Thursday, January 04, 2007

India and 49-O NO VOTE

One day morning I get an email forward in my group mailing list . It did take me by surprise . Read the email

Did you know that there is a system in our constitution, as per the 1969 act, in section "49-O" that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he doesn't want to vote anyone!

Yes such a feature is available, but obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it. This is called "49-O".

Why should you go and say "I VOTE NOBODY"... because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received "49-O" votes more than 123, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the Candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them.

This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way, of our whole political system... it is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public....

Please spread this news to as many as you know... Seems to be a wonderful weapon against corrupt parties in India... show your power, expressing your desire not to vote for anybody, is ven more powerful than voting... so don't miss your chance.

So either vote, or vote not to vote (vote 49-O) and pass this information. ..

"Please forward this to as many as possible, so that we, the people of India , can really use this power to save our nation" use your voting right for a better INDIA .

Well that did shook me up , is that true is there such a provision truly available , knowing some of our politicians I wouldn't put it past them but not all apples are rotten we have some gem of politicians . Also why is Indian press silent the hallmark of democracy free speech take 50 + years to find this . Of course pre - internet era would have taken days to figure out if this is true and a visit to library but thaks to Right to Information Act and Digitalisation of archives . I have some news .The story above is well half true .

First I found the electoral hand book online , I could not find any references here . I noticed that this was a 1998 edition .
I dug up somemore and found the 2006 edition of the Handbook

I found what I was looking for ..

I attach the following section from 47.1

47.1. If an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the Register of Voters (Form 17A) and he has put his signature/thumb impression
on that register, decides not to record his vote, he shall not be forced or
compelled to record his vote. A remark to the effect that he has decided not to
record his vote – “Refused to Vote” - shall be made in the remarks column
against the entry relating to him in the Register of Voters by the Presiding
Officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained
against such remark under rule 49-O. It shall not be necessary to make any
change in the serial number of the elector or of any succeeding elector, in
column 1 of the Register of voters.

The relevant section 49-O is taken from THE CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS RULES, 1961

49-O. Elector deciding not to vote.-If an elector, after his
electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters
in Form-17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as
required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his
vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in
Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb
impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark.

This part is indeed true . Now the rest of the piece where the election is declared invalid and The candidates rejected has no basis and I cant seem to find such a reference anywhere

This also seems a bit illogical consider a polling constituency with Votebase of 20,000

Let us say the results are like this

Candidate A- 7000
Candidate B – 6999
Candidate C - 2000
NO VOTE ( unders section 49-O) – 2
People who did not come to vote – 3999

Total = 20,000

In this case as per Rule above the election should be invalid ,By just 2 people deciding to excericse the said option.The whole election is declared invalid and candiates A , B , C are rejected is nonsense . On what basis is A , B and C rejected .
Now the idea might arouse some legitamacy in a situation where the polling percentage is high for NO VOTE situation say a scenario where

Candidate A- 100
Candidate B – 99
Candidate C - 51
NO VOTE ( unders section 49-O) – 15000
People who did not come to vote – 4750
Total = 20,000

Interestingly Also As per rule let us say A and B had 7000 votes each leading to a tie as per rule the inner is decided by a lot .There is still a winner and clearly a result

See 32


If two or more candidates contesting for any seat happen to secure the
highest number of votes and their votes are equal in number, the result will
be decided by lot.

I now assume this was a well concieved hoax at best ,but albiet a thought provoking one . I hope this was informative . Comments are higly welcome


Aarti Kamath said...

I liked this a lot :) :) .. research was quite worth enough

ഞാന്‍ said...

surprising to see just one comment here.....

a good have done a good, patient research on the topic.... but is not shown up in google search among the first results.... unless you add a +hoax with the search query....

cheers... keep up the good work...

Phantasma said...

Um, I think you've misunderstood the part about the cancellation of the election due to the effect of No-votes under 49-O.
Essentially, the idea is that if a particular winning candidate has secured 'X' votes in a constituency, but that more people ('X + n' people) have registered a no-vote under Rule 49-O, then the effect will be that the election is declared invalid, etc. The same does not happen in the first scenario that you put forward, where only 2 people registered a no-vote under 49-O, because the number of votes for the winning candidate exceeds the number of no-voters. Hence candidate A in that scenario would win fair and square.
In a situation where more people have chosen not to vote for anyone at all (instead of voting for one of the candidates) than have chosen to vote for the supposed winner, the legitimacy of his win can and should be called into question. That is the effect of Rule 49-O.
I hope this cleared up the issue.

Abhilash said...

No Phantasma, Even in the case you describe there is a winner , please read the electoral hand book