Author: Sagar Sarda (AURO University, Surat)

Even when India is reeling under the unprecedented health pandemic and its health infrastructure is deemed to be collapsed, India’s destiny is plagued by the squandering politics. Having the privilege of being the nation with the largest youth population, the world had perceived India the most efficient in crisis handling. However, the epithet of being ‘the largest’ brings with it the paradox of being ‘the most complex’. When youths of various national parties are providing exceptional services in these trying times, captioning headlines by each passing day, the nation is impelled to revisit Article 84(b) of the Constitution of India.


Article 84(b) of the Indian Constitution prescribes twenty five years and thirty years of age to be qualified as the member of the House of the People and the Council of States respectively. Being empowered by Article 84(c), the Parliament has enacted the Representation of People Act, 1951 which stipulates further qualifications for filling the seat in the Parliament. However, the analysis of data available on the official website of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha demonstrates that Article 84(b) has remained a dead letter to unleash its efficacy in the fullest potential.

The 17th Lok Sabha i.e. the Lower House of the Parliament has only four representatives, of the total 545, who are between the age of twenty five and thirty, which means that less than a percent of the Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Lok Sabha hails from the minimum allowed age group. Once can conveniently sideline the grim situation by asserting the diversity these four members possess by representing four different parties. However, this miniscule diversity can hardly reimburse the deprivation of the best young minds in the law making.

In addition to it, the perusal of statistics from the Rajya Sabha website also fails to highlight a pleasant scenario. Only thirteen of the total 252 members, constituting nearly 5%, command the basic minimum age criteria of thirty to forty five years of age. While most of the MPs in the Upper House of the Parliament belong to the age group of sixty six to seventy five years. By virtue of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, the concerning absence of modern & innovative mindset in the legislature can be imagined despite the presence of enormous experience.

Age –wise Categorization in the Parliament of India

25 to 35 years19
36 to 45 years7813
46 to 55 years14748
56 to 65 years16582
66 to 75  years11082
76 to 90 years1624
91 to 100 years02
TOTAL535 / 552 (17 vacant seats)231 / 245 (14 vacant seats)

(Source :- Classified the data of the 17th Lok Sabha term, available on the official website of the Lok Sabha & the Rajya Sabha)


On May 18, 1949, the Father of the Indian Constitution moved the resolution to insert a new article after Article 68 in the form of Article 68 – A, which is the present day Article 84. Dr. Ambedkar intended to keep the qualifying age of a Rajya Sabha MP thirty-five years, just to invite objections from other draftsmen of the Constitution.

While Dr. Ambedkar confessed that the general rule contemplates the same qualifications for the voters and candidates who seek to contest elections, he deliberately took a slight transformation, in order that the best of people who have “some higher qualifications and certain amount of knowledge & practical experience in the affair of the world” serve the Legislature. To this, Shrimati Durgabai rebutted his contentions on the ground that “wisdom does not depend on age”. She was of the firm opinion that the educational curriculum is broad enough to make the boys and girls precocious in respect of their civil rights and duties. Therefore, she demanded the qualifying age of the members of the Upper House to be reduced from thirty five to thirty.

On one side she cited the illustration of the then Prime Minister –  Jawaharlal Nehru who became the President of the Congress when he was less than forty years of age, Shri H.V. Kamath supplemented her contentions with the example of Pitt who entered the Parliament at the age of 21 and rose through the ranks to become the Prime Minister of England at the young age of twenty four.

Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena went further to cite the glorious paragon of Shankaracharya and Alexander who died at the age of thirty two years after becoming “world teacher” and “world conqueror” respectively. Mr. Tajamul Husain considered Rama, Krishna and Buddha as the instances of attainment of enlightenment at a young age. Without any intention to influence the votes during the passage of resolution, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the then Hon’ble President, along with Shri TT Krishnamachari, opined that legislations are interpreted by the highly qualified judges; therefore it would be “nonsensical” that a person with no qualifications or lesser qualifications enact that law.

The amendment to lower the age limit of the members of the Council of States from thirty five to thirty was ultimately adopted.


It is considerable to note that the literacy rate, as per the 2011 census, demonstrates an age specific trend. As the age category advances, the literacy rate plummets. The literacy rate for the age group of twenty five to twenty nine was 77.7% which decreased to 57.6% in the category of people belonging to fifty to fifty four years . Therefore, if literacy is the parameter of calculating wisdom for deciding qualifying age for legislatures, India needs to follow the international suit.

The Asian countries like Indonesia & Singapore prescribe twenty one years as the qualifying age for the lower house, and Malaysia amended to lower the age to eighteen years in 2019. Similarly, the European countries like Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom permits a person of eighteen years’ old to be a candidate to contest elections.

Witnessing the tireless, coupled with innovative, efforts of the youths at the times of global health crisis, it is time for the youths to attempt to turn the dead letter of Article 84(b) into a red letter to place Indian on the panacea of resilient progress.