seemingly wrong one. I don't refute the charge that I was irresponsible and careless. My matriculation exam result spoke for itself. It was a chaotic ordeal that followed thereafter for a stint of three months till I secured a berth in a college of acceptable standards.

Did I learn anything ? Heck No !! I fared even worse in my 12th standard examination than I had done in ICSE. The remnants of faith that my folks had nurtured, after my matriculation debacle, concerning my academic abilities shattered completely. That's a different story. Though my mind was alert with alarm regarding past failures & mistakes, I effortlessly repeated those in my college board exams. During the preparatory days, there was this impending anxiety of revisiting those miserable by gone days post 10th exam, which kept me on my toes. But it was also accompanied by endless deputees of temptations that life inexplicably employed to dissuade, or let's say test, my adolescent mind. Why only temptations, there were ideas, desires, conflicts that were infinitely storming inside my head, which if I now look back upon, I almost blurt out laughing. Well, mostly. (Certain gales still blow peace out of my head). Add to that my zealous interest in lives of friends and peers. Their problem was mine. I was busy ripping off my finger nails during round table conferences, that seemed indispensable at that time. After those strenuous and exasperating days in college, I would spend my evening with a bunch of cigarettes, introspecting and at the end of the packet, deciding that I'd act more responsible, more focused from that moment onwards. And act I did, only to find within hours, my will according space to its original claimant, the interest in myriad avenues of life, except the college syllabus.

In the next phase, when the time came to choose wisely a stream of study that would earn me better prospect of securing a job, I was again visited by an alternate allure of pursuing something else as a career. Everyone wanted me at one place and I aspired to be at another. It was pandemonium. I didn't give in. Neither did they. So a middle path was chosen, something which I'd then told myself was the best choice, given the circumstances. What needs mention here is that how long hours were spent by me, indecisively pondering over the choice I was hard pressed to make. Flashes, bright & dim, from alternate futures filled my mind. I couldn't tolerate the grim ones yet found that those of the future I wanted were not without disheartening consequences. So the question always came down to the point where I had to choose between my wishes on one side over those of my loved ones on the other.

I've admired my friends who knew what to do in life from early days. As for me, I was one who was fidgeting with reconciling the hiatus between my aspirations and family expectations. I eventually settled for the latter. I have faced cynicism from various quarters, all meaning well, for not being courageous to pursue my dreams. I could never explain to them how agonizing it is to see your loved ones pleading with you to take the surer road to success.. Obviously success being a relative term, it was what they identified as success. I did confront a long term provocation, a deep calling, a perpetual pull towards a different direction in life, but I gave it up when I realized that it was pointless to see my loved ones bear the brunt of my struggle which was inevitable in the path I'd chosen. Things weren't quite bright in my father's career. My family hadn't seen prosperity and God knows I wanted to give them that, in my own way. But that wasn't meant to be. So when time was ripe to pursue my heart's cravings, I met head on, the gravitation of the other side. A side which offered a quicker and a more conventional means to 'settlement' in life, only ofcourse if I persevered in an entirely different manner than the way I'd have liked to. Eventually I did work at it and by the grace of the Lord Almighty our prayers were answered. I write this not for inviting sympathy or claiming martyrdom. Instead to depict the inner conflict that I underwent at that stage of my life. It was a stage where I confronted the temptation of following my dream and the collateral anguish of sacrificing the hopes of my parents and alternatively the conscience to cave in to parental aspiration and see my dreams die. Both, my dreams & my folks, were dear to me. But I had to comfort myself by telling that my dream would eventually find another abode, but my parents, they couldn't have found another hope. I'm not saying anything against those persons who have traveled on the path that they chose. They have my respect and reverence for the courage they must have shown in sticking to that decision. By the way its now an adage that travelling on the road not taken will make all the difference. So I don't think that's the point of discussion anymore. But it is likely that they too must have dealt with the temptation of giving up on all of that and taking the other path.

The point therefore is that we deal with temptations all the time. Degrees vary, places & time vary. Conflicts rage. Fire and ice will forever keep rubbing themselves upon us & make life the remarkable journey that it is.

Saturday, 23 June 2012


The evening throbs as if a surge                                          
Of unspoken feelings on their verge
The satin night crawls far & wide
Melting everything hitherto in sight                         

The bamboo vines whispering lullabies
In chorus, sound like gentle seas
Mortal forms vanishing into nothing
Their footsteps & signs sans lingering

As I toss & turn on the cot
My head chases a single thought
Born of the faceless jingle
That do their job & hastily mingle

My sleepless eyes stumble upon
The starry pond where fireflies spawn
The million glints from their burning
Provoking an unearthly craving

Crew of crickets join for a supper choir
Their tunes tearing from beneath every layer
Melodious than the greatest known tune
Into every note rhapsody strewn 

The tender breeze rising from the banks
Of the distant river breaking ranks
Reassuring my sand ridden hair
Infusing a delight so delicate & rare

I'm captive of a perfumed whiff
Born of some mystic leaf
The many hued flora kneading
Charismatic musk seething

I forget I was born in the lights
I forget all the pointless fights
I forget every mirage to which I clung
I forget my need of a city, far flung

I move over the worthless addictions
I find refuge from haunting afflictions
I feel strain forsake my nerve
I feel the return of humane verve

I sleep on my back
Looking at the soulful dark
Watching countless questions at sight
That I dodged in the bright

Then, like the ardour of lovers,
Like the embrace of mothers,
Like the ageless sage,
Begins to etch in heart, my village


Friday, 22 June 2012


What do I tell my dreams,

What'd I trade 'em with

You've told me to forget quick

But the more I try the more they get thick

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Did You Know ?

  • That FIR stands for First Information Report
  • It's technically the first information, on record, regarding the commission of any offence. Hence it holds significant value in criminal investigation and the judicial process that may follow.
  • Whenever one wishes to lodge an FIR in a Police Station, he may do it in writing or orally and the Police is bound to reduce the oral information into writing verbatim, as provided by the informant. 
  • The informant must sign the FIR
  • He must be provided a copy of the FIR, free of cost, by the Police.
  • The Police cannot refuse to lodge FIR and investigate a case on the ground that it does not find from the FIR that any offence has been committed or on the ground that the offence may have been committed in another jurisdiction.
  • Whether or not a crime has actually been committed, is something which ultimately Courts decide, Police cannot decide it at the time of lodging FIR. It has to lodge FIR and start investigation.
  • So also if the crime has indeed taken place in another locality beyond the jurisdiction of that Police Station, still then the Police cannot return the informant without lodging his FIR. What is legally incumbent upon the Police is that it should lodge the FIR and then forward it to the appropriate Police Station, after following all other legal formalities.

  • Any person aggrieved by a refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to record the information may send the substance of such information, in writing and by post, to the Superintendent of Police concerned, who, if satisfied that such information discloses the commission of a cognizable offence (*), shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer subordinate to him, in the manner provided by law.

    The aggrieved informant may in the alternative, file a complaint case before the local Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM) regarding the crime, also mentioning therein the factum of refusal by Poilce to lodge his FIR.
  • Any person can lodge FIR. Its not at all necessary that the victim (s), or his relatives etc. only can lodge FIR.
  • FIR should not be cryptic and incoherent. It should clearly describe, among others, the following minimum things :-  
          a) The name and address of the informant
          b) The date, time and place of the occurrence
          c) The offence / crime that is alleged
          d) The identities of the offenders (if known to the informant)
  • FIR should be lodged without any unreasonable delay. That strengthens the case a lot during trial in Court.

(*) A cognizable offence is one in which Police has power to arrest without warrant. All cognizable offences have been listed in the First Schedule appended to our Code of Criminal Procedure. 



Beneath the veneer so demure

Sliding under the mind unsure

Lurks the unwearied radical 

Awaiting the turn of a miracle 

Monday, 18 June 2012

Rain & Flood

(.. calling the rains not to wreak havoc by floods......)

Its time - they'll come again in the band
Salvaging men and land
Then they'll move over the sand and
Crashing on waiting palms and hand

They'll run through the heavens
Where once hailed the sun
They'll find places uneven
They'll always be on the run

But where will the sparrows go
When they come hard in flow
Where will all the ants hide
When they shower in endless ride

Where will the rivers flow
When they brim them slow
What all will they wash
If they deem to turn rash

The feeble shelters on the banks
The many faces that'll tell you thanks
If you don't turn rogue
If you don't overrun hope

And stay away from spawning deluge
Not cause souls running for refuge
Just stay the relief that you are
And not turn into a timeless scar

The Conversation - IX (On How The President of India Is Elected)

Avinash: (Fuming) That was embarrassing !!

Me: What, my dear friend, was embarrassing ?

Avinash: Nothing

Me: Come on, spit it.

Avinash: How am I supposed to know that the election process of our President is entirely different from that of our MPs.

Me: A-ha

Avinash: Right in front of the neighbours my father asked me to go back to High School and brush up on my social studies.

Me: Ok ok, chill now.

Avinash: I challenged back that I'll be telling him about the whole process of President's election by evening.....& I'm looking for some help in that direction. Would you mind ?

Me: Not at all. Have I ever hesitated in telling you about any information you've sought for ?

Avinash: Yeah. I know. Thanks for that. But this time it's really important. Download the whole information into my head, brother.

Me: Ok. Now here's the thing about the presidential election that you first need to know. The President is not voted for directly by the people as happens in the general elections. Rather he is elected by an indirect voting system, that is by an electoral college, in accordance with the system of proportional representation by single transferable vote...

Avinash: Wait,wait, wait. What's an electoral college ?

Me: It consists of three groups of voters:-

a) the elected members of both Houses of Parliament
b) the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the states
c) the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the Union Territories

Avinash: This means that the nominated members of the Parliament or the State Assembly do not have any voting rights in the election of the President.

Me. That's correct.

Avinash. Alright, go on

Me: Article 55 of our Constitution mandates that, as far as practicable, there shall be uniformity of representation of different states in the election, in terms of the population and the total number of elected members of the Legislative Assembly of each state. It also requires that there shall be parity maintained between the states as a whole and the Centre. In this way the President shall be a representative of the nation as well as that of the people of different states as well.

Avinash: How is that achieved ?

Me: To achieve this parity a formula is adopted, which as follows:-

i) every elected member of the State Assembly shall have as many votes as there are multiples of one 
   thousand in the quotient obtained by dividing the population of that state by the total number of elected  
   members in that Assembly 
ii) if by this division, the remainder is 500 or more, it' ll be counted as one and the vote of each member is 
    increased by one

For example let's say that the population of State X is 2, 08, 49, 840 and the number of elected members of its Legislative Assembly is 208. Then the number of votes in the hand of each elected member of X's Legislative Assembly is (2, 08, 49, 840 / 208) / 1000 = 100.Likewise, the number of votes to be cast by the entire State Legislative Assembly of X is 208 x 100 = 20, 800.

Similarly the voting calculation of Members of the Parliament is as follows:-

  • the number of votes that each elected MP is entitled to cast is obtained by dividing the total number of votes in the State Legislative Assemblies of all states (as obtained by the abovementioned formula) by the total number of elected MPs of both houses
  • if by this division, the remainder exceeds 1/2, it'll be counted as one.
For example, in India, suppose the total number of votes of elected members of all the State Legislative Assemblies comes to 74, 940 & the total number of elected MPs in the Parliament is, say, 750. Then each elected MP of the parliament shall be entitled to cast 74, 940 / 750 = 99 23/25 and since 23 / 25 is greater than 1/2, it'll be counted as 1 and added to 99 thus making the votes of each elected MP as 100.

This is how parity is achieved between the votes of State Legislative Assemblies' members and members of Parliament.

Avinash: Tell me one thing. Why such an indirect system of voting for the election of the President is there instead of the simple system of direct voting by the people all over the country.

Me: You must understand one thing first. That the President of India is only a nominal head. The real power vests in the Council of Ministers who enjoy the popular support i.e. they are elected by direct voting of the people of this country. If you remember one previous conversation that we had, I'd explained how our President cannot act in defiance of the recommendations and advise of the Ministers in the Parliament. In short, he can only do such things, that are approved by the Council of Ministers. Therefore it is pointless to incur such humongous expenditure of time and money for his election. Furthermore if the President does not have real powers, which actually vests in the Ministry, then it would be contradictory to ask the common man to elect him when the person he elects has no real power.

Avinash: You used the expression "proportional representation by single transferable vote". Care to explain.

Me: The election takes place in consonance with the system of proportional representation by single transferable vote by secret ballot system. The secret ballot is a voting method in which a voter's choices in an election or a referendum remain anonymous. Proportional representation system means that the number of seats won by a candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. The single transferable vote is a voting system designed to achieve proportional representation through preferential voting. Under this method, an elector's vote is initially allocated to his or her most preferred candidate, and then, after candidates have been either elected or eliminated, any surplus or unused votes are transferred according to the voter's stated preferences.

Let me now explain you these concepts in the present context.

Let us suppose that there are four candidates running for President - A, B, C & D and that the total number of votes available are 1500. A candidate must secure at least 7, 501 votes i.e. more than half the first preference votes. to be declared elected. In the first round of count if no one secures this mark of votes then the candidate with the least votes will be eliminated. Then the second preference votes will be transferred to the remaining candidates. as per the preference given by the voters. This process will be repeated till one candidate secures more than half the total votes. The candidate who shall so secure, will be declared as the winner.

Avinash: Its a little mathematical, isn't it !!!

Me: It sure is. Also remember a few more relevant facts.

Avinash. Tell me

Me:  Article 58 of the Constitution sets the principal qualifications one must meet to be eligible for the office of the President. He or she must be:

  • A citizen of India and
  • Of 35 years of age or above and
  • Qualified to become a member of the Lok Sabha

A person shall not be eligible for election as President 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 Governments.

Certain office-holders, however, are permitted to stand as Presidential candidates. They are:
  • the current Vice President.
  • the Governor of any State.
  • a Minister of the Union or of any State (Including Prime Minister and Chief Ministers)
In the event that the Vice President, a State Governor or a Minister is elected President, they are considered to have vacated their previous office on the date they begin serving as President.

On being successfully elected, the President shall be administered his oath by the Chief Justice of India and in his absence, the senior most Judge of the Supreme Court. Once elected, he shall hold his office for a tenure of five years. Even after the expiry of five years, he may hold his office until his successor enters thereupon. He is also eligible for re election and unlike the President of USA, who cannot be elected as President more than twice, he can be re elected any number of terms. The President of India can be removed by the Parliamaent by a process of impeachment on the ground (s) of violation of our Constitution.

Avinash: Thanks a lot bro !! You sure saved my face.

Me: You are welcome.


(The facts mentioned in this post are based on the author's reasearch. The author does not claim that they depict the entire facts as they stand, concerning the topic, nor is it denied that there could be lapses in the depiction. The readers are sincerely advised to make a detailed study of the matter for holistic information)