Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Friday said that we must reject the elite understanding of the democratic process that only the educated are better decision-makers, and stressed the role played by the Universal Adult Franchise as an agent of change in the electoral democracy, ANI reported.

“The elite perceptions that only educated or few individuals should have the right to vote shows contempt and distrust towards democracy,” he said.

Chandrachud was speaking at the 8th Dr LM Singhvi Memorial Lecture on Universal Adult Franchise: Translating India’s Political Transformation into Social Transformation.

He also said that since independence, there have been many instances in which individuals have used their right to vote beyond electing candidates and have formed pressure groups to influence prospective leaders.

The chief justice added that this was a true reflection of participative democracy. He also said that electoral democracy has been an agent of pervasive change at the village and municipal levels.

“The reservation of seats for women and marginalised social groups in panchayats has given them the power to shape their own destinies,” Chandrachud said. “There are numerous examples of exemplary work done by women sarpanchs or all-women panchayats in different parts of India.”

He also said that we must underscore the participation of those communities, in the electoral process, who initially did have the right before the Constitution was formed.

“Post-independence history tells us that the marginalised communities such as Dalits have considered the right to vote and the idea of universal adult franchise as the sacrosanct feature of the Indian Constitution,” he said.

The Constitution of India is a feminist and egalitarian document that broke from the colonial era, Chandrachud said.