NCERT Textbook - Election and Representation Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Political Science Class 11

Created by: Uk Tiwary

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - Election and Representation Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


51
Chapter 3: Election and Representation
Chapter Three
ELECTION AND
REPRESENTATION
INTRODUCTION
Have you ever played chess? What would happen if the black knight suddenly
started moving straight rather than two and a half squares? Or, what would
happen if in a game of cricket, there were no umpires? In any sport, we need to
follow certain rules. Change the rules and the outcome of the game would be
very different. Similarly a game needs an impartial umpire whose decision is
accepted by all the players. The rules and the umpire have to be agreed upon
before we begin to play a game. What is true of a game is also true of elections.
There are different rules or systems of conducting elections. The outcome of the
election depends on the rules we have adopted. We need some machinery to
conduct the elections in an impartial manner. Since these two decisions need to
be taken before the game of electoral politics can begin, these cannot be left to
any government. That is why these basic decisions about elections are written
down in the constitution of a democratic country.
In this chapter we shall study the constitutional provisions regarding elections
and representation. We shall focus on the importance of the method of election
chosen in our Constitution and the implications of the constitutional provisions
regarding impartial machinery for conducting elections. We shall also look at
some suggestions for amending the constitutional provisions in this respect. After
reading this chapter, you would understand:
± different methods of election;
± the characteristics of the system of election adopted in our country;
± the importance of the provisions for free and fair elections; and
± the debate on electoral reforms.
2015-16(20/01/2015)
Page 2


51
Chapter 3: Election and Representation
Chapter Three
ELECTION AND
REPRESENTATION
INTRODUCTION
Have you ever played chess? What would happen if the black knight suddenly
started moving straight rather than two and a half squares? Or, what would
happen if in a game of cricket, there were no umpires? In any sport, we need to
follow certain rules. Change the rules and the outcome of the game would be
very different. Similarly a game needs an impartial umpire whose decision is
accepted by all the players. The rules and the umpire have to be agreed upon
before we begin to play a game. What is true of a game is also true of elections.
There are different rules or systems of conducting elections. The outcome of the
election depends on the rules we have adopted. We need some machinery to
conduct the elections in an impartial manner. Since these two decisions need to
be taken before the game of electoral politics can begin, these cannot be left to
any government. That is why these basic decisions about elections are written
down in the constitution of a democratic country.
In this chapter we shall study the constitutional provisions regarding elections
and representation. We shall focus on the importance of the method of election
chosen in our Constitution and the implications of the constitutional provisions
regarding impartial machinery for conducting elections. We shall also look at
some suggestions for amending the constitutional provisions in this respect. After
reading this chapter, you would understand:
± different methods of election;
± the characteristics of the system of election adopted in our country;
± the importance of the provisions for free and fair elections; and
± the debate on electoral reforms.
2015-16(20/01/2015)
52
Indian Constitution at Work
ELECTIONS AND DEMOCRACY
Let us begin by asking ourselves two simple questions about elections
and democracy.
± Can we have democracy without holding elections?
± Can we hold elections without having democracy?
Let us have a discussion in the classroom on both these questions
by using examples from whatever we have learnt so far in the previous
classes.
The first question reminds
us of the necessity of
representation in a large
democracy. All citizens cannot
take direct part in making
every decision. Therefore,
representatives are elected by
the people. This is how elections
become important.  Whenever
we think of India as a
democracy, our mind
invariably turns to the last
elections. Elections have today
become the most visible
symbol of the democratic
process.  We often distinguish
between direct and indirect
democracy. A direct
democracy is one where the
citizens directly participate in
the day-to-day decision-
making and in the running of
the government. The ancient
city-states in Greece were
considered examples of direct
democracy. Many would
consider local governments,
especially gram sabhas, to be
the closest examples of direct
They say elections are carnival of
democracy. But this cartoon depicts chaos
instead. Is this true of elections always? Is
it good for democracy?
READ A CARTOON
Shankar. Copyright: Children’s Book Trust.
17 February 1957
2015-16(20/01/2015)
Page 3


51
Chapter 3: Election and Representation
Chapter Three
ELECTION AND
REPRESENTATION
INTRODUCTION
Have you ever played chess? What would happen if the black knight suddenly
started moving straight rather than two and a half squares? Or, what would
happen if in a game of cricket, there were no umpires? In any sport, we need to
follow certain rules. Change the rules and the outcome of the game would be
very different. Similarly a game needs an impartial umpire whose decision is
accepted by all the players. The rules and the umpire have to be agreed upon
before we begin to play a game. What is true of a game is also true of elections.
There are different rules or systems of conducting elections. The outcome of the
election depends on the rules we have adopted. We need some machinery to
conduct the elections in an impartial manner. Since these two decisions need to
be taken before the game of electoral politics can begin, these cannot be left to
any government. That is why these basic decisions about elections are written
down in the constitution of a democratic country.
In this chapter we shall study the constitutional provisions regarding elections
and representation. We shall focus on the importance of the method of election
chosen in our Constitution and the implications of the constitutional provisions
regarding impartial machinery for conducting elections. We shall also look at
some suggestions for amending the constitutional provisions in this respect. After
reading this chapter, you would understand:
± different methods of election;
± the characteristics of the system of election adopted in our country;
± the importance of the provisions for free and fair elections; and
± the debate on electoral reforms.
2015-16(20/01/2015)
52
Indian Constitution at Work
ELECTIONS AND DEMOCRACY
Let us begin by asking ourselves two simple questions about elections
and democracy.
± Can we have democracy without holding elections?
± Can we hold elections without having democracy?
Let us have a discussion in the classroom on both these questions
by using examples from whatever we have learnt so far in the previous
classes.
The first question reminds
us of the necessity of
representation in a large
democracy. All citizens cannot
take direct part in making
every decision. Therefore,
representatives are elected by
the people. This is how elections
become important.  Whenever
we think of India as a
democracy, our mind
invariably turns to the last
elections. Elections have today
become the most visible
symbol of the democratic
process.  We often distinguish
between direct and indirect
democracy. A direct
democracy is one where the
citizens directly participate in
the day-to-day decision-
making and in the running of
the government. The ancient
city-states in Greece were
considered examples of direct
democracy. Many would
consider local governments,
especially gram sabhas, to be
the closest examples of direct
They say elections are carnival of
democracy. But this cartoon depicts chaos
instead. Is this true of elections always? Is
it good for democracy?
READ A CARTOON
Shankar. Copyright: Children’s Book Trust.
17 February 1957
2015-16(20/01/2015)
53
Chapter 3: Election and Representation
democracy. But this kind of direct democracy cannot be
practiced when a decision has to be taken by lakhs and
crores of people. That is why rule by the people usually
means rule by people’s representatives.
In such an arrangement citizens choose their
representatives who, in turn, are actively involved in
governing and administering the country. The method
followed to choose these representatives is referred to as
an election. Thus, the citizens have a limited role in taking
major decisions and in running the administration. They
are not very actively involved in making of the policies.
Citizens are involved only indirectly, through their elected
representatives. In this arrangement, where all major
decisions are taken by elected representatives, the method
by which people elect their representatives becomes very
important.
The second question reminds us of the fact that not
all elections are democratic. A large number of non-
democratic countries also hold elections. In fact non-
democratic rulers are very keen to present themselves as
democratic. They do so by holding election in such a way
that it does not threaten their rule. Can you think of some
examples of such non-democratic elections? What do you
think would distinguish a democratic from a non-
democratic election? What can be done to ensure that
elections in a country would be conducted in a
democratic way?
This is where constitution comes in. The constitution
of a democratic country lays down some basic rules about
elections. The details are usually left to be worked out by
laws passed by the legislatures. These basic rules are
usually about
± Who is eligible to vote?
± Who is eligible to contest?
± Who is to supervise elections?
± How do the voters choose their representatives?
± How are the votes to be counted and
representatives elected?
What is the need of writing
these rules in the constitution?
Why can’t these be decided by
the Parliament? Or by all the
parties before every election?
2015-16(20/01/2015)
Page 4


51
Chapter 3: Election and Representation
Chapter Three
ELECTION AND
REPRESENTATION
INTRODUCTION
Have you ever played chess? What would happen if the black knight suddenly
started moving straight rather than two and a half squares? Or, what would
happen if in a game of cricket, there were no umpires? In any sport, we need to
follow certain rules. Change the rules and the outcome of the game would be
very different. Similarly a game needs an impartial umpire whose decision is
accepted by all the players. The rules and the umpire have to be agreed upon
before we begin to play a game. What is true of a game is also true of elections.
There are different rules or systems of conducting elections. The outcome of the
election depends on the rules we have adopted. We need some machinery to
conduct the elections in an impartial manner. Since these two decisions need to
be taken before the game of electoral politics can begin, these cannot be left to
any government. That is why these basic decisions about elections are written
down in the constitution of a democratic country.
In this chapter we shall study the constitutional provisions regarding elections
and representation. We shall focus on the importance of the method of election
chosen in our Constitution and the implications of the constitutional provisions
regarding impartial machinery for conducting elections. We shall also look at
some suggestions for amending the constitutional provisions in this respect. After
reading this chapter, you would understand:
± different methods of election;
± the characteristics of the system of election adopted in our country;
± the importance of the provisions for free and fair elections; and
± the debate on electoral reforms.
2015-16(20/01/2015)
52
Indian Constitution at Work
ELECTIONS AND DEMOCRACY
Let us begin by asking ourselves two simple questions about elections
and democracy.
± Can we have democracy without holding elections?
± Can we hold elections without having democracy?
Let us have a discussion in the classroom on both these questions
by using examples from whatever we have learnt so far in the previous
classes.
The first question reminds
us of the necessity of
representation in a large
democracy. All citizens cannot
take direct part in making
every decision. Therefore,
representatives are elected by
the people. This is how elections
become important.  Whenever
we think of India as a
democracy, our mind
invariably turns to the last
elections. Elections have today
become the most visible
symbol of the democratic
process.  We often distinguish
between direct and indirect
democracy. A direct
democracy is one where the
citizens directly participate in
the day-to-day decision-
making and in the running of
the government. The ancient
city-states in Greece were
considered examples of direct
democracy. Many would
consider local governments,
especially gram sabhas, to be
the closest examples of direct
They say elections are carnival of
democracy. But this cartoon depicts chaos
instead. Is this true of elections always? Is
it good for democracy?
READ A CARTOON
Shankar. Copyright: Children’s Book Trust.
17 February 1957
2015-16(20/01/2015)
53
Chapter 3: Election and Representation
democracy. But this kind of direct democracy cannot be
practiced when a decision has to be taken by lakhs and
crores of people. That is why rule by the people usually
means rule by people’s representatives.
In such an arrangement citizens choose their
representatives who, in turn, are actively involved in
governing and administering the country. The method
followed to choose these representatives is referred to as
an election. Thus, the citizens have a limited role in taking
major decisions and in running the administration. They
are not very actively involved in making of the policies.
Citizens are involved only indirectly, through their elected
representatives. In this arrangement, where all major
decisions are taken by elected representatives, the method
by which people elect their representatives becomes very
important.
The second question reminds us of the fact that not
all elections are democratic. A large number of non-
democratic countries also hold elections. In fact non-
democratic rulers are very keen to present themselves as
democratic. They do so by holding election in such a way
that it does not threaten their rule. Can you think of some
examples of such non-democratic elections? What do you
think would distinguish a democratic from a non-
democratic election? What can be done to ensure that
elections in a country would be conducted in a
democratic way?
This is where constitution comes in. The constitution
of a democratic country lays down some basic rules about
elections. The details are usually left to be worked out by
laws passed by the legislatures. These basic rules are
usually about
± Who is eligible to vote?
± Who is eligible to contest?
± Who is to supervise elections?
± How do the voters choose their representatives?
± How are the votes to be counted and
representatives elected?
What is the need of writing
these rules in the constitution?
Why can’t these be decided by
the Parliament? Or by all the
parties before every election?
2015-16(20/01/2015)
54
Indian Constitution at Work
Like most democratic constitutions, the Constitution of India
answers all these questions. As you can see, the first three questions
are about ensuring that elections are free and fair and can thus be
called democratic. The last two questions are about ensuring a fair
representation. In this chapter you will consider both these aspects
of the Constitutional provisions about elections.
ELECTION SYSTEM IN INDIA
You may have noted above a reference to different methods or the
systems of elections. You may have wondered what these were all
about. You may have seen or read about different methods of
electioneering or campaigning in the elections. But what are different
methods of elections? There is a system of conducting elections. There
are authorities and rules about do’s and don’ts. Is that what election
system is all about? You may have wondered why the constitution
needs to write down how the votes are to be counted and
representatives elected. Isn’t that very obvious? People go and vote.
The candidate who gets highest votes gets elected. That is what
elections are all over the world. Why do we need to think about it?
We need to, because this question is not as simple as it appears
to us. We have got so used to our system of elections that we think
that there cannot be any other way. In a democratic election, people
vote and their preference decides who will win the contest. But there
Activity
Collect newspaper clippings about elections in India
and any other country. Classify the clippings in the
following categories:
a. System of representation
b. Voter eligibility
c. Role of the Election Commission. If you have
access to internet, visit the website of the project
Election Process Information Collection
(www.epicproject.org) and collect the information
mentioned above for at least four countries.
2015-16(20/01/2015)
Page 5


51
Chapter 3: Election and Representation
Chapter Three
ELECTION AND
REPRESENTATION
INTRODUCTION
Have you ever played chess? What would happen if the black knight suddenly
started moving straight rather than two and a half squares? Or, what would
happen if in a game of cricket, there were no umpires? In any sport, we need to
follow certain rules. Change the rules and the outcome of the game would be
very different. Similarly a game needs an impartial umpire whose decision is
accepted by all the players. The rules and the umpire have to be agreed upon
before we begin to play a game. What is true of a game is also true of elections.
There are different rules or systems of conducting elections. The outcome of the
election depends on the rules we have adopted. We need some machinery to
conduct the elections in an impartial manner. Since these two decisions need to
be taken before the game of electoral politics can begin, these cannot be left to
any government. That is why these basic decisions about elections are written
down in the constitution of a democratic country.
In this chapter we shall study the constitutional provisions regarding elections
and representation. We shall focus on the importance of the method of election
chosen in our Constitution and the implications of the constitutional provisions
regarding impartial machinery for conducting elections. We shall also look at
some suggestions for amending the constitutional provisions in this respect. After
reading this chapter, you would understand:
± different methods of election;
± the characteristics of the system of election adopted in our country;
± the importance of the provisions for free and fair elections; and
± the debate on electoral reforms.
2015-16(20/01/2015)
52
Indian Constitution at Work
ELECTIONS AND DEMOCRACY
Let us begin by asking ourselves two simple questions about elections
and democracy.
± Can we have democracy without holding elections?
± Can we hold elections without having democracy?
Let us have a discussion in the classroom on both these questions
by using examples from whatever we have learnt so far in the previous
classes.
The first question reminds
us of the necessity of
representation in a large
democracy. All citizens cannot
take direct part in making
every decision. Therefore,
representatives are elected by
the people. This is how elections
become important.  Whenever
we think of India as a
democracy, our mind
invariably turns to the last
elections. Elections have today
become the most visible
symbol of the democratic
process.  We often distinguish
between direct and indirect
democracy. A direct
democracy is one where the
citizens directly participate in
the day-to-day decision-
making and in the running of
the government. The ancient
city-states in Greece were
considered examples of direct
democracy. Many would
consider local governments,
especially gram sabhas, to be
the closest examples of direct
They say elections are carnival of
democracy. But this cartoon depicts chaos
instead. Is this true of elections always? Is
it good for democracy?
READ A CARTOON
Shankar. Copyright: Children’s Book Trust.
17 February 1957
2015-16(20/01/2015)
53
Chapter 3: Election and Representation
democracy. But this kind of direct democracy cannot be
practiced when a decision has to be taken by lakhs and
crores of people. That is why rule by the people usually
means rule by people’s representatives.
In such an arrangement citizens choose their
representatives who, in turn, are actively involved in
governing and administering the country. The method
followed to choose these representatives is referred to as
an election. Thus, the citizens have a limited role in taking
major decisions and in running the administration. They
are not very actively involved in making of the policies.
Citizens are involved only indirectly, through their elected
representatives. In this arrangement, where all major
decisions are taken by elected representatives, the method
by which people elect their representatives becomes very
important.
The second question reminds us of the fact that not
all elections are democratic. A large number of non-
democratic countries also hold elections. In fact non-
democratic rulers are very keen to present themselves as
democratic. They do so by holding election in such a way
that it does not threaten their rule. Can you think of some
examples of such non-democratic elections? What do you
think would distinguish a democratic from a non-
democratic election? What can be done to ensure that
elections in a country would be conducted in a
democratic way?
This is where constitution comes in. The constitution
of a democratic country lays down some basic rules about
elections. The details are usually left to be worked out by
laws passed by the legislatures. These basic rules are
usually about
± Who is eligible to vote?
± Who is eligible to contest?
± Who is to supervise elections?
± How do the voters choose their representatives?
± How are the votes to be counted and
representatives elected?
What is the need of writing
these rules in the constitution?
Why can’t these be decided by
the Parliament? Or by all the
parties before every election?
2015-16(20/01/2015)
54
Indian Constitution at Work
Like most democratic constitutions, the Constitution of India
answers all these questions. As you can see, the first three questions
are about ensuring that elections are free and fair and can thus be
called democratic. The last two questions are about ensuring a fair
representation. In this chapter you will consider both these aspects
of the Constitutional provisions about elections.
ELECTION SYSTEM IN INDIA
You may have noted above a reference to different methods or the
systems of elections. You may have wondered what these were all
about. You may have seen or read about different methods of
electioneering or campaigning in the elections. But what are different
methods of elections? There is a system of conducting elections. There
are authorities and rules about do’s and don’ts. Is that what election
system is all about? You may have wondered why the constitution
needs to write down how the votes are to be counted and
representatives elected. Isn’t that very obvious? People go and vote.
The candidate who gets highest votes gets elected. That is what
elections are all over the world. Why do we need to think about it?
We need to, because this question is not as simple as it appears
to us. We have got so used to our system of elections that we think
that there cannot be any other way. In a democratic election, people
vote and their preference decides who will win the contest. But there
Activity
Collect newspaper clippings about elections in India
and any other country. Classify the clippings in the
following categories:
a. System of representation
b. Voter eligibility
c. Role of the Election Commission. If you have
access to internet, visit the website of the project
Election Process Information Collection
(www.epicproject.org) and collect the information
mentioned above for at least four countries.
2015-16(20/01/2015)
55
Chapter 3: Election and Representation
can be very different ways in which people make their choices and
very different ways in which their preferences can be counted. These
different rules of the game can make a difference to who the winner
of the game will be. Some rules can favour bigger parties; some rules
can help the smaller players. Some rules can favour the majority
community, others can protect the minorities. Let us look at one
dramatic instance to see how this happens.
First Past the Post System
Look at the newspaper clipping.
Activity
Hold mock elections in your class to elect four class
representatives. Hold the election in three different ways:
± Each student can give one vote.  The four highest vote getters
are elected.
± Each student has four votes and can give them all to one
candidate or split the votes among different candidates. The
four highest vote getters are elected.
± Each voter gives a preference ranking to candidates and the
counting follows the method of election of Rajya Sabha
members described below.
Did the same four persons win the election in each of these
methods? If not, what was the difference? Why?
2015-16(20/01/2015)
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