Deliberative Theory of Democracy
Democracy is Deliberative in its scope. It emphasizes on the form of democracy that emphasizes the need for deliberation, discourse and debate that defines the public interest. Deliberation and participation are two critical aspects of democracy. Deliberative democracy and participation are usually strong in the grassroots level. India’s Panchayati Raj institutions are usually strong in this process. Grass roots democracy features Panchayati Raj Institutions and civil societies that strengthen the functioning of the government. James Miller defines that deliberative democracy is built on the system of deliberation that features that decisions are reflective of the discussion among the participants. It features the willingness of the people to listen to the views and consider the interests of the others modifying their own opinions accordingly. Public interest and public opinion are the key components of the deliberative democracy. It emphasizes on the consensus built upon the acceptance from the masses rather than the influential individuals.
Deliberative democracy is usually based on a rights-based approach of the current model of the development discourse. It provides for resolution of the scope for conflicts of interest with the democratic institutional mechanism balancing the benefits of the competing groups.
Deliberative democracy is different from other forms of democracy by maintaining a person is rational enough to set aside particular interest and opinion to aspire for fairness and common interests of the collective and deliberation was based on equality, equity, and public goods. It values the decisions arrived after open discussion that heard all the points of view the most. Deliberative democracy is ‘discursive’ in scope. It is a type of democracy in which deliberation is central to decision making. Deliberative democracy differs from traditional democratic theory in authentic deliberation, not merely confined to voting. It is the primary source of legitimacy for the law making processes.
Deliberative democracy is harmonious with both representative democracy and direct democracy. Rawls and Habermas famous theorists of justice and public opinion have observed that political choice, to be legitimate, must be the outcome of deliberation about ends among free, equal, and rational agents. Deliberative democracy recognises “the full and equal membership of all in the sovereign body responsible for authorizing the exercise of that power, and establishes the common reason and will of that body”.