The Constitution (Eleventh Amendment) Act, 1961

The eleventh amendment to the Constitution of India, formally recognised as the Constitution Act (the eleventh amendment) of 1961, provided for the nomination, by the representatives of an electoral college representing both the House of Commons, of the Vice-President, exempting from the prior provision for a Joint Session of Representatives from both Houses of Parliament to be convened for such a purpose. The eleventh amendment inserted new provision (4) in Article 71 of the Constitution, in order to make it clear that, for any cause, it cannot be debated that President or Vice-Presidents will be chosen on the grounds of any vacancy.


During the 12th year of the Republic of India, BE passed in parliament the following: 

1. Short title This Act can be referred to as the 1961 Constitution Act (Eleventh Amendment), 

2. Amendment of Article 66. The words "member of an electoral college composed of representatives of both the House of Representatives" was substituted by the words "members of both houses of Parliament sitting in a joint assembly" in Article 66 clause (1) of the Constitution. 

3. Amendment of Article 71. The following provision shall be added in Article 71 of the Constitution pursuant to clause (3), namely:

"(4) The election of a citizen as President or Vice-President shall not be brought into doubt on the basis that, for any cause, there is no vacancy between the representatives of the electoral college nominating him." 

With the 11th amendment, the exact language of Section 66(1) is as follows:     

66. Election of Vice-President (1) The Vice-President shall be chosen by a single transferable vote, chosen by representatives of both Houses of Parliament who are gathered in joined meetings of the representatives of an electoral college including the members of the House of Parliament under the proportional system.

Proposal and enactment

The Constitution (Eleventh Amendment) Act of 1961 (Bill No. 66 of 1961) was passed in Lok Sabha on 30 November 1961. It was presented by Ashoke Kumar Sen, the then Minister of Justice, and tried to modify Articles 66 and 71 of the Constitution. The full text of the Objects and Reasons affixed to the bill is as follows: 

Pursuant to Section 66(1) of the Constitution, the Vice-President shall be chosen by the representatives of both Houses of Parliament, which shall be elected by a joint vote at a joint meeting. The provision that the leaders of the two Houses vote at a joint session for the appointment of the Vice-President appears to be entirely redundant and can even create logistical difficulties. It is therefore necessary to modify this Clause in order to ensure that the Vice-President shall be chosen by the representatives of the electoral college comprised of the members of both Houses of Parliament. Pursuant to Article 54 of the Constitution, the President shall be chosen by an electoral college consisting of the elected representatives of both the Houses of Parliament and the Legislative Assembly of the States. Every attempt shall be made to conclude these elections prior to the actual date of the presidential election. Nevertheless, it is probable that the polls to the 2 Houses of Parliament will not be completed until the President or the Vice-President is chosen. This is also sought to modify Article 71 of the Constitution in order to make this explicit that the mandate of the President or of the Vice-President can not be contested on the basis of any vacancy in the relevant electoral college for any cause whatsoever. 

2. The Bill is seeking to accomplish such things. The comments on the clauses appended to the legislation clarify the conditions of the law.

-A.K. Sen, "Constitution (Eleventh Amendment) Act, 1961." This article contains text from this document, which is also in the public domain. 

The bill was discussed and approved in its original state by the Lok Sabha on 5 December 1961. It was deemed and approved on 12 December 1961 by the Rajya Sabha. The bill was endorsed by then President Rajendra Prasad on 19 December 1961 and entered into force on the same day. It was published in the Indian Gazette on 20 December 1961.