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Rti news - a ‘rule 49-o’ vote casted in polling booth in sector 22-d chandigarh during municipality elections

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]RTI NEWS

CHANDIGARH 17 DECEMBER 2011

A ‘RULE 49-O’ VOTE CASTED IN POLLING BOOTH IN SECTOR 22-D CHANDIGARH DURING MUNICIPALITY ELECTIONS[ [/b]

 

During the General Election of Councilors for the purpose of constituting the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh under Section 4, which are conducted under Election Commission appointed under Section 7 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act.1957, having the superintendence, direction and control of elections to the preparation of the electoral rolls for and the conduct of all Election to the Corporation and responsible for the functions conferred on the Election Commission.

 

During the these Elections on 17 December 2011 an unprecedented feat has been made in the History of Chandigarh as a voter exercised his right under Regulation 49-O of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, in Polling Booth No. 12 in Ward No. 3 by abstaining from the voting after marking himself present at the Booth and signing the register for the purpose. After getting his left index finger marked with indelible ink mark, instead of moving to the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) to cast his vote, the voter moved to the Presiding Officer of the Booth. He announced to the Presiding Officer that he want to exercise his right under Rule 49-O. A near chaos prevailed in the Polling booth, as this was beyond the imagination of the Presiding Officer and other Election Staff on duty in the booth. In a huff the entire staff just become anxious and started looking at the rule book. The presiding officer comforted Voter offer him a chair outside the booth, while they look for the solution. Presiding Officer made some inquiries over telephone to his superiors and, after a while returned to the voter and said, that “Sir, since you are rejecting all the candidates, a remark to the effect “voter rejected vote” will be entered in the register where voter had signed earlier. The presiding Officer did that, Shook hand with the voter and thanked him. Voter moved out leaving everybody perplexed.

 

His voting in this manner will not count but will stand out.

 

He has done so in the wake of notices sent to Election Commission of India to provide a Button on the EVM for Rule 49-O Voting so that the ballot remains secret.

 

On a PIL filed by local lawyer and RTI Activist, H.C. Arora, a Division Bench of the HC comprising CJ Ranjan Gagoi and Justice Surya Kant issued notices for 02 February to Election Commission of India, Chief Electoral Officer Punjab, Union Law and Home Ministries, and State of Punjab.

 

But in the existing procedure the name of the abstaining voter is revealed as the Register on which the voter was made to sign before abstaining is a public record for everyone to access and see. Also under RTI this information and record cannot be denied. Thus, the voter is exposed to exploitation by the vested interests, only due to the faulty procedure, which Election Commission has refused to set right, till now.

 

He plans to obtain the record of the Register signed in the Polling Booth under RTI Act 2005 from the Chief Electoral Officer Chandigarh on Monday 19 December 2011.

 

That humble voter was 59-year old Surendera M. Bhanot, Voter No. 389 in the Part 144 of the Voting List of Poling Booth No. 12 in Sector 22-D, of UT, Chandigarh.

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