Thursday, July 13, 2006

Rule 49-O


Often, the lack of choice results in colossal voter apathy, expressed either in the form of invalid votes or by preferring not to go to the polling station.

What you should know

In a particular constituency, if a voter has dislike to all of the candidates competing, he can show his dislike to all of them by registering for 49-O .

Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 states that if a person decides not to record his vote, then the presiding officer shall make a remark to that effect against his name in the register of voters and obtain the latter's signature or thumb impression against such remark.

If the rejections exceed the number of votes polled, a re-election is ordered, but the rejected candidates do not have the right to contest again.


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 and the secrecy of voting is not protected anymore.

Proposal for electronic reform

It would be technically very easy to mark one of the buttons as 'None of the Above' to facilitate negative or neutral voting and to maintain the secrecy of the ballot. The Election Commission had recommended such a change in 2001.

So, if you don't like any of the candidates, don't forget that a neutral vote is also possible! Make full use of your democratic rights...

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4


scan man said...

Thanks for the link Elise.

sathesh said...

Wondering who was born in india: you or me? ;o) Great blog!

erasmus-in-india said...

Scan man: no problem

Sathesh: well, to make sure you are the indian one, check the post "u know u r an indian when" (sidebar/take it easy) ;D

JV said...

Thanks for reaserch you did. I was looking for same thing for my post.


Yogesh said...

Dear All,

Regarding the issue of "Right to Reject" an election candidate (or section 49-O of Conduct of Election Rules), I found out some more Interesting Facts:
1) What does Section 49-O say?


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. "

2) What are the implications? Does this mean that there would be re-elections if number of 49-O votes against the winning candidate are more? Will such a winning candidate be barred from re-election?

What section 49-O will do is only to register the persons'(who has selected the option of 49-O) signature or thumb impression. Their vote will be counted, but AS OF TODAY their vote(if 49-O votes are more than the winning candidates votes) will not negate the result. A PIL (by 'peoples union for civil liberties')to this effect is pending in the Hon'ble Supreme Court. There is no Judgement as yet on the Implications of 49-O towards the much hyped re-elections and barring of such candidates from re-election.

3) What happens to the identity of the 49-O voter?

This is the most glaring and criticized matter. Since the 49-O voter is required to sign a form or put his thumb impression, his identity is revealed. This happens as the electronic ballot does not have a button to this effect. This is also against the right of 'secrecy of voting'.

The PIL has addressed these issues and more, however, the judicial system is taking its time in delivering a verdict, as always!

The CEC of India during 2004, Mr. T. S. Krishna Murthy, has made several recommendations to our PM, Mr. Manmohan Singh ji.

Cast your vote with knowledge, even a 49-O vote is useless today, until we win the PIL.

Warm regards.

sunshinemom said...

Fantasy rule with no implications whatsoever:) The winner will still be declared based on people who voted, and no one gives a second thought to your negative voting!

Ajay said...

I really apreciate person created this blog, I will make all efforts to propogate this in my circle.

I never knew this option, there are many who dont vote but do not know that they have candidate for who they can vote instead. There are many who vote because it is their responsibility but they dont have proper choice and ending up selecting wrong "someone". Something is better than nothing but "Nothing" is better than non-sense.

we need to put pressure on election commition to put board highliting process of using this option on all pollig station, also improve visibility of this option. Politicians have no interest in doing so...

Ajay Chavan

abhijeet said...

nice ... inresting information!

Goli said...

Would request you to update the blogpost.

The statement
If the rejections exceed the number of votes polled, a re-election is ordered, but the rejected candidates do not have the right to contest again."

Is completely incorrect. There is no clause like this.

Sincere request to update blog, and notify all the commentors to ensure you dont end up propagating wrong information.

Article 49-O has no significance other than just to put ethical pressure on political parties to field better candidates.

Anonymous said...

Know truth about rule 49-O, visit
You’re right to vote is statuary right and not a fundamental right. Know how democracy is India has been ruined, visit .

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