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Three days back, I received a forwarded mail from Pragnya, a friend of mine, that was about a judgment of Supreme Court. At first, even I got excited by that amazing information. And why not, it was about the right to emergency care that at first sight, gave me an impression of a revolutionary step by the judiciary system. At the next moment, my mind started playing with its database by the help of heuristics. Within moments, I recalled another similar forwarded mail that I had received last year or something. That was about Section 49′O (negative / neutral voting).

According to 49′O, in a particular constituency, if a voter has dislike to all of the candidates competing there, then he can show his dislike to all of them by registering for 49′O. Now, if the number of 49′O count is larger than that of the winning candidates total vote count, then a re-election is called there.

We will discuss about 49’O at the end of this article (must read the end of this article). This time again, the mail looked too much promising to me. I was busy with work so I ignored this rumour and got back to work. Last night, in an Orkut community Rational Behavioural, I saw that another friend of mine has posted the same thing. Surprisingly, dozens of people already had replied to that post and even few had forwarded the mail to others as well. Lets look at the mail first.

Right to Emergency Care:

Date Of Judgment: 23/02/2007.

Case No.: Appeal (civil) 919 of 2007.

The Supreme Court has ruled that all injured persons especially in the case of road traffic accidents, assaults, etc., when brought to a hospital / medical centre, have to be offered first aid, stabilized and shifted to a higher centre / government centre if required. It is only after this that the hospital can demand payment or complete police formalities. In case you are a bystander and wish to help someone in an accident, please go ahead and do so. Your responsibility ends as soon as you leave the person at the hospital. The hospital bears the responsibility of informing the police, first aid, etc.

Please do inform your family and friends about these basic rights so that we all know what to expect and what to do in the hour of need.Please not only go ahead and forward, use it too!!!!

I was astounded. The first thing that kicked my mind to get some details was the date of the judgment. According to the mail, the Supreme Court verdict came in the month of February. And the verdict was very much revolutionary. So, when our media fills a complete page on absolutely redundant issues, then how come it missed such great news. The suspicion raised.

I started browsing official sites of Judiciary and I arrived at JUDIS(Judicial Information System), an official website of Supreme Court of India. The mail already had given me some initial details to find out more. It said that the judgment came for the “Appeal(Civil) 919 of 2007“. So, first I searched in the JIS that any such judgment ever existed or not. Here are the Judgment search details:

Judgment:

Link: http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/chejudis.asp

I entered:

case type = civil, appeal
case no = 919
year = 2007

Result:- Record Not Found

Undoubtedly, no such judgment existed in the database of Supreme Court who had supposedly declared this in February, 2007. That means, this was a very false information and obviously a rumour. If it had been true, JIS search would have shown the details of the Judgment.

Then, I tried searching if there any such cases ever existed or not! This time, I arrived at Case Status (disposed and pending case status), again a website run by Supreme Court. This website keeps track of each and every disposed and pending cases in Supreme Court of India, all High Courts, and some district courts.

Case Status:

Link:- http://www.courtnic.nic.in/courtnicsc.asp

Case Type – Appeal Civil
Case No – 919
Year – 2007

Status:

Case Status: DISPOSED

Status of : Appeal (Civil) 919 OF 2007
SHARE MEDICAL CARE Vs. UNION OF INDIA & ORS.

Pet. Adv. : MR. Y. RAJA GOPALA RAO

Res. Adv. : MS. SUSHMA SURI
Subject Category : INDIRECT TAXES MATTERS – APPEALS UNDER CLAUSE (B) OF SECTION 130E OF THE CUSTOMS ACT, 1962 ANDSECTION 35L OF THE CENTRAL EXCISE AND SALT ACT, 1944

Date of Disposal : 23/02/2007
Detailed Status:
http://courtnic.nic.in/supremecourt/temp/dc%2010429-1043105p.txt

It was about right to stop elections then, it is right to emergency care now. So, a case of Indirect Taxes had been turned out to be a judgment for the right of emergency care. I am sure that this mail must have reached to thousands of people till now. Instead of having a great resources like Internet and a revolution of e-governance in India, people don’t try to find the truth and stop spreading such rumours. The motive they possess while forwarding such mails get corrupted and affects inversely to thousands. I agree that people are not that much aware and don’t even try to be so until they themselves get affected by the social evils and problems. But, wrong information surely affects people more. Now, it will take a 2-page description to let them understand that this information was actually fake. And what about those who didn’t get access to this clarification?

Anyways, this is a very bad idea indeed and people should verify it once before they spread such information. Try googling for such information, get a list of authorised websites such as websites promoted by government of India and its other entities, or atleast ask people who acquire relevant knowledge. We can’t do for those people who starts these chains but we can break it at the moment they reach us. This is an irony that in the information age and thriving Indian industry and society in this age, it is actually “lack of awareness” that has been lagging the development of people, society, and nation behind. Lack of awareness is the biggest problem that exists in the most informative and elite junta, broadly including who are having access to all such resources such as the virtually-active people or people having regular access to Internet. We need to understand that E-world and E-governance exist for only one reason – to make us aware – to make us informative and wise.

For your quick reference, here is the 49′O case from my mail archive:

Please take some time to read this entire mail. You will definitely feel ts worth. Hope some of you have already got this mail and got to know about the 49′O. It says :

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

Steps for doing this :

1. while registering the name by the time of voting, convey the booth officials that “I want to go for 49′O”.

2. Register your signature in the 49′O form available there.

Done. Now, if the number of 49′O count is larger than that of the winning candidates total vote count, then a re-election is called there.

More than all, the shameful fact is, This 49′O is available ever since 1960, but it is in no way conveyed to the people. Neither the government communicate this, nor did the election commission. As long as the people are unaware of this one, the political parties are enjoying by winning the election and ditching our country. To stop this disaster to continue further, we don’t need to take a swordand fight against the government.

Just help every citizen to know that they have such a powerful weapon which can be used for ensuring their welfare. None of the media will be ready to publish this 49′O. Let us do this by ourselves. Communicate this information with all your family, friends, neighbors as much as you can and let them know their right. Please send this mail to everyone you know and request them to spread it across to everyone. Convey this information to as many people you know.

Not only that, we get a satisfaction that we have done a good service for our country’s welfare. This is very well equal to what our patriots have done for the independence of our country. Very less time left before the next election drama. Before that lets make sure that everyone speaks about this word “49′O”.

Important Update:

After going through comments raised by Bhawna and Ashok, I had to look for the validation and truthfulness of 49 O. And with due apologies to more than 2000 readers of this article, I would like you all to inform that Section 49 O (under the conduct of elections rules, 1961) explicitly says that the elector can decide not to vote and duly notify the election commission of the same. Although not popular and much utilized by the general public, this rule has been in practice since almost 50 years. According to Election Commission of India, THE CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS RULES, 1961says:

49O. 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.

source: MANUAL OF ELECTION LAW

In 2004, Election Commision of India sent a proposal to parliament which included an extension of 49 O, among other proposals. In this proposal, the ECI suggested two main things:

1. Providing a mechanism to use this facility with the electoral voting machine

2. Amendment to specifically provide for negative / neutral voting. For this purpose, Rules 22 and 49B of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 may be suitably amended adding a proviso that in the ballot paper and the particulars on the ballot unit, in the column relating to name of candidates, after the entry relating to the last candidate, there shall be a column “None of the above” , to enable a voter to reject all the candidates, if he chooses so. (this proposal was made in 200l also)

source: Press copy of the proposals on “Electoral Reforms”, 2004 (pdf file)

Notably, famous speaker Shiv Khera-promoted organization Country First is also working for the implementation and promotion of “right to reject” practice by a general Indian.

Also, after many recent incidents and cases where the “right to emergency care” could have helped enormously, the media and the social service organizations have turned their eyes upon relevance and demand of such rights and mechanisms.