I am an Indian student in the US, and I have recently witnessed an election here. In California and Florida (I have seen a ballot for that state), the voters also vote on some key issues in addition to voting for representatives. From what I understand, there is a petition that people sign, and if there are enough people signing the petition, it goes to the court. If the court gives the green light, this petition appears on the ballot for people to vote on. If the vote is successful, the petition becomes a law (without the representatives doing anything). I feel that is a great method for a fair direct democracy.

I have never voted in India before due to my age, but I was wondering if India had something like that. It is similar to a referendum (which is illegal in India from my online research), but on smaller issues.

1 Answer 1


Actually India has held a few referendums. Some examples:

a referendum held in the state of Goa, India, on 16 January 1967, to decide the future of the Union Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu within the Indian Union. Although popularly called an opinion poll, it was in fact, a referendum, as the results of the poll were binding on the government of India.

a referendum held in Sylhet to decide whether Sylhet would remain in Assam and join the new country of India or would join the province of East Bengal and the new country of Pakistan. The referendum was decided in favor of joining Pakistan,1 however the Barak Valley remained in India.

The first answer from here (also found several more, but nothing from an authoritative source) suggests that the Indian Constitution does provision for/against referendums, so they are not illegal, but not binding either.

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