Dissent and Democracy : How dissent supports a strong and healthy democracy

In the year 2012, the police of Tamil Nadu arrested a number of individuals who were participating in a peaceful demonstration against the decision of the administration of the state to construct a nuclear power station in Kudankulam. Having said that, this is merely one of many more examples like it. 

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In India, the subject of violating the fundamental rights of the people has been brought up in connection with a number of other occurrences, some of which occurred relatively recently. The police arrested several activists for no other reason than the fact that they held views that were contrary to those of the administration. The expression of such views of view was ultimately the tipping point that led to the arrests being carried out. Because of this, the vast majority of the populace began to question whether or not they actually reside in a democratic nation. 

Definition of the term “dissent”

When one person or a group of people hold a view that is fundamentally different from the one that is generally held, this is what is meant by the phrase “dissent.” To put it more simply, there are two opposing points of view. For instance, in contrast to many other people, you do not desire to get an expensive mobile phone since you consider them to be a waste of money. You are taking the opposite stance from the opinion held by the majority here. It is essential to have the understanding that disagreement is a characteristic of personality that may be found in all persons.

 In a broad sense, there is simply nothing wrong with the idea that you would like to have a different point of view. In addition to a number of other benefits, it encourages analytical thinking and strengthens one’s critical thinking abilities.

Dissent has been given constitutional standing in India

The preceding paragraph’s example provides a good illustration of what it means to have the right to voice one’s disagreement with anything. The freedom to disagree is synonymous with the privilege to dissent. It falls under the jurisdiction of Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution, which may be found in Part-III (Fundamental Rights) of the document. 

The right to freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed to all people by the first clause of the article, which is designated as clause (1)a. They have the right to congregate without resorting to violence and without carrying any weapons thanks to clause b. Citizens are guaranteed the freedom to form unions or groups thanks to clause c of the provision. Their ability to voice their divergent opinions is made possible by the combination of these three distinct rights.

The use of this right is, however, subject to the clause (2) of the article, which places reasonable constraints on this exercise. The government may pass laws that prohibit such exercise out of concern for the country’s sovereignty and integrity, its security, its relations with other nations, public order, decency, morality, or contempt of court, as well as defamation or inciting illegal activity. As a result, the inhabitants have the freedom to speak and express themselves in any manner they see fit. People are free to express their agreement or disagreement with anything in an open and honest manner. However, this is not the case as long as the individuals in question do not act in a manner that is contrary to any law or official policy of the government, nor do they engage in behaviour that could lead to disorderly public disorder.

It is important to keep in mind that the right to dissent is a basic right, and as such, it can only be enforced against the state or any other authority that falls under the definition of ‘State’ in Article 12 of the Constitution. In this context, the freedom to dissent refers to the ability to express one’s disagreement openly with the bodies mentioned above.

Democracy as well as the right to disagree with the majority

It is common knowledge that democracy refers to a system of government in which decisions are made by polling average citizens. Their decision is what ultimately determines which government will be in charge. As a result, the people have the ability to hold the government accountable. It is necessary for it to strive towards the prosperity of the nation and the people in it. 

In order for the government to accomplish the same goal, it is necessary for them to take into account the public’s viewpoint. The reason for this is because the general population has the best understanding of how they would like any administration to govern them. To create an effective method of governance, the government must also make use of the knowledge and experience of the suitable citizens. This characteristic is what distinguishes democracy from other political systems because it is directly related to a public duty.


Since we are now aware of what a democracy is, it is easy to understand why the freedom to dissent is so important to the successful operation of a democratic government. It is vital for the people to provide open criticism of or input on decisions and initiatives taken by the government. This is also the reason why the Indian Constitution recognises dissent as a fundamental right in an indirect manner. Aside from that, dissent results in the formation of different perspectives about the same issue, which then leads to the development of a number of novel approaches to resolving it.

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