The Four Pillars of Democracy: Notes 

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The Four Pillars of Democracy

Pillars are an essential part of any structure as they help in upholding the structure. Moreover, for any architectural or political structure to spread and grow, its pillars must have the strength to uphold its values and work responsibilities. Hence, Democracy is a foundation for modern politics that upholds liberalism, secularism and many more concepts that help the world exercise free will. However, there needs to be something to keep a check on the well-being of such a wonderful foundation. Thus, the Four Pillars of Democracy provide strength, balance and longevity to guarantee that the democratic machinery operates smoothly within the society. 

Also Read: What is Patriotism?

What are the Four Pillars of Democracy?

Many countries consider only three pillars of democracy but in India, we have four pillars of democracy which are the Legislature, the Executive, the Judiciary and the Media. Additionally, these pillars maintain democratic principles and ensure the smooth functioning of government. Let’s explore these four pillars one by one. 

The Legislature

  • India has a bicameral legislature comprising of two houses; the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha is the House of People and Rajya Sabha is the Council of States. 
  • The legislation is formed by Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies.
    • The people elect all these members and hence are under direct review of their subjects.
    • They make new laws and amend the existing ones as per the need. 
  • In addition, the Indian constitution favours the formation of public policies and hence has provisions for a federal government structure.  

The Executive

  • The President leads the Executive at the national level whereas, Governors are appointed for State-level governance of the same. 
  • The Prime Minister and Chief Ministers exercise the real power of the Executive at the National and State Levels. 
  • The responsibility that befalls an Executive is to implement the laws and policies introduced by the Legislature. 
  • Moreover, different ministers and department heads oversee the various areas of governance including finance, dependence, home ministry, etc.
  • The Legislature holds the right to accountability for the Executive, whose works are debated and discussed thoroughly in the parliamentary sessions. 

The Judiciary 

  • This is the independent arm of the Pillars of Democracy but we keep it in check by the Executive and Media. 
  • The Judiciary interprets and upholds the provisions mentioned in the Indian Constitution to deliver verdicts on issues and cases.
    • Furthermore, it keeps the powers of the Executive and Legislature in check. 
  • Out of all courts, the Supreme Court of India is considered an Apex court. There are also High Courts and lower District courts in each State and Union territory. 
  • These courts protect the Fundamental Rights of the people, resolve disputes and provide a mechanism for justice. 

The Media

  • Media includes print, electronic, and digital platforms which play a vital role in maintaining Indian democracy.
  • In addition, the designation of the Media is as the “Fourth Pillar” or the watchdog of Democracy.
  • Media organisations are responsible for providing information, news and analysis on various matters.
    • Hence, this allows citizens to stay updated about the actions of the government, the policies they make as well as social issues prevalent in our society.
  • Furthermore, the Media also checks the extent of the Government’s power.
    • This is by investigating and reporting societal evils like corruption, human rights violations, etc.
Media: The Fourth Pillar of Democracy
Media: The Fourth Pillar of Democracy. Source: Legal Services India

Why is There a Need for Pillars of Democracy?

All the Pillars of Democracy are interrelated and equally necessary for the efficient functioning of our democratic structure. Here are some Achievements of having Four Democratic Pillars:

  • Keeps the power of each arm of the Government in check. 
  • Distributes the power to ensure that there is no tyranny. 
  • Safeguards citizen’s rights by making each Pillar a protector of these. 
  • Provides a balance of interest between the Functions of the Government. 
  • Guarantees transparency and accountability through public participation. 
  • Moreover, they also maintain stability and order. 

Also Read: Devolution of Powers and Finances up to Local Levels

What are the Effects of the Four Pillars of Democracy?

In addition, the effects of the Four Pillars of Democracy are as follows:

  • Rule of Law: This guarantees that everyone, regardless of background, is subject to the same laws. Hence, this promotes stability, predictability, and a sense of fairness.
  • Free and Fair Elections: This allows citizens to choose their representatives and hold them accountable. Additionally, this promotes political participation and responsiveness to the people’s will.
  • Protection of Human Rights: This protects personal liberties like freedom of speech, religion, and assembly. Moreover, it empowers citizens and encourages a climate of tolerance and respect for diverse perspectives.
  • Separation of Powers: This distributes power among different branches of government (legislative, executive, judiciary) to prevent any one group from becoming too powerful. Thus, this creates checks and balances, hence preventing abuse of power and corruption.

Therefore, quite literally India’s independence is a result of the strength and balance we gain from these Four Pillars of Democracy.

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Lastly, we hope you liked our blog and gained an understanding of the Four Pillars of Democracy. Moreover, you may even read more blogs and empower yourself with knowledge regarding Civics and Polity! 

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