'via Blog this'
“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 49-L, 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 is only a provision for abstaining from voting or at the best negative voting. It does not provide for cancellation of polling if the 49-0 votes are more than the candidate’s majority or provide that the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them.
In fact in the PROPOSED ELECTORAL REFORMS by the Election Commission of India, which was forwarded to the Prime Minister of India on 05/07/2004, the following reform was proposed;
“7. NEGATIVE / NEUTRAL VOTING
The Commission has received proposals from a very large number of individuals and organizations 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 recommends 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).
(A petition by the People.s Union for Civil Liberties seeking such a provision filed at the time of the recent general elections is pending before the Hon’ble Supreme Court)”
This, combind with the right to recall as demanded with Team IAC, can indeed be a powerful lever on the political class of India. For there is only one thing that the politician is scared about: Loss of power, and the vote. This lever - if used legally and effectively - can indeed by a solution....