Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Rule 49(0) - Election Rules

I found this information about the election rules, this one is very important to us voters and there is a provision to make a difference in Indian politics.

Disclaimer : I have not written this information, I am merely copying the contents which, I got on my mail (I have not verified for the authenticity of the article).

Among the reasons for poor voter turnout in the cities, particularly of the middle and upper classes, is the complaint that they have no real
choice considering the poor quality of candidates and the poor public
image of the parties these candidates represent. Secondly, many citizens
believe that their votes are not really going to make a difference.

Since in the ensuing elections there is no provision for indicating
rejection of candidates on the ballot, except by invalidating the vote
by ambiguous voting - that is, putting the stamp on the line separating
one candidate's name from another -- the Indian Liberal Group recommends
a solution that already exists in the Conduct of Election Rules 1961.
This not only gives reluctant voters a reasonable choice, but also
ensures that their vote does make a difference.

Rule No. 49(O) in the Conduct of Election Rules 1961 says:

"Elector deciding not to vote - If an elector, after his electoral roll
number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form 17 A and
has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under
(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. "

Explanation: In other words, a voter can go to the polling station and
tell the presiding officer that he/she does not wish to cast her/his
vote. The presiding officer will make a remark that the voter does not
wish to vote and take the voter's signature against his/her name in the
register of voters (Form 17A). At the end of the day, the presiding
officer will, in totalling the number of votes cast, also include the
number of electors who refused to cast their vote. By doing so, voters
make it clear to all political parties that they are not satisfied with
the kind of candidates put up by them. Though they have done their duty
as citizens by going to the polling station, they have not found anyone
on the ballot paper who deserves their vote. This is the Protest Vote.

If large numbers of citizens exercise their franchise in this manner,
political parties will be forced to be far more careful in ensuring they
do not nominate crooks and criminals or incompetents as their candidates
next time round. This in turn will see the emergence of honest and
committed candidates getting into Parliament and state legislatures in
the long run, thus leading the way to good governance. After the present
elections have concluded, the Indian Liberal Group will press for the
Protest Vote facility on electronic voting machines the next time round,
so that voters have the option to say "None of the Above" after
scrutinizing the candidates on the ballot.

The other factor thats involved with this 49(0) section is a scary
section for the political parties.

Here's an example. Say there's a candidate standing in City A.

And say out of 100 people only 40 people turn to vote and out of that
the Candidate recieves 30 votes. Then by rule, he's been declared as
But say, if out of the 100 people 70 turn to vote. and 30 people vote
for the candidate and the other 40 people use section 49(0), to say i am
not interested in anyof the candidate. Then if, the candidates
vote(which the vote he got ie., 30) is less than the vote against him
(under section 49(0) - which is 40), then by rule he would not be elected as winner and in turn he would not be able to participate in anymore further elections.
And the election for CITY A will be re-held with fresh candidates. Now
that sounds great handle for people!!

And i hope that's why many people dont know about section 49(0) and the
politicians and the goverment still tries to keep it a hidden secret.
But how long? That depends on you'r hands now. .