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Indian democracy and the Constitution

Democracy and constitution are inseparable; the sense of efficient polity can only
be established with the collaboration of the both. Democracy has become a key
reason behind political legitimacy. Both have a unanimous view in determining
their ends which is “popular sovereignty’’. As per the constitution ‘people of India
is the sovereign’ while democracy motto is to establish an institution which is to be
regulated by the people.

Democracy is a constructive idea while constitution provides the mechanism by


which the idea can be materialised. Ex- Democracy aims for freedom, equality
while constitution conforms with such value loaded aims.

The preamble of the Indian constitution was shaped on the basis of objective
resolution in which one of the concerns of the constitution framers was
‘preservation of sovereignty’ which in collective sense is democracy. Thus we can
say that democracy is salient feature of constitution.

One of the most important features of the democratic policy is elections at regular
intervals. Holding periodic, free and fair elections are essentials of a democratic
system and it is also part of the basic structure of the Constitution. Article 324 of
the Indian constitution regulates the functioning and formation of election
commission.

A true democracy implies participation of people which is not possible unless they
have information about what is going on in the country, what policies and
programmes are being followed, and whether the government is exercising its
powers for public good and not private gain. Article 19(1) (a) came up with the
idea of accountability of the executive to their subjects.

Universal Adult Franchise is one of the elements of democracy which is regulated


through Article 326; this Article empowers the Representative of People’s Act
1951 for establishment of a representative democracy.

In Govt. of Delhi v Lt General, Js. Deepak Mishra said that “The right to vote
"lies at the heart" of democracy as it inculcates a sense of belonging among the
people and it is absolutely necessary that the people's will is implemented.

In opposite to above arguments, there are few antagonist relationship between


constitution and democracy also.

The practicality of democracy is imbibed in direct democracy while Indian


constitution encourages representative democracy which tends towards ‘elitist
rule’, representative democracy can be explained as a ‘camouflaged democracy.
The prime objective of democracy is active participation of citizens in the political
ventures while representative democracy promotes passive participation of
individuals. It is well said that ‘Representation destroys participation’.

The word ‘public interest’ and ‘national interest’ in Indian constitution is a ground
for limiting individual’s freedom. But the mechanism of defining these words is
left within the purview of court. The question is how court is competent enough to
define these limitations on freedom of individual as it’s a matter of debate in public
sphere and not merely a concern of a 4-walled courtroom.
The essence of democracy can be most efficiently recognized through a polity
governed with constitution. Democracy is cardinal feature of welfare state. There
are several instances in which it can be traced that democratic form of government
is the only mean through which the idea of well functioning constitution can be
established.