The situation becomes still more confusing when the difference in votes ‘secured by the successful and defeated candidates is almost negligible. Let us assume that from a particular constituency, two candidates, A and B, seek election. Let us, again, suppose that out of a total of 4,000 voters in that constituency 2,005 votes are cast in favour of A and 1,995 votes are cast in favour of B. Since A has secured the majority of votes, he is declared elected. It means that 2,005 voters only find representation and the remaining 1,995 voters remain unrepresented.
The minority stands in danger of being disfranchised. Such a system of representation, where mere majority election exists, cannot be the real basis of democracy. A democracy is a government of the people and the people constitute the whole mass of the people in a State. It is an essential principle of democracy that it must not deny to a considerable portion of people participation in the conduct of their political affairs. Democracy, if it can claim to be the government of the people, must be representative of all classes of opinion. Law, in order to be the manifestation of the will of the people, should be supported and approved by the representatives of the large majority of electors. But when minorities are not adequately represented and they have not the opportunity to express their opinion, laws made by a legislature cannot be said to have the widest consent of the people.
In a country where large groups of people feel that their will does not find expression in the making of the laws, which they are called upon to obey, such laws cannot command a deferential and effective obedience. The unrepresented minorities fret and fume and ultimately they are compelled to revolt against the tyranny of majority rule as political malcontents of today are the revolutionaries of tomorrow. “In a really equal democracy,” says John Stuart Mill, “every and any section would be represented, not disproportionately, but proportionately. A majority of the electors would always have a majority of the representatives; but a minority of the electors would always have a minority of representatives. Man for man they would be as fully represented as the majority. Unless they are, there is not equal government, but a government of inequality and privilege; one part of the people rules over the rest, there is a part whose fair and equal share of influence in the representation is withheld from them, contrary to all just government, but above all, contrary to the principle of democracy, which professes equality as its very root and foundation.
” Adequate representation of minorities, therefore, is the most important question which confronts representative democracy. Minorities may be of many kinds — political, national, racial, linguistic or communal. It is unfortunate to have so many minorities and particularly those divided on racial, linguistic and religious grounds. Political minorities are the product of representative government. But the problem of minority representation is not so insoluble when the people are divided on political ideologies. It is all a question of giving to the minority’s adequate representation. When minorities differ from the majority in race, religion and language, and every minority desires to have a distinct expression of its separate individuality in order to safeguard its religious, cultural and social institutions, it is, then, that the problem of minority representation assumes a vicious complexion.
But this is not really the question of representation of minorities. It is a plea for appeasing such minorities and it is in this aspect that the problem becomes insoluble. India is the only unfortunate country where people are divided both horizontally and vertically and communalism has always been the bane of her politics.
In other countries people are essentially divided on their political or economic issues. All schemes of minority representation in these countries aim at adequate representation of the political minorities. It is this aspect of minority representation which has received universal support, especially at the hands of John Stuart Mill, Lecky, and others. Lecky declared, “The importance of providing some representation for minorities is extremely great. When two-thirds of a constituency vote for one party and one-third for the other, it is obviously just that the majority should have two-thirds and the minority one-third of the representation.” Mill admitted that in a democracy the majority must rule, but he insisted that the minority should be represented in proportion to its number. He emphasised that there could be no real democracy, but a false show if all minorities were not represented proportionately.
If every or any section was disproportionately represented, there would be no equal government, but a government of inequality and privilege.