Universal adult franchise defines under article 326 in the Indian constitution, which states all the citizens of the country have the right to vote in all levels of the elected government without any discrimination of caste, sex, religion, education, color, or even economic condition.
But this right is given to the citizens with certain conditions as follows:
- One must be a citizen of India.
- One must be attained 18 years of age.
- One must not be unsound minded.
- One must not be declared bankrupt by a competent court.
Why was the voting age of 18 established?
Making 18 years as voting age has the reason, it is the age a person will get maturity knowing the things what is good and what is bad but still, you can find different voting ages from 16 to 18 years in different countries under their constitution. 18 years is most widely accepted but few countries still on the debate to lower the age to vote.
When the right to vote was established in democracies, the voting age was generally set at 21 years or older. In the 1970s, many countries lowered the voting age to 18. Here are some countries and age they allow to vote.
- Denmark and Japan – 25 Years
- Norway – 23 Years
- Great Britain, the United States, Russia, and Turkey – 18 Years
- Switzerland – 20 Years
- In India with the 61st Amendment Act of 1989 age of voting lowered from 21 to 18 Years.
Evolution of Universal Adult Franchise
Today we talk about Universal Adult Franchise and how it protects individual rights but when this was started this was not the case. Till the 2nd decade of the 20th century, many democratic countries were not practicing the same, they had differences based on gender, education, status, and other qualifications.
Most of the Western countries, known for their experience of some kind of representative government system, the introduction of adult franchises
happened only after the First World War (1914-18), and evolved into different forms over the period of time and the present Adult Franchise we are following and still debates are in place to decrease or increase the age for voting across the world.
Why the Universal Adult Franchise is Important in a Democracy?
Equality is the main principle of any democracy, from this right it ensures all are treated equally under the law it may be the richest person or a beggar on the street both have voting power in the same way.
According to the provisions of the country’s Constitution, citizens vote in regular
intervals to elect their representatives in Parliament, legislative assemblies, and
other institutions that are essential organs of political power in a democracy. Hence democracy plays a very important role to protect every individual right including Universal Adult Franchise in the country.
Even though we have all the rights to vote still, political parties influence the people by offering money and false promises to win the election, this problem is not just to any specific country it lies in all the countries in the world. The only solution to this problem is by giving more education to the people about what is right and what is wrong.