Direct Democracy and Indirect Democracy
From the point of view of formation of government, democracy is of two kinds:
(i) Pure or direct democracy.
(ii) Representative or indirect democracy.
i. Direct Democracy:
In direct democracy all adult population, remaining present in the form of assembly, takes part in decision-making and exercise of power. It does not delegate its powers to any other person or representatives. Ancient Greek city-states had direct democracy. In modern times, only some cantons of Switzerland have such direct popular assembly, known as Landsgemiende.
Still some devices of direct democracy are available:
(1) Referendum, meaning referring some important issue, policy or decision to the people, such as, amendment of the constitution. Rendering opinion by the people can be (i) compulsory, or (ii) voluntary.
(2) Initiative implying that the people or a certain portion of the citizenry can take initiative to get certain law of its choice passed. They can send the proposal to the legislature which may enact it on usual lines.
(3) Recall. By this device, the people of a constituency, by their majority can ask the legislature to send back their representative, and, thus, cancel his membership. Many states of the United States empower their people to do so.
(4) Plebiscite indicates that the people are directly consulted on questions of political importance.
In 1935, the people of Saar were asked to express their opinion whether they wanted to remain in Germany or not. The people of Junagarh (Saurashtra-Gujarat) were asked to give opinion whether they wanted to remain in India or in Pakistan.
ii. Indirect Democracy:
It is also called representative democracy. In this form of democracy, people instead of directly taking any part in government, do so by and through their elected representatives. Crores of people of a country cannot assemble at one place and discuss matters and make law. Now all adults elect their representatives at regular intervals. Indirect democracy too has many forms: (i) Parliamentary or Cabinet Form; (ii) Presidential Form; (iii) Unitary Form, and (iv) Federal Form. There are many mixed forms of indirect democracy.