CIVICS — Voting right – Universal suffrage
How universal suffrage was enshrined in the Constitution …
The eminent persons who drafted the Constitution were highly educated, and generally very affluent. Many of them had studied in England. In many ways, they were elitist, despite their concern for the poor.
On the other hand, vast sections of the Indian population were illiterate, poor, unskilled reeling under superstition, bigotry and feudal in their mentality. The gulf between the writers of the Constitution and the citizens in the lower rungs of society was very wide indeed.
The Constitution writers genuinely doubted if these down-trodden people had the power of judgment to vote intelligently and judiciously. Hence, they hesitated to give voting rights to each and every Indian above 21. Perhaps,they thought it advisable to lay down some qualifying criteria for a person to be eligible to vote.
At the end, all these concerns were set aside, and universal voting right was given to all above 21.
In this regard, India stole a march over Britain, Germany and France, even America.
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