Election rule Section 49-P: Vijay Sarkar version and reality

Chennai: Despite all the controversies surrounding Vijay’s Sarkar, the one aspect which has caught the attention of the audience and being talked about much is ‘Section 49-P’ in The Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 which forms the crux of the movie’s plot.

The film shows how people can effectively use the 49-P rule to make sure that they cast their vote even if someone else has voted instead of them.

Satta Panchayat Iyakkam general secretary, Senthil Murugan, said these votes are called Tendered Votes, and added they will not be valid and not taken for counting unless the winning margin is very less.

“Counting can happen only after the High Court issues an order,” he added.

Vishnu Karthi, an advocate who explained the process involved in claiming the 49-P right, said, “When the election officer is approached with the 49-P rule, the voter will not be allowed to vote in the ballot machine and, instead, will be given a slip with the candidates names. The voter can then cast his/her vote for the candidate of his/her choice. However, during counting, the bogus vote only will be taken into consideration. The Tendered Votes will be sealed and kept separately.”

He said 49-P will not create much of a difference in the election results if there is a huge margin.

“Creating awareness of such Acts will make people understand their rights and will also make political parties think twice before involving in activities like bogus voting,” he added.

Explaining the use of 49-P in the past, Senthil Murugan cited the 2008 Rajasthan Assembly elections as an example.

Congress candidate and Chief Minister nominee C P Joshi and BJP’s Kalyan Singh Chauhan fought it out in the Nathdwara constituency. After counting, Kalyan was announced the winner, as he got 62,216 votes, one more than Joshi’s 62,215. Even after recounting, the same numbers were arrived at and Kalyan was declared the winner.

Coming to know that a few had cast Tendered Votes, Joshi approached the Rajasthan High Court in 2009 and asked for counting of those votes.

The verdict was delivered in 2012 and Kalyan’s victory was declared void by the High Court which gave 30 days for Kalyan to appeal.

Following this, Kalyan approached the Supreme Court where the High Court’s verdict was upheld. The apex court also cancelled the two bogus votes which Joshi had earlier complained about.

It also ordered for recounting, including the Tendered Votes. This time, the counting was a tie following which Kalyan was declared the winner as announced by the Election Commission earlier.

“What is to be noted is that despite all these, the election was not cancelled in the area and only recounting was ordered,” Senthil pointed out.

Balasubramani Muniyandi