Universal Adult Franchise

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Universal Adult Franchise and The Methods of Representation

Democracy at Work


have studied opening of the to the I n an earlier lesson, youthe people of that the What dowords wordsPreambleThese Indian Constitution are: “We, India”. these signify? words mean that the ultimate authority resides in the people themselves. People exercise authority through the representatives elected by them. These representatives conduct the functions of the government in accordance with the wishes of the people. People govern themselves through their elected representatives. In a country which is vast and has a large population, the establishment of direct democracy is an
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But while the ‘defeated’ Germany incorporated the 190

Universal Adult Franchise and The Methods of Representation principle of universal adult franchise in 1919, it took nine more years for Great Britain to extend franchise to women in 1928. In 1918, Britain had granted franchise to limited number of women. It was decided that while all adult men, 21 years of age and above would have the right to vote, women only above the age of 30 years could possess the right to vote. This discrimination was removed only in 1928. France, the land that gave the popular slogans of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, could introduce the right of universal adult franchise to its people only after the end of the Second World War i.e. 1945. Equally strange is the fact that Switzerland, the home of direct democracy denied the right to vote to women till 1973. India adopted the principle of universal adult franchise when the present Constitution was enacted in 1949 which as you know was implemented on January 26, 1950. Age of voting The voting age varies from country to country. In Denmark and Japan, a person, man or woman, is entitled to vote after attaining the age of 25 years. In Norway, the age limit is 23, in Great Britain, the United States, Russia and Turkey it is 18. In Switzerland, it is 20 years. In our country, now the minimum age for exercising franchise is 18 years. The 61st Amendment Act of 1989 lowered the voting age from 21
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