Strengthen Rule 49-0 sign now

RULE 49-O is a Rule in the The Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, which governs elections in India. It covers the procedures to be followed when a valid voter decides not to cast his vote, and decides to record this fact. Recording one's vote under Rule 49-O is a choice that voters can exercise to prevent electoral fraud, and misuse of their vote.

Text of the Rule 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.

IN RELATION TO ABOVE WE HAVE TWO PETITIONS

FIRST
We here by petition that the then Chief Election Commissioner of India, T S Krishnamurthyвs, suggestions in his letter of 2004 to the Prime Minister be enacted as the law / rules without waiting for the pending court verdicts if any.

That there should be a provision enabling a voter to reject all the candidates in the constituency if he does not find them suitable. In the voting using the conventional ballot paper and ballot boxes, an elector can drop the ballot paper without marking his vote against any of the candidates, if he chooses so. However, in the voting using the Electronic Voting Machines, such a facility is not available to the voter. Although, Rule 49 O of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 provides that an elector may refuse to vote after he has been identified and necessary entries made in the Register of Electors and the marked copy of the electoral roll, the secrecy of voting is not protected here inasmuch as the polling officials and the polling agents in the polling station get to know about the decision of such a voter.

The Commission recommended that the law should be amended to specifically provide for negative / neutral voting. For this purpose, Rules 22 and 49B of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 may be suitably amended adding a proviso that in the ballot paper and the particulars on the ballot unit, in the column relating to names of candidates, after the entry relating to the last candidate, there shall be a column None of the above, to enable a voter to reject all the candidates, if he chooses so. Such a proposal was earlier made by the Commission in 2001 (vide letter dated 10.12.2001).
The total number of вNone of the Aboveв votes be also published with the final poll results.

SECOND
This will be more difficult but lets ask for it and test the will of our politicians.
To ensure that only worthy candidates are fielded the political parties .
A new provision / addition to the existing rule be made to ensure that :-
In case "None of the above" votes exceed the winning margin by say 20\% then that polling be canceled 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.

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Bob NorrisBy:
City LifeIn:
Petition target:
Indian Parliement

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