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Sixty-First Amendment Act, 1989 in Indian Constitution

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  • Last Updated : 11 Jul, 2022
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Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure is remembered for many important decisions. One of the most important decisions among them was to give the right to vote to the youth of 18 years. On December 20, 1988, the right to reduce the voting age was from 21 to 18 years. On December 20, 1988, legislation was approved in Parliament to reduce the voting age from 21 to 18 years. There was also opposition to this decision. However, according to him, youth power is necessary for nation-building. Rajiv Gandhi’s decision to reduce the voting age from 21 to 18 years increased 5 crores of young voters.

61st Amendment Act, 1988:

The voting age for elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies was lowered from 21 to 18 years old by the 61st Amendment Act of the Indian Constitution in 1988. The Lok Sabha and Assemblies elections are governed by Article 326 of the Indian Constitution, which was sought to be changed by the bill.

According to Article 326 of the Constitution, each State’s general assembly and House of the People elections must be held under the principles of adult suffrage, which means that candidates must be at least 21 years old. It has been discovered that numerous nations have set the legal drinking age at 18. In our nation, several state governments have established the voting age of 18 for local government elections.

The Lok Sabha debated the bill on December 14 and 15, 1988, passing it on December 15 after making an appropriate modification to replace the word “Sixty-second” in Clause 1 with “Sixty-first.” The Rajya Sabha considered the bill on December 16, 19, and 20, 1988, and on December 20, 1988, it adopted the Lok Sabha’s amendment.

Key Provisions of the Act:

On December 13, 1988, B. Shankaranand, the time’s minister of water resources, introduced the Constitution (62nd Amendment) Bill, 1988, which became the 61st Amendment Act, 1988.

  1. A significant portion of India’s voters—52 lakh of whom are currently of voting age—determine how elections turn out in the nation.
  2. B. Shankaranand, who was the water resources minister at the time, proposed it in the Lok Sabha on December 13, 1988.
  3. Article 326 of the Indian Constitution regulates elections to the Houses and State Legislative Assemblies on the basis of universal adult suffrage.
  4. The lower house gave it some thought on December 15, 1988, and approved it. On December 20, the Rajya Sabha approved the measure. More than half of the state legislatures had to support the bill, which was duly accomplished.
  5. On March 28, 1989, the law obtained presidential approval. As a result, the act went into force on March 28, 1989, and starting at the age of 18, any citizen who was otherwise eligible may take part in India’s democratic procedures.
  6. A proposal to decrease the voting age to 18 years old was presented to promote youth participation in the nation’s electoral process.

Reasons for Lowering the Voting Age:

The kids of today are educated and literate, and decreasing the age would provide the country’s underrepresented youth a chance to express their emotions and become involved in the democratic process. The kids of today are largely politically aware. Therefore, it is suggested that the age be lowered from 21 to 18 years.

Conclusion:

The voting age has been reduced from 21 years to 18 years under the 61st Constitutional Amendment Act, 1988 by the Government of India to fulfill the long-standing demand of the people. The result of this amendment was that in the 10th general election held in 1989, about 35.7 million (35 million) voters in the age group of 18 to 21 years took part in voting for the first time.

However, despite all this, encouraging results have not been achieved in the last two decades. Enrollment of names in the electoral rolls by eligible young voters has been very slow. Not only this, but in some cases, this speed has been only 20 to 25 percent. It is important to note that enrollment in the voter list is not mandatory but a voluntary activity, that is why the Election Commission can only make people aware of voting, not compelled.
 

Related Frequently Asked Questions and Solutions:

Question 1: Why do most democracies have representatives?
Answer:

Because not everyone has the time or the expertise to make choices on every issue, most democracies allow people to rule through their representatives.

Question 2: What is an election?
Answer:

It is a system that allows people to elect representatives on a regular basis and replace them if they so want.

Question 3: What is a Constituency?
Answer:

India is a constitutional democracy with a parliamentary system of governance, and a commitment to holding regular, free, and fair elections at the heart of this system. 
The country is divided into 543 parliamentary constituencies, each of which elects one MP to the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha. The size and appearance of parliamentary constituencies are determined by an independent Delimitation Commission whose objective is to create constituencies that have a broadly uniform population subject to geographical considerations and boundaries of states and administrative regions.
 

Question 4: What is the 61st Amendment Act 1988?
Answer:

The voting age for elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies was lowered from 21 to 18 years old by the 61st Amendment Act of the Indian Constitution in 1988. The Lok Sabha debated the bill on December 14 and 15, 1988, passing it on December 15 after making an appropriate modification to replace the word “Sixty-second” in Clause 1 with “Sixty-first.” The Rajya Sabha considered the bill on December 16, 19, and 20, 1988, and on December 20, 1988, it adopted the Lok Sabha’s amendment.

Question 5: State the Reason for lowering the age from 21 to 18?
Answer:

The kids of today are educated and literate, and decreasing the age would provide the country’s underrepresented youth a chance to express their emotions and become involved in the democratic process. The kids of today are largely politically aware. Therefore, it is suggested that the age be lowered from 21 to 18 years.

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