What is Universal Adult Franchise?

By K Balaji|Updated : December 1st, 2022

The universal adult franchise, also called universal or common suffrage, grants the right to cast a vote to every adult citizen regardless of caste, gender, religion, race, political stance, etc. Hence, all citizens above the age of 18 are free to vote in a democracy. The Indian Constitution has adopted a universal adult franchise as the foundation for elections to the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies.

Universal Adult Franchise

Before independence, only 13% of Indians had voting rights. Hence, in a few decades, there was a demand for a universal adult franchise in the country. Also, Motilal Nehru’s report on general suffrage became the basis for the adult franchise, which also stood for gender equality.

Furthermore, it is vital to have universal suffrage as it states that every citizen has one vote irrespective of their financial or social status. And refusing the right to vote is a violation of their rights. Thus, the Indian constitution has adopted the universal adult franchise as the foundation for the Lok Sabha and state legislative assembly elections.

Later, Dr BR Ambedkar appealed to the Simon Commission to convince them to pass general suffrage in 1928. In 1947, India began composing the first draft for the electoral roll on universal adult suffrage. The franchise finally came into power when the Indian Constitution was implemented on 26th January 1950.

Summary:

What is the Universal Adult Franchise?

The universal adult franchise says that every citizen above 18 years has the right to vote regardless of caste, gender, social status, income, race, political stance and more. The concept of universal suffrage is built on the principle of equality which is the heart of any democracy.

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