NCERT Class 9 Political Science Chapter 1 Notes: What is Democracy? Why Democracy? (Download Free PDF)

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NCERT Class 9 Political Science Chapter 1 Notes

In NCERT Class 9 Political Science Chapter 1 Notes, you will come across detailed study material on the lesson “What is Democracy? Why Democracy?”. When you will browse through the notes, you will realise that we have covered all the essential topics important to school education and government exam aspirants. To evaluate the quality of the notes, you must go through the study material minutely. Let’s begin!!

Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5

Introduction to NCERT Class 9 Political Science Chapter 1 Notes What is Democracy? Why Democracy?

This chapter aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of democracy by breaking down its key features step by step. By dissecting the fundamental components of democracy, readers will be equipped to distinguish it from non-democratic forms of government. Additionally, the chapter explains the reasons behind democracy’s prevalence and explores its perceived advantages over other forms of governance.

Also Read: Essay on Democracy in 100, 300 and 500 Words

NCERT Class 9 Political Science Chapter 1 Notes: What is Democracy?

Democracy is a form of government where people choose their leaders through voting. It is based on the idea that everyone’s voice matters. In a democracy, people have rights like freedom of speech and assembly. Leaders are accountable to the citizens, and decisions are made for the benefit of the majority while respecting the rights of minorities.

Common Features of Democratic Governments

Here are the common features of democratic governments:

1. Election of Rulers: In democratic governments, rulers are elected by the people through a fair and transparent electoral process.

2. Popular Sovereignty: Democratic governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed, emphasising the principle of “government by the people.”

3. Civil Liberties and Rights: Protection and respect for individual freedoms and rights, such as freedom of speech, assembly, and religion, are essential in democratic systems.

4. Rule of Law: Democratic governments operate within a framework of laws that are applied equally to all citizens, including those in power.

5. Separation of Powers: Democratic systems often feature a division of powers among different branches of government, such as the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, to prevent concentration of power.

6. Accountability and Transparency: Elected officials are accountable to the electorate and are expected to conduct their duties transparently, with mechanisms in place for oversight and accountability.

7. Pluralism and Participation: Democratic governments encourage political participation from diverse groups within society and promote pluralism in decision-making processes.

Common Features of Non-Democratic Governments

Here are the common features of non-democractic governments: 

1. Lack of Free Elections: Rulers in non-democratic governments often come to power through means other than free and fair elections, such as inheritance, military coups, or rigged elections.

2. Authoritarianism: Non-democratic governments tend to be characterised by centralised authority and limited political freedoms, with power concentrated in the hands of a single leader or a small elite.

3. Suppression of Dissent: Opposition parties, independent media, and civil society organisations may face repression or censorship in non-democratic systems, limiting political dissent and free expression.

4. Limited Civil Liberties: Citizens in non-democratic governments may have restricted rights and freedoms, with limited opportunities for political participation and expression.

5. Absence of Rule of Law: Non-democratic governments may operate without a clear legal framework or with laws that are selectively applied to suppress dissent and maintain control.

6. Lack of Accountability: Rulers in non-democratic systems often face little to no accountability to the population, with limited mechanisms for oversight or checks on their power.

7. Centralised Decision-Making: Non-democratic governments may lack mechanisms for inclusive decision-making, with power concentrated in the hands of a few individuals or institutions.

Why Define Democracy?

We need to define democracy because of the following reasons:

  • Definitions provide clarity and precision in understanding concepts, especially in contexts where different interpretations exist.
  • Defining democracy helps distinguish genuine democratic governments from those that merely claim to be democratic.
  • Engaging in the process of defining democracy encourages critical thinking and deeper understanding of its principles and features.
  • Defining democracy facilitates the evaluation of governance systems, allowing for informed discussions about the strengths and weaknesses of different political arrangements.

Also Read: Essay on Indian Democracy in 100 and 200 Words

NCERT Class 9 Political Science Chapter 1 Notes: Features of Democracy

In this section of NCERT Class 9 Political Science Chapter 1 What is Democracy? Why Democracy? Notes, we will explore different features of a democracy.

Who are the rulers in a democracy?

Rulers in a democracy are elected officials chosen by the people through fair and transparent elections. Decisions made by non-elected officials may undermine the democratic process and governance.

What constitutes a democratic election?

A democratic election must fulfil certain conditions, including fairness, transparency, inclusivity, and free participation. Elections characterised by fraud, malpractices, or manipulation cannot be considered democratic.

Who can participate in elections in a democracy?

Every citizen should have an equal opportunity to participate in elections, both as voters and as candidates. Denying citizens their voting rights undermines the democratic principles of inclusivity and representation.

What kind of government is democracy?

Democracy is a form of government where power ultimately rests with the people, expressed through elected representatives. Elected rulers must operate within limits, respecting the rule of law, human rights, and the principles of accountability and transparency.

Features of a Democracy

Here are the key features of a democracy:

1. Major decisions by elected leaders:

The ability of elected representatives to make final decisions is crucial in distinguishing a democracy from other forms of government. Thus, a democracy requires that ultimate decision-making power rests with those elected by the people.

For example, in Pakistan under General Pervez Musharraf, despite holding elections, real power was concentrated in non-elected military officials.

2. Free and fair electoral competition:

A democracy must ensure that elections provide a genuine choice between political alternatives, allowing for the possibility of removing incumbent rulers.

Examples from China and Mexico highlight the importance of free and fair elections in democracy. In China, elections offer no real choice, as candidates must be approved by the ruling party. Whereas, in Mexico, although elections are held, the ruling party used unfair tactics to maintain power, limiting the effectiveness of electoral competition.

3. One person, one vote, one value:

In a democracy, each adult citizen should have equal voting rights, with each vote carrying equal value. Thus, ensuring equality in voting rights is essential for upholding democratic principles.

Instances of unequal voting rights in countries like Saudi Arabia, Estonia, and Fiji demonstrate violations of the principle of political equality.

4. Rule of law and respect for rights

An independent judiciary and protection of citizens’ rights are essential for ensuring accountability and preventing the abuse of power by elected officials. Thus, democratic governments operate within the limits set by constitutional law and respect citizens’ rights, including those of minorities. Also, a democratic government must respect fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, association, and protest.

For example, Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe illustrates how popular governments can be undemocratic if they undermine the rule of law and citizens’ rights.

Also Read: Know the Difference between Democracy and Dictatorship!

NCERT Class 9 Political Science Chapter 1 Notes: Pros and Cons of Democracy

Democracy is not perfect, but it offers advantages over other forms of government. It allows for better decision-making, responsiveness to citizens’ needs, and peaceful conflict resolution. Most importantly, democracy empowers citizens and allows for correcting mistakes. However, there are some disadvantages of a democracy. 

Arguments For Democracy

  • Democracy is better equipped to respond to the needs of the people compared to non-democratic governments.
  • Democratic decision-making involves consultation and discussion, leading to better-quality decisions.
  • Democracy provides a peaceful method to resolve conflicts and differences within society.
  • It increases the dignity of citizens by recognising their political equality and accountability.
  • Also, it allows for self-correction of mistakes through public discourse and electoral processes.

Arguments Against Democracy

  • Instability due to frequent leadership changes.
  • Perception of democracy as chaotic, corrupt, and hypocritical.
  • Delays in decision-making due to consultation with multiple stakeholders.
  • Elected leaders may not always make the best decisions, leading to bad outcomes.
  • Electoral competition in democracy can foster corruption.

Read more: What is Representative Democracy?

NCERT Class 9 Political Science Chapter 1 Notes: Broader Meanings of Democracy

Democracy encompasses more than just governmental structures, extending to decision-making methods, societal values, and citizens’ participation. Understanding democracy in its broader sense aids citizens in evaluating and striving towards better democracies. Thus, active citizenship is essential for the functioning and improvement of democratic systems.

Let us explore broader meanings of democracy: 

1. Democracy as a ‘decision making method’: Democracy is seen as a method of decision-making where consultation and consent of all affected parties are vital. This applies not only to governments but also to families, organisations, etc.

2. Democracy as an ‘ideal standard’:  Democracy can be used to set an ideal standard for all democracies to strive towards. For instance, ensuring no citizen goes hungry and providing equal opportunities for all to participate in decision-making.

3. Democracy as an ‘evaluation tool’:  Using democracy as an ideal helps in evaluating existing democracies and identifying shortcomings.

Scope for Improvement in a Democracy

Here are some ways in which democracies can improve:

  • Minimum democratic features are not enough for an ideal democracy. Thus, constant effort is needed to strengthen democratic decision-making.
  • Also, active participation by citizens is crucial (citizens, not just rulers, affect the country’s fate). This is what distinguishes democracy from other governments (citizenship and political participation are essential).
Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5
Chapter 1: What is Democracy? Why Democracy
Chapter 2: Constitutional Design
Chapter 3: Electoral Politics
Chapter 4: Working of Institutions
Chapter 5: Democratic Rights
Source: Sunlike Study


Q1. What is democracy Class 9 short notes?

Ans: Democracy is a form of government where people choose their leaders through voting. It is based on the idea that everyone’s voice matters. In a democracy, people have rights like freedom of speech and assembly. 

Q2. What is the first chapter of political science class 9?

Ans: ‘What is Democracy? Why Democracy?’ is the first chapter of NCERT Political Science Class 9 textbook.

Q3. Where can I get the best notes for Class 9?

Ans: You can access best notes for Class 9 at and download NCERT chapters from the official website of NCERT.

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