Section 49-O???

If you are of generation-x then you surely have an e-mail id, and 99.99% chances are you check it regularly for mails. Everytime we open the mail box there is bound to be atleast one SPAM [SPAM- Shit Posing As Mail; Stupid Pointless Annoying Message and many more like these]; but this post is not about SPAM. If you want to know anything more about SPAM then Google it. I did once when one of my marketing lecturers asked the official full form of spam in class and left saying will tell you next time. It was then I came to know about the complete history about the origination of word SPAM but no official full form as asked by him [probably that’s why his next class about SPAM never came]. Anyways let’s get back to e-mails!

On an average I check my mail atleast two times a day. Its not that I expect any work related mail [when there is no work then from where work related mail will come?] but just for the forwards from friends, acquaintances and many other sources. And sometimes for the RSS feeds I’ve subscribed to. About a month back a friend told me about a mail she received on ‘section 49-O’ of the Indian constitution [am sure you must have received it too]. According to this section, election of a particular constituency can be held again if majority of the voters come to polling booth, mark their presence and don’t vote for anyone. The mail said we should all make use of this section in case none of the candidates is good.

I was surprised and thought it was just another gimmick doing round on the net and spreading false information. There is no such section; had there been I would have studied in 8th, 9th or 10th class civics [alright can’t rely on my knowledge about the subject, everyone knows how we passed back then]. So I didn’t pay much attention to it.

Then on 6th December I saw an article in Hindustan times which again talked about this section. It went on further, criticizing the politicians for not letting the general public know about it. It also added parliament had already turned down the election commissions suggestion of having a button in EVM’s [electronic voting machines] ‘none of the above’ in light of the section 49-O, because it will be a direct threat to the politicians. After reading it I believed every word told to me by that friend [thought of saying sorry to her, had made lot of fun when she was thinking of using the provision].

It was two days back when I received the same mail, I got curious about it and started to search for the actual section and what exactly it says. So I Googled ‘section 49-O’ and found 48,800 results. Those few which I visited talked about the existence of this section, but none was the official word. They were just personal general knowledge of people whose source was something weird like that of mine. Also none had actually practiced it. Then I came across these two interesting pieces http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1211098 http://www.indianexpress.com/news/the-chatteranti/394809/2 and they out rightly rejects the idea of a re-election because majority didn’t voted and just registered themselves.

The only thing which looked a little authentic to me is available on http://lawmin.nic.in/ld/subord/cer1.htm and all it says about ‘49-O’ is

‘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.’

Frankly speaking am still clueless if anything like re-election could happen because all the candidates were equally bad and people used section 49-O. But the story in Hindustan times on 6th December was a master piece which was totally based upon the forwarded mail which the smart reporter must have received on 5th December.

And all those who create and then spread such mails please stop doing it. Coz of you next time there can be an article talking about wishes coming true by forwarding some stupid mail to 15 people, with inputs like ‘so and so government department actually requested the political leaders to pass a bill making it mandatory forwarding the mail so that people’s wishes can come true but they blatantly rejected the idea’.


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