Here is the fake email that has been doing rounds and providing incorrect information about Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Election Rules
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
The Truth about 49-O:
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 Infers that in no case will there be a re polling in the said constituency, however the negative/neutral vote is registered and counted so as to cross check on the total number of votes polled. VoteIndia.in encourages Voters to cast a protest vote incase they feel there is no right candidate to vote for.
Here is what the Election Commission has to say on 49-O:
Option of not voting for any candidate- Rule 49-O of Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, provides that if an elector goes to the polling station and after going through the legal formalities of his/her identification, application of indelible ink on the finger and affixing of signature in the register of voters (Form 17A), decides not to vote, the elector has to inform the Presiding Officer/polling officer about the decision not to vote, and the latter will then record a remark to that effect against the entry relating to that election in the register of voters and take the signature/thumb impression of the elector concerned against that remark. The voter can then leave the polling station without voting for any candidate.
“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, decides 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 those cases where electors exercise the option of not voting under Rule 49-O, they would only be deemed to have not voted for any candidate and their votes would be invalid under the law. The candidate who secures the highest number of valid votes polled, irrespective of the percentage of votes polled by him/her, is declared elected. However, the number of electors who exercise the option under Rule 49-O is reflected in the account of votes recorded (Form 17C) which is prepared by the Presiding Officer for each polling station at the end of the poll.
The procedure prescribed under Rule 49-O is such that the decision and identity of the elector not voting for any candidate is known to those present in the polling station including the polling agents. In order to ensure that the identity of such elector is not revealed and is kept secret, the Commission has made a proposal to the government to amend the rules so as to provide for a ‘none of the above’ button on the balloting unit of the EVM after the name of the last candidate on the list. This will enable an elector to exercise the option of not voting for any of the candidates in secrecy, by pressing the ‘none of the above’ button. The Commission had sent the proposal on 10-12-2001.
Press Release by the Election Commission of India dated 27-Sep-2013
Supreme Court’s judgement for “None of the Above” option on EVM
Hon'ble Supreme Court, in its judgement dated 27th September 2013 in WP (C) No. 161 of 2004, (People's Union for Civil Liberties and another Vs. the Union of India and another) has directed the Election Commission to make necessary provision in the ballot papers/EVMs and provide a button for 'None of the Above' (NOTA) in EVMs so that the voters who come to the polling booth and decide not to vote for any of the candidates in the fray, are able to exercise their right not to vote while maintaining their right of secrecy. In accordance with the order of the Supreme Court "None of the Above" shall be printed in a separate panel on the ballot paper below the name of the last contesting candidate. This ballot paper shall be affixed on the Ballot Unit of the EVM. If the voter presses the button next to "None of the Above" his desire not to vote for any of the candidates in the fray will get recorded in the EVM in secrecy. Commission shall also make appropriate changes in Part-2 of Form 17C used during counting and the result sheet in Form 20 to separately compile the number of persons who used the option not to vote for any of the candidates in the fray. Election Commission of India shall issue detailed instructions to ensure compliance with the order of the Court as expeditiously as possible.