There is always a practice to restrain the right to vote for the less powerful
people. In earlier times the entrenched groups always tried to consolidate the
power through election, but they do not focus on the basic rights of the
citizens. In 1700s U.S. granted right to vote to only the white men who owned
the property, and no other were allowed to cast their vote especially women and
African Americans. Later in 1870 the fifteenth amendment was ratified that says
there would not be any discrimination based on race. But then also states use
other methods like literacy and poll taxes to prevent the under privileges using
their right to vote.
In Early 20th century voices raised demanding the voting
right to women who were historically neglected by the State. But in 1965 there
was the 24th amendment (Voting right act) by the congress which was to
eradicate all the barring policies and practices by the state although the
Voting Rights Act included provisions that required states and local
jurisdictions with a historical pattern of suppressing voting rights based on
race to submit changes in their election laws to the U.S. Justice Department for
approval (or "preclearance").
In the ensuing decadforward and clearance
provisions proved to be a remarkably effective means of discouraging state and
local officials from erecting new barriers to voting, stopping the most
egregious policies from going forward, and providing communities and civil
rights advocates with advance notice of proposed changes that might suppress the
In 2013 this act was gutted by the supreme court in Shelby County v.
 where supreme court declare the section 4(b) and section 5
unconstitutional which include the jurisdiction and preclearance terms. In the
26th amendment the age regarding voting was decreased to 18 from 21 which
declared as the win for young people. By this we can see that there is a
practice to suppress the right to vote of a people by policies and methods.
Right to vote in India
Voting is a fundamental element of the democratic system, but it is paradoxical
that it is not the fundamental right of the citizens. Voting means choosing the
person who will govern us and how they will govern. The right to vote is the
bedrock of any democratic country, voting rate shows how much people were
concerned about the nation and its future policies. It shows awareness among the
citizens. The right to vote gives a sense of ownership to the people over the
In India the right to vote is given to everyone irrespective of religion,caste, race, sex, or any other disability since independence. We have
adopted the universal adult franchise. Right to vote is not the privilege that
we get but it is a basic human right too. In India right to vote is mentioned in
article 326 of the Indian constitution as
Elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assemblies of States
to be on the basis of adult suffrage The elections to the House of the People
and to the Legislative Assembly of every State shall be on the basis of adult
suffrage; but is to say, every person who is a citizen of India and who is not
less than twenty one years of age on such date as may be fixed in that behalf by
or under any law made by the appropriate legislature and is not otherwise
disqualified under this constitution or any law made by the appropriate
Legislature on the ground of non-residence, unsoundness of mind, crime or
corrupt or illegal practice, shall be entitled to be registered as a voter at
any such election.
This article of the Indian constitution is unequivocal states that any person
who is not the resident of India has not any right to cast the vote in the any
election and who is not a sound person has not the right to vote in the
election. This article in neither come under the Part III if the Indian
constitution which basically deals with the fundamental rights of the people. If
we see here the very thin but the main difference lies between fundamental right
and the constitutional right that basic rights are given to every person
irrespective of any criteria whereas the constitutional right is a statutory
right which give some privileges to a citizen of a country who has residence and
of sound mind and the person who is not below the age of the eighteen years is
qualifies to give vote.
A five-judge bench in Kuldip Nayar Vs Union of India
(2006) had held that the right to vote is not a fundamental right but
just a statutory right. '8. Before proceeding to examine the merits of the
argument addressed on behalf of the petitioner it will be useful to note that
the right to vote or to stand as a candidate for election is neither a
fundamental nor a civil right.
In England also it has never been recognized as a
common law right. In this connection, we may usefully refer to the following
observations in Jyoti Basu V. Debi Ghosal
, which reads as under (paras 7 & 8)
: "The nature of the right to elect, the right to be elected and the right to
dispute an election and the scheme of the constitutional and statutory
provisions in relation to these rights have been explained by the Court in N.P.
Ponnuswami V. Returning Officer, Namakkal Constituency
, and Jagan Nath v.
Jaswant Singh. We proceed to state what we have gleaned from what has been
said, so much as necessary for this case.
The right to elect, fundamental though
it is to democracy, is anomalously enough neither a fundamental right nor a
Common Law Right. It is pure and simple a statutory right. So is the right to be
elected. So is the right to dispute an election. Outside of statute there is no
right to elect, no right to be elected and no right to dispute an election.
Statutory creations they are and, therefore, subject to statutory limitation."
So now it has been crystal clear by the Honorable supreme court that the right
to vote is not a fundamental right but a constitutional right. The right to vote
is considered as constitutional right because it can be waived by the person
means a person wishes not to use his right to vote then he may do but the person
cannot waive his fundamental rights this make the difference.
If we consider
right to vote as fundamental right, then we must give this right to those who
are not the resident of the Indian but just present in the rule of the land and
those who are of unsound mind and those too who were convicted and under trails
as this is not the provision presented by our constitution because this will
create a havoc in the election system of our country. In the case Anup Baranwal
, where the top court with the 4-1 ration declared the right to vote as
merely a constitutional law not the fundamental law.
So, by the following point it can be interpreted that the in India which is the
biggest democracy in the world and with more than 945 million voters, who do
not have the fundamental right to vote. It is contradictory to say that we do
not consider one of the basic elements of democracy as our fundamental right.
our constitution is a flexible as well as rigid and therefore the amendments are
done with accordance with the need of the time for example the right to property
was the fundamental right before the 44th Amendment of act 1978 of the
Indian constitution and a new article 300A was inserted and titled as right to
property, this way a fundamental right reformed and mature to constitutional
right and in the judgment of Bajranga v. State of Madhya Pradesh
Court clearly mention right to property as a constitutional right.
By this we
can see constitution give the legislature a privilege to make law according to
need of the hour and in this era it is very much essential to provide the
citizens with the equitable rights which will strengthen the basic structure of
our democracy and to become a Vishwa guru of this 21st century our law-making
body should reconsider the provisions and law as the time has come to declare
the right to vote a fundamental right.
- https://www.carnegie.org/our-work/article/voting-rights-timeline/ (Last visited August 20, 2023)
- https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/the-paradox-of-voting-supreme-court-questions-status-of-right-to-vote-as-fundamental-right-in-indian-constitution-101690313723020.html (Last visited August 21, 2023)
- https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1620503/ (Last visited August 22, 2023)
- AIR 2006 SC 3127
- AIR 1982 SC 983 and 986
- 1952 SCR 218 : (AIR 1952 SC 64)
- AIR 1954 SC 210
- WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.104 OF 2015
- https://eci.gov.in/statistical-report/statistical-reports/ (Last visited August 22, 2023)
- 2021 SCC ONLINE SC 27 decided on 19-01-2021
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Mohammad Rasikh Javed
Authentication No: SP325217129847-9-0923