‘We, the people’ can stop criminals from becoming elected lawmakers

Please carefully study the educational, financial and criminal background of all the candidates. This information is available to the public on the Election Commission’s website.

If you are convinced that no candidate is acceptable, kindly do NOT abstain from voting or work on a mass poll boycott. Best is to register a vote of disapproval / rejection for all candidates under Rule-49-O of The Conduct of Election Rules, 1961. (http://lawmin.nic.in/ld/subord/cer1.htm)

The Election Commission will make available the number of votes in favor of Rule-49-O. This information may also be obtained through RTI. (CurrentElectionsECI_Instructions/ins17032011A.pdf)

If, the votes polled by the candidate, declared elected officially, is less than the votes in favor of Rule-49-O then he must be made to resign under peaceful moral public pressure. This is a nonviolent approach as practiced by Mahatma Gandhi during our freedom struggle.

Remarks of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar in a speech to the Constituent Assembly of India on Thursday, the 4th November 1948: “I feel that the Constitution is workable, it is flexible and it is strong enough to hold the country together both in peacetime and in wartime. Indeed, if I may say so, if things go wrong under the new Constitution, the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we will have to say is that Man was vile”.

Today, our elected lawmakers have legal authority as per the letter of the Indian Constitution but lack moral authority as per the spirit of the Indian Constitution. They have delayed enacting the Lokpal Bill for over 40 years as per their legal authority and in the process they have killed the spirit of the Indian Constitution.

Our lawmakers may be experts in the letter of the Indian Constitution but Anna Hazare has very clearly understood the spirit of the Indian Constitution as per the vision, dreams and hopes of our founding fathers.

It is as per the letter of the Indian Constitution that corrupts and criminals become lawmakers. But, as per the spirit of the Indian Constitution, corrupt and criminal persons should be sitting behind bars. ‘We, the people’ have today become slaves to the letter of the Indian Constitution.

Our lawmakers are telling us, that as per the letter of the Indian Constitution, the Parliament and the State Legislatures alone have the right to enact laws and that ‘we, the people’ should vote once in 5 years or earlier and elect one among the various contesting candidates who more often than not have a record of corruption and often also a criminal background.

No matter whom ‘we, the people’ vote for, a corrupt or a criminal is very likely to win. Election in no way empowers ‘we, the people’ who continue to be exploited by the ‘brown’ slave master. Independence from the ‘white’ slave master has been hijacked by our pillars of a so called democracy that we proudly claim to be the world’s largest.

What ‘we, the people’ need is electoral reforms. But, it is unlikely that meaningful electoral reforms or an effective Lokpal bill will ever be enacted in our lifetime. The voter should vote only for a candidate with character, ethics, moral values and integrity. He must be a person with a vision and a record of selfless service for the society at large.

Today most national and state political parties lack inner party democracy and are either one person or one family rule. Such parties cannot be expected to promote the democratic aspirations of ‘we, the people’.

Our elections are more of a joke in the name of democracy. The number of elected corrupts and criminals is going up with every election. We also see the ever increasing number of financial scams that have surfaced in recent years. And, this is only the tip of the iceberg. We should educate the voter that, using Rule-49-O is an idea whose time has come.

Crime and corruption in society trickles down from the top. ‘We, the people’ will continue to be victims of crime and corruption in our daily life unless we realize that we have to get to the root of the problem and sincerely consider using Rule-49-O at the time of election.
If this idea can be given a practical shape in a few state assembly or Lok Sabha elections, it will spread the message that the voter can put an end to the criminalization of politics and thereby transform the Indian political landscape.

Voters have for decades taken it for granted that they have no choice but to live with the present undemocratic electoral system that is incapable of preventing corrupts and criminals from becoming lawmakers.

Rule-49-O may well be the spark that will give people’s frustration a peaceful outlet. A nonviolent strategy is the only way to translate Rule-49-O into a voter’s democratic ‘Right to Reject and Recall’. Now is the time for us all to mobilize public opinion and together peacefully reach our goal for a better tomorrow.

Form-17A and Rule-49-O

Form-17A is the register of voters wherein every voter, irrespective of whether he uses or does not use Rule-49-O, has to put his signature or thumb impression in the SIGNATURE column-3.

Thereafter, a voter wishing to use Rule-49-O approaches the presiding officer and informs him of his decision not to vote in favor of any of the candidates. The officer makes an entry namely “Refused to Vote” against the name of this voter in the REMARKS column-4 of Form-17A. Both the officer and the voter have to provide a signature/thumb impression against this entry in the REMARKS column-4 of Form-17A.

Entries made under Rule-49-O have to be mandatorily recorded in Form-17A. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has directed that the entries should be compiled and recorded (Form 17C) constituency wise and sent to the Commission. This information may also be obtained through RTI.

F

FORM –17A

(See Rule 49L)

REGISTER OF VOTERS

;

Election to the House of the People/Legislative Assembly of the State/Union Territory …………………… from ……….………………………………………..

Constituency No. and Name of Polling Station ………………Part No. of Electoral Roll………………………………………………………………………………….. __________________________________________

Sl. No. Sl. No. of elector in the electoral roll Signature /Thumb impression of elector REMARKS

__________________________________________

1

2

3

4

Etc.

__________________________________________

Signature of the Presiding Officer

(Form-17A contains a list of about a few hundred names of voters at a Polling Station.)

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