Civil society plays an important role in building and maintaining the democracy. Civil society movements can significantly influences the government policies as well as social attitude. It must perform some roles to maintain and strengthen the democracy. They are :
- To empower citizens :- Civil society empowers the citizens about their rights and duties and the necessity of them. It also encourages the traditionally excluded groups such as women, dalits and minorities to utilize their rights and the access to power.
- To keep state power in check :- Civil society checks the political abuses and violations of law. An empowered civil society will be able to held the state accountable in case of abuse of political power.
- To mitigate political conflicts :- Conflicts are not very uncommon in the democratic institutions constituting wide range of interests. A well established civil society mitigates the main differences and will help state in ensuring that the best interests are addressed.
- To promote the democratic attributes :- Civil society promotes the democratic attributes amongst its citizens such as tolerance, willingness to compromise and respect for the conflicting views.
- To provide opportunities for political parties :- It allows political parties and other organizations to represent their interests. This improves the quality of democracy.
- To support political & economic reforms :- Without the support of public and the legislature, political and economic reforms cannot succeed. Civil society performs this role and paves way for reforms.
- To train new political leaders :- If the state fails to represent the society's best interests and if its interests are narrow and stagnant, civil society helps in identifying and training the new political leaders to revitalize their government.
- Election monitoring :- In many states, non-partisan volunteer organisations monitored elections to check the legitimacy of the process and the result. This enhances public trust in the government.
By doing its duties, civil society can represent citizen interests while forming policies and can make their society more democratic. However, state should give fundamental liberties to its citizens, because civil society can function well in the democratic institutions rather than in dictatorial countries.