Democracy is the rule with the consent of the majority —government ‘of the people, for the people, by the people’. It recognizes the paramountcy of the people’s will. Vox pupuli, vox dei: ‘the voice of the people is the voice of God’. This will is expressed through the accredited and elected representatives of the people sitting in parliament.

In a true democracy even the powers and jurisdiction of these representatives are strictly limited and defined by a constitution, which, again, cannot be altered or amended except through rigid parliamentary processes. In other words, every effort is made to prevent the accumulation of power in the hands of any particular individual or group.

It follows that the proper functioning of democracy depends upon its electoral system, through which the people can make its will operative. Elections must be broad-based on adult franchise, so that every man and woman, having attained majority, is entitled to vote.

At the same time, democracy can function properly only if the electorate is educated, and is able to understand the political significance of the vote. The modern society is so complicated by various economic and other factors that without proper education, the ordinary voter is liable to get confused. Further, elections must be free and fair. Every voter should have unhindered access to the ballot box and he must be assured of the secrecy of his vote.


No electoral system can be foolproof and perfect democracy can be found only in the Utopias of poets and dreamers. We must be satisfied with the nearest approximation to it. Hence democracy is an evolutionary process, dependent on constant modification and change in the light of experience. It must always be ready to broaden the foundations, remove impediments to the free expression of people’s will, and minimise the risk of any one class becoming preponderant.

Hence, democracy depends on freedom of speech and writing as also on the efficient functioning of the democratic institutions. To ensure pure democracy, supremacy of the constitution and unfettered working of the parliament are pre-conditions. The people must have complete freedom to ventilate their opinions in the press and on the platform. The proceedings of parliaments must be open to the public and must be duly published. There must also be periodic elections in order to reflect the changes in the people’s views and opinions. Power must be kept perpetually fluid. Finally, in a true democracy, the people must have the right of recalling their representatives, should they cease to represent them.

India, the largest democracy in the world, perhaps is making the boldest bid to attain true democracy. The democratic system has struck roots firmly in Indian soil. The franchise is based on adult suffrage and every effort is made to ensure that the will of the people is properly and freely exercised.

Now an eighteen-year old is a voter in India. Yet certain drawbacks should be attended to and removed At present, the electorate is so large and far-flung that only a rich individual or a rich political party can set up candidates. The cost of running election is going up enormously. The result is that the wealthy classes and parties, dependent on their wealth, enjoy an undue advantage. So unless all the voters become sufficiently alert, it might be necessary to go back to the Gandhian formula of having a pyramidal constitution with the village panchayet at the bottom and the National Parliament at the top.


Another drawback that India is experiencing is that in a vast country the procedure is bound to be complicated. The dread of voting being abused by individuals has led to constitutional checks.

In other words, democracy needs a simplification of the administrative machinery, so that the executive can function smoothly. It is suggested that cost of running for election should be borne by govt. for All-India party candidates. But the ministry or cabinet of joint responsibility should have to be fully answerable to legislature. It will not be Govt. by the people if there is an attempt to buy the people goes on, with the finance that a political party gets from the international companies.

Perhaps with our representatives drawing salaries and emolu­ments, we are finding democracy a somewhat costly affair. A single day sitting in parliament costs a huge sum. But that is inevitable, for the representatives of the people must be assured of a reasonable economic security in order to do their duties properly.

India has already managed to establish her claim to be a really democratic state. In Pakistan, democracy has been thrown overboard, and the status of the minority is yet undefined there. In the USA the President enjoys unusual over-riding powers over the House of Representatives and even over the Senate.


In Russia at present, democracy is in a nascent state. President being the supreme. Only in Britain, the Parliament is all-powerful. We have now largely managed to avoid these shortcomings and defects. We may now be content with the British system of allowing the minority of today to become the majority of tomorrow through the slow process of periodic elections. Two strong parties—the Congress and the B.J.P are emerging in India to balance the democratic set-up.