The Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Rule 1961

1 Chapter VA - Election to Notified Societies, Etc.

Rule No 56A to 56A-35

Rule No 56A. Manner of election to notified Societies

(1) The elections of the societies notified by the State Government under Section 73-IC, shall be held or cause to be held by the Registrar through the machinery created for this purpose in the manner as specified, hereunder, namely :-
(a) The Registrar may appoint any officer, not below the rank of an Additional Registrar of Co-operative Societies, as the Chief Election Officer for the State, who shall be subordinate to the Registrar and accountable to him for the purpose of such elections. He shall work under the general guidance of the Registrar of Co-operative Societies.

(b) The Chief Election Officer shall have powers to appoint one or more officers along with their jurisdiction as District Election Officer, who shall not be below the rank of an Assistant Registrar of Co-operative Societies or the Special Auditor, Class-II.

(c) The Chief Election Officer shall have powers to appoint such additional staff as he deems necessary to assist him and the District Election Officer.

(d) The Chief Election Officer shall have powers of general guidance, superintendence and control over the District Election Officers and the staff appointed under the foregoing sub-clauses of these rules. The District Election Officer and the staff so appointed shall be subordinate to the Chief Election Officer and shall be accountable to him for the purpose of elections.

(e) The District Election Officer, shall be responsible for holding the election, of all the notified societies, the headquarters of which are situated in his jurisdiction.

(f) For holding the elections of notified societies, the Registrar or the Chief Election Officer or the District E'ection Officer, as the case may be shall have the following powers, namely :-
(i) To appoint any officer of the State Government, Zilla Parishad, any Local Body, any Co-operative Society or Agricultural Produce Market Committee, having establishment in that district, on any post with such designation and duties for the purpose of holding the elections,
(ii) It shall be obligatory on every officer or employee, so appointed to, perform the duties assigned on him, failing which, he shall be liable for prosecution for having committed contempt of the lawful authority of the public servant within the meaning of Chapter 10 of Indian Penal Code.
[iii) To requisition any premises, vehicles or any other material required for holding the election, from any co-operative societies as he may deem necessary.
(iv) On service of such requisition, it shall be obligatory on the authority to whom such requisition is made, to forthwith hand over the possession of premises, vehicles or any other material, as the case may be, to the requisitioning authority or any person authorised by him in that behalf.

(g)
(i) The Registrar shall be competent to create a fund called the Notified Co-operative Societies Election Fund', as he deems fit by a special or general order.
(ii) The expenses for holding of any elections to the notified society, including payment of travelling allowances, daily allowance and other remuneration, if any, to the persons appointed to exercise the powers and perform the duties in respect of election, shall be borne by the notified society concerned. For this purpose, the Registrar or the Chief Election Officer or the District Election Officer may call upon a notified society to deposit in the Notified Co-operative Societies Election Fund, such amount as he considers necessary for the conduct of elections, within such period as may be directed by the Registrar :
Provided that, it shall be competent for the Registrar to exempt any notified society or class of notified societies from depositing in full or in part, having regard to the financial position of such society or class of societies, as the case may be.
(iii) If the expenditure exceeds the amount deposited, the Registrar or the Chief Election Officer or the District Election Officer shall call upon the notified society to pay the excess amount as specified by him within eight days from the receipt of directions from him and the society shall comply with such directions.
(iv) On failure of the notified society to deposit the amount or to pay the excess amount as aforesaid, the Registrar, the Chief Election Officer or the District Election Officer may issue a certificate for recovery of amount due, together with interest thereon at the rate of 15% per annum from the society. On issue of such certificate, the amount shall be recovered as arrears of land revenue.

(2) The Registrar shall maintain a register in Form M-1 in his office showing the names of the notified societies with details thereof.

(3) The Chief Executive of the notified society shall deliver a report in Form M-2 to the Registrar on or before 30th September of the preceding calendar year in which the term of office of the Managing Committee of such society expires :
Provided that, if the Chief Executive of the notified society fails to report in time the Registrar shall proceed to enlist the name of such society or societies for the purpose of aforesaid sub-rule on the basis of information available in the register and such enlisting of names shall be prima facie evidence that the election of the society is due to be held in the succeeding co-operative year, unless proved to the contrary.

(4) On receipt of report or otherwise, the Registrar shall publish, on or before 15th October a list of societies in his office and in the office of the District Election Officer, of which elections of the committee are to be held in the succeeding year.

Rule No 56B. Provisional list of voters

1 (1) A provisional list of voters shall be prepared by every notified society in the year in which the election of such society is due to be held. The persons who have completed minimum two years as members from the date of their, enrollment; shall be included in the provisional list. If different constituencies are provided in the bye-laws, the names of voters shall be arranged constituency-wise as laid down in the bye-laws.

(2) Four copies of the authenticated provisional lists of voters shall be delivered by the Chief Executive of the society to the Registrar, 120 days before the date of expiry of the term of Committee. Copies of such lists shall be displayed on the notice board of the society. The District Election Officer and the Registrar shall, within 15 days from its receipt, call for inviting claims and objections from the members of the society.

(3) If any Chief Executive Officer fails to deliver copies of the provisional lists of voters to the Registrar on or before the due date, the Registrar shall himself or through any persons authorised by him in this behalf, prepare such provisional list of voters and the expenditure incurred therefor shall be recovered from the Chief Executive Officer or other persons responsible therefor, as arrears of land revenue.

(4) In the event of the Registrar taking action under the last preceding subrule, he shall also cause copies of the provisional list of voters to be displayed on his notice board and on the notice board of the District Election Officer and of the society within ten days from the date of receipt of such list from the society for inviting claims and objections from the members of the society,

Rule No 56C. Particulars to be included in the provisional list of voters

(1) The provisional list of voters in case of individual shareholders, shall contain the name, father's or husband's name, surname, if any, with address recorded in the register of members in Form M-l of every person entitled to be registered as voter with such other particulars as may be necessary to identify him.

(2) Where a society is the member of a notified society, the notified society shall call for the name of representative duly authorised to vote at the election on behalf of the affiliated society, so as to reach it by 150 days prior to the date of expiry of term of office of the Committee.

(3) While communicating the name of the representative to the notified society the affiliated society shall enclose a copy of the resolution of the society or its committee as provided under the bye-laws, where the representative is so authorised. The notified society shall nclude in the list of voters the name of all such representatives as have been communicated to it before the date fixed for publication of the provisional list. In addition to the names representatives, the list shall contain the name of the affiliated societies, their registration numbers and addresses with names of the constituency, if any, to which they belong.

Rule No 56D. Claims and objections to the provisional list of voters, and the final list of voters

(1) When any provisional list of voters is published for inviting claims and objections, any omission or error in respect of name or address or other particulars in the list may be brought to the notice of the Registrar in writing by any member of the society concerned who is a voter or any representative authorised to vote' on behalf of such society during office hours within 15 days from the date of publication of the provisional list of voters.

(2) The Registrar shall, after making such enquiries as deemed necessary in this behalf, consider each claim or objection, and give his decision thereon in writing to the persons concerned within 10 days from the last date prescriiSed-for receiving the claims and objections and the list shall be conclusively final voters list.

(3) The copies of final list of voters shall be displayed on the notice board of the Registrar and on the notice board of the office of the District Election Officer and that of the society at least seven days before the declaration of the election programme and in no case later them fifteen days from the finalisation or claims and objections.

Rule No 56E. Appointment of Returning Officers, Assistant Returning Officers and such other Officers required to conduct the elections

The Registrar or the Chief Election Officer or the District Election Officer shall, whenever necessary, appoint the Returning Officer and may also appoint one or more persons to be called as the Assistant Returning Officer to assist the Returning Officer in the performance of his functions:

Provided that, in case where no other person is appointed as Returning Officer, the District Election Officer himself shall be deemed to be the Returning Office and shall perform all the functions of the Returning Officer under these rules. Every Assistant Returning Officer, shall, subject to the control of the Returning Officer, be competent to perform all or any of the functions of the Returning Officer provided that, no Assistant Returning Officer shall perform any of the functions of the Returning Officer which relate to the scrutiny of nominations unless the Returning Officer is unavoidably prevented from performing the said function.

Rule No 56F. General duty of Returning Officer

It shall be the general duty of the Returning Officer at any election to do all such act and things as may be necessary for effectually conducting the election in the manner provided in these rules and byelaws of the notified society or societies.

Rule No 56G. Polling stations

The Returning Officer shall, if necessary provide a sufficient number of polling stations for any constituency for which election is to be held and shall publish on the notice board or the society and in such other manner as he deems fit, a list showing the polling stations so provided and the polling areas for which they have respectively been provided.

Rule No 56H. Appointment of Presiding Officers and Polling Officers

(1) The Returning Officer shall appoint a Presiding Officer for each polling station and such polling Officer or Officers as he thinks necessary, but shall not appoint any person who has been employed by the concerned society or on behalf of, or has been otherwise working for a candidate in or about the election—
Provided that, if a polling Officer is absent from the polling station, the Presiding Officer may appoint any person who is present at the polling station, other than a person who has been employed by the concerned society or on behalf of, or who has been otherwise working for a candidate in or about the election, to be the polling officer during the absence of such officer, and shall inform the Returning Officer accordingly.

(2) A Polling Officer shall, if so directed by the Presiding Officer, perform all or any of the functions of a Presiding-Officer under the Act or these rules and bye-laws made thereunder.

(3) If the Presiding Officer, owing to illness or otherwise or due to unavoidable cause, is absent from the polling station, his unctions shall be performed by such polling officer as has been previously authorised by the Presiding Officer, to perform such functions during his absence.

Rule No 56I. General duty of Presiding Officer and Polling Officer

It shall be the general duty of the Presiding Officer at a polling station to keep law and order and to see that the poll is fairly taken,
(1) It shall be the duty of the Polling Officers at a polling station to assist the presiding officer for such station in the performance of his functions.

(2) The Presiding Officer, Polling Officer, Returning Officer, Assistant Returning Officers and other persons appointed for any of the purposes of these rules shall work under the general guidance, superintendence and control of the District Election Officer or the Chief Election Officer.

Rule No 56J. Appointment of dates etc. for various stages of an election

(1) The Returning Officer, with prior approval of the Registrar or the District Election Officer, as the case may be, shall draw and declare a programme of various stages of election, as indicated hereinbelow not earlier than seven days and not later than fifteen days of the display of final list of voters of the society—

(i) Last date for making nominations 7 days from the date of declaration of election programme
(ii) The date of publication of list of nomination received. As and when received till the last date fixed for making nominations.
(iii) Date of scrutiny of nominations. Next day of the last date for making nominations.
(iv) Date of publication of list of valid nomination after scrutiny. Next day after the date of completion of scrutiny or where there is an appeal, after the appeal is decided.
(v) Date by which candidature may be withdrawn. 2 days from the date of publication of list of valid nominations after scrutiny.
(vi) Date of publication of final list of contesting candidates The date next succeeding the last day for withdrawal of candidature.
(vii) Date and time during which and the place/places at which the poll shall be taken. Not earlier than 10 days but not later than 15 days from the date of publication of final list of contesting candidate (time and place to be fix ^d by the Returning Officer).
(viii) Date, time and place for counting of votes. Not later than 3rd day from the date of which the poll shall be taken, (Time and place to be fixed by the Returning Officer).
(ix) Date of declaration of results of voting; Immediately after the counting of votes.
Explanation:-
(a) If the date in reckoning dates as specified in the above cases is a public holiday the next succeeding working day shall be fixed for the respective events;
(b) The proportion of polling station to number of voters at each polling station and the place of polling stations shall be fixed in consultation with the notified society concerned. In case the polling stations are spread over either the district, town or village in the District, the Election Officer shall make arrangement to get all the ballot boxes to the office of the Returning Officer or to the registered officer of the societies or to such other safe places as he deems fit.

Rule No 56K. Manner of publication of election programme under Rule 56J

(1) The Returning Officer shall send a copy of the election programme declared under Rule 56J in Form M-3 to the society either by special messenger or the District Election Officer shall make arrangement to get all the ballot boxes to the office of the Returning Officer or to the registered office of the societies or to such other safe places as he deems fit.

(2) The time during which poll shall be taken should be mentioned in the election programme. The time of poll should not be earlier than 8-00 a.m. and later than 5.00 p.m.

(3) Wherever it is necessary to fix time, date and place for any stage in the election programme, it shall be fixed by the Returning Officer and shall be mentioned in the election programme declared by him.

(4) Except with the previous approval of the District Election Officer, or the Chief Election Officer as the case may be, the date fixed under this rule shall not be changed within 7 days or the date fixed for the poll:
Provided that, if due to any unavoidable circumstances and in the public interest, it has become imminent to modify the programme and there is no sufficient time for obtaining the previous approval of the District Election Officer or the Chief Election Officer as the case may be, to such modifications, the Returning Officer may, for the reasons to be recorded in writing, modify the programme. In every such case the Returning Officer shall forthwith send a copy of the modified election programme along with the reasons recorded by him for such modification to the Chief Election Officer or the District Election Officer, as the case may be.

Rule No 56L. Manner of publication of election programme under Rule 56K

(1) The Returning Officer shall send a copy of the election programme declared under the Rule 56J in Form M-3 to the society either by the special messenger or through post under certificate of posting addressed to the society at the registered address with instructions to display the copy of the programme on the notice board of the society. In addition, the said election programme ihall be displayed on the notice board of the office of the Returning Officer, Registrar and the District Election Officer.

(2) The election programme shall also be published at least in one local daily newspaper for a society or class of societies at the discretion of the District Election officer

Rule No 56M. Nomination of candidates:

(1) Any person may be nominated as the candidate for election to fill a seat, if he is qualified to be chosen to fill that seat under the provision of the Act, these rules and the bye-laws and if his name is entered in the list of voters.—
Provided that, in case of joint or associate members, only the member whose name stands first in the share certificate shall be eligible to be nominated as candidate for the election. Where the seats are reserved on the committee of any notified society as provided under Section 73B of the Act, any individual belonging to the categories provided under sub-section (3) of Section 73B shall be eligible for being nominated as candidate even if his name does not appear in the list of voters.

(2) Every nomination paper presented under Rule 56N shall be completed in Form M-4 :
Provided that, a failure to complete or defect in completing the declaration as to symbols in a nomination paper, shall not be deemed to be a defect of a substantial character within the meaning of these rules.

(3) Any person whose name is entered in the list of voters may be a proposer or seconder for nominating a candidate for election :
Provided that, in the case of election from constituency of societies, the proposer and the seconder shall be from the same constituency.

(4) A nomination paper shall be supplied by the Returning Officer to any voter on demand and on payment of such fees as determined by the District Election Officer :
Provided that, such nomination paper shall be supplied by the Returning Officer to any person desirous of contesting from the constituency under Section 73B even if his name is not included in the list of voters.

Rule No 56N. Presentation of nomination paper and requirements for valid nominations

(1) On or before the date appointed under Rule 56J, each candidate shall either in person or by his proposer, deliver to the Returning Officer during the time and at the place specified in the programme declared under the said rule,, a nomination paper completed as provided by Rule 56M and signed by the candidate and by two voters of his constituency one of whom shall be a proposer and the other seconder.

(2) Any person who is not subject to any disqualification as a voter under the Act, these rules or bye-laws and whose name is entered in the list of voters for the constituency for which the candidate is nominated, may subscribe as proposer and seconder.

(3) In the case of a reserved seat under the Provisions of Section 73B, a candidate shall not be deemed to be qualified to be chosen to fill the seats unless his nomination paper contains a declaration by him specifying the particulars of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe of which he is a member or the details of his income and landholding during the year immediately preceding, in the case of members of weaker section.

(4) On the presentation of a nomination paper, the Returning Officer shall satisfy himself that the names and the numbers c f the candidates and his proposer and seconder are as entered in the list of voters excepting in the case of nomination paper presented under the provision of sub-section (3) of Section 73B for reserved constituency. If a nomination paper is rejected under this rule, the Returning Officer shall record thereon his reasons for rejecting the same, and in that case, the candidate may deliver a fresh nomination paper subject, however, to all the provisions of his rule :
Provided that, the Returning Officer shall permit any clerical or technical error in the nomination paper in regard to the said names or numbers to be corrected in order to bring them into conformity with the corresponding entries in the list of voters and where necessary, any clerical or printing error in the said entries shall be overlooked.

Rule No 56O. Symbols for elections

(1) The Returning Officer shall specify the symbols that may be chosen by the candidates at the election from among those specified by him, but he- shall not allot any ' symbols which are associated with political parties.

(2) Where at any such election, more nomination papers than one are-delivered by or on behalf of a candidate, the declarations as to symbols made the nomination paper first delivered and no other declarations, as to symbols, shall be taken into consideration under sub-rule (2) of Rule 56M even if that nomination paper has been rejected.

Rule No 56P. Deposit

A Candidate shall not be deemed to be duly nominated for election from a constituency unless he deposits or causes to be deposited with the Returning Officer a sum of Rs. 25 in cash and where the candidate is of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe or of a weaker section a sum of Rs. 5 :

Provided that, where a candidate has been nominated by more than one nomination paper for election in the same constituency, not more than one deposit shall be required of him under this rule. However, the Chief Election Officer shall be competent to fix amount, from time to time, towards deposits as per aforesaid rule by a candidate in the case of any society or class of societies in consideration of the financial standing membership etc. by general or special order.

Rule No 56Q. Notice of nomination and time and place for the scrutiny

The Returning Officer shall on receiving the nomination paper under Rule 56N, inform the person or persons delivering the same, of the day, time and place fixed for the scrutiny of nominations and shall enter on the nomination paper, its serial number and shall sign thereon a certificate stating the date on which and the hour at which the nomination paper has been delivered to him and shall, as soon as may be therefore, cause to be affixed on the notice board in his office, a notice of the nomination containing description similar to those contained in the nomination papers, both the candidates and of the proposes.

Rule No 56R. Scrutiny of nomination papers:

On the date fixed, for the scrutiny of nomination papers under Rule 56J, the candidates, one proposer of each candidate duly authorised in writing by each candidate, may attend at the time and place appointed in this behalf, and the Returning Officer shall give or cause to give them all reasonable facilities for examining the nomination papers of all candidates which have been delivered as required by Rule 56N. No other person shall be allowed to attend the scrutiny of nomination.

(1) The Returning Officer shall then examine the nomination papers and shall decide all objections which may be made to any nomination and may, either on such objection or on his own motion, after such summary inquiry, if any, as he thinks necessary reject any nomination on any of the following ground, that is to say—
(a) that the candidate is disqualified for being chosen to fill the seat by or under the Act, these rules and bye-laws;
(b) that the proposer is disqualified from subscribing a nomination paper;
(c) that there has been a failure to comply with any of the provisions of Rule 56N or 56P;
(d) that the signature of the candidate or the proposer or the seconder on the nomination paper is not genuine.

(2) Nothing contained in clause (c) or (d) of sub-rule (2) shall be deemed to authorize the rejection of the nomination of any candidate on the ground of any irregularity in respect of a nomination paper if the candidate has been duly nominated by means of another nomination paper in respect of which no irregularity has been committed.

(3) The Returning Officer shall not reject any nomination paper on the ground of any defect which is not of a substantial character.

(4) (5) The Returning Officer shall hold the scrutiny on the date appointed in this behalf under Rule 56J, and shall not allow any adjournment of the proceedings, except when such proceedings are interrupted or obstructed by riot or open violence or by causes beyond his control :
Provided that in case any objection is raised by the Returning Officer or is made by any other person, the candidate concerned may be allowed time to rebut it, not later than the next day, and the Returning Officer shall record his decision on the date to which the proceedings have been adjourned.

(5) The Returning Officer shall endorse on each nomination paper his decision accepting or rejecting the same and, if the nomination paper is rejected, he shall record in writing, a brief statement of his reasons for such rejection and a copy of such statement shall be immediately supplied on demand to the candidate or to the proposer concerned. The copy of such statement shall be sent invariably to the Registrar or to the District Election Officer, as the case may be.

Rule No 56S. Publication of list of valid nomination

Immediately after all the nomination papers have been scrutinised and the decisions accepting or rejecting the same has been recorded, the Returning Officer shall prepare a list of candidates whose nominations have been accepted or rejected. Immediately on the next day after the scrutiny is over, the Returning Officer shall affix the list on his notice board and shall record the date on which and the time at which the list was so affixed :
Provided that, the Returning Officer shall be competent to include the names of candidates whose nominations are subsequently held valid, after the period of appeal by the competent authorities.

Rule No 56T. Withdrawal of candidature

(1) Any candidate may withdraw his candidature by application in writing and deliver it personally to the Returning Officer within the stipulated time as specified in the election programme.

(2) No person who has given an application of Withdrawal of his candidature shall be allowed to cancel the applications.

Rule No 56U. Preparation of list of contesting candidates

(1) On the day next succeeding the last date fixed for withdrawal of candidature, the Returning Officer shall prepare and publish in Form M-5, a list of contesting candidates which means the candidates whose names have been finally accepted and who has not withdrawn their candidatures within the prescribed time on the notice board of his office.

(2) The said list shall contain the names in alphabetical order with reference to the surnames of candidates having surnames and the names proper of other candidates, in the language in which the list of voters is prepared and the addresses of the contesting candidates as given in the nomination papers.

(3) Where a poll becomes necessary, the Returning Officer shall consider the choice of symbols expressed by the contesting candidates in their nomination papers and shall—
(a) allot a different symbol to each contesting candidate in conformity as far as practicable, with his choice; and
(b) if more than one contesting candidates have indicated their preference for the same symbol, decide by lot and such allotment shall be final.

(4) Every candidate shall forthwith be informed of the symbol allotted to him and be supplied with a specimen thereof by the Returning Officer.

Rule No 56V. Appointment of Polling Agents and Counting Agents

(1) At an election at which a poll is to be taken, any contesting candidate may appoint one agent and one relief agent to act as Polling Agents of such candidate, at each polling station. Such appointment shall be made by a letter in writing in Form M-6, signed by the candidate.

(2) The candidate shall deliver the letter of appointment to Polling Agents who shall, on the date fixed for the poll, present it to and sign the declaration contained therein, before the Presiding Officer. The Presiding Officer shall retain a letter presented to him in his custody. Polling Agent shall not be allowed to perform any duty at the Polling Stations unless he has complied with the provisions of this rule.

(3) The Polling Agents may work as Counting Agents as per the authority given by the candidate in Form M-7.

(4) Each contesting candidate may appoint not more than two agents to act as Counting Agents of such candidate by a letter in writing in duplicate in Form M-8, signed by the candidates. Before the commencement of the counting of votes, the candidate shall give notice of the appointment of such counting agents to the Returning Officer by forwarding to such officer the letter of appointment. The candidate shall also deliver the duplicate copy of the letter of appointment to the counting agent who shall, on the date fixed for the counting of votes, present it to, and sign the declaration contained therein before the Returning Officer. The Returning Officer shall retain the duplicate copy presented to him in his custody. No counting agent shall be allowed to perform any duty at the place fixed for the counting of votes, unless he has complied with these provisions.

Rule No 56W. Death of candidate before poll:

If a contesting candidate dies and a report of his death is received by the Returning Officer before the commencement of the poll, the Returning Officer shall, upon being satisfied of the fact of the death of candidate, countermand the poll and where the Returning Officer is not the District Election Officer along with the proceedings with reference to the election, and the election shall be commenced in all respect, as if for a new election
Provided that, no further nomination shall be necessary in the case of a person who was a contesting candidate at the time of the countermanding of the poll :
Provided further that, no person who has given a notice of withdrawal of his candidature under Rule 56T before the countermanding of the poll, shall be eligible for being nominated as a candidate for the election after such countermanding.

Rule No 56X. Uncontested election

If after the expiry of the period within which candidatures may be withdrawn under Rule 56T, the number of candidates in the constituency whose nominations have been accepted is equal to or less than the number of seats to be filled, the Returning Officer shall forthwith declare such candidate or all such candidates to be duly elected to fill the seat or the relevant number of seats, as the case may be, and shall complete and certify the declaration in Form M-9 and where the Returning Officer is not the District Election Officer himself, he shall send signed copies thereof to the District Election Officer.

Rule No 56Y. Manner of voting at elections

At every election where poll is taken, voters shall be given by secret ballot in the manner hereinafter provided and no votes shall be allowed by proxy.

Rule No 56Z. Ballot Box

Every Ballot Box shall be of such design as may be approved by the Chief Election Officer.

Rule No 56A-1. Form of ballot paper

Every ballot paper shall be in Form M-10 and the names of candidates shall be arranged in the same order in which they appear in the list of contesting candidates. However, if two or more candidates bear the same name, they shall be distinguished by addition of their occupation or residence or in some other manner which should be determined by the Returning Officer.

Rule No 56A-2. Arrangement at Polling Stations

(1) Outside each polling station, there shall be—
(a) a notice specifying the polling area, the voters of which are entitled to vote at the polling station and where the polling station has more than one polling booth, at each of such booth, the description of the voters allotted to such booth, and
(b) a copy of the list of contesting candidates.

(2) At each polling station, there shall be set-up, one or more voting compartments in which voters can record their votes screened from observation.

(3) The Returning Officer shall provide at each polling station a sufficient number of ballot boxes, ballot papers, copies of the list of voters in respect of the polling area or areas, the voters of which are entitled to vote at such polling station, instruments for stamping the distinguishing mark on ballot papers and articles necessary for voters to mark the ballot papers. The Returning Officer shall also provide at each polling station such other equipments and accessories as may be required for taking the poll at such polling station.

Rule No 56A-3. Admission to Polling Station

The Presiding Officer shall regulate the number of voters to be admitted at any one time inside the polling station and shall exclude there from all persons other than,—
(a) Polling Officers;
(b) Public servants on duty in connection with the election;
(c) Persons authorised by the Chief Election Officer, District Election Officer or the Returning Officer;
(d) Candidates, their polling agents, and subject to the provisions of Rule 56V, one polling agent of each candidate;
(e) a child in arms accompanying a voter;
(f) a person accompanying a blind or inform voter who cannot move without help;
(g) such other persons as the Returning Officer or the Presiding Officer may employ for the purpose of identifying the voter.

Rule No 56A-4. The preparation of ballot boxes for poll

(1) Where a paper seal is used for securing a ballot box, the Presiding Officer shall affix his own signature on the paper seal and obtain thereon the signatures of such of the polling agents present as are desirous of affixing the same.

(2) The Presiding Officer shall thereafter fix the paper seal so signed in the space meant therefor in the ballot box and shall then secure and seal the box in such manner that the slit for the insertion of ballot paper remains open.

(3) The seal used for securing a ballot box shall be affixed in such manner that after the box has been closed, it is not possible to open it without breaking the seals.

(4) Where it is not necessary to use paper seals for securing the ballot box, the Presiding Officer shall secure and seal the ballot box in such a manner that the slit for the insertion of ballot papers, remains open and shall allow the Polling Agents present to affix, it they so desire, their seals.

(5) Every ballot box used at a polling station shall bear the seal both inside and outside marked with—
(a) the serial number, if any, and the name of constituency;
(b) the serial number and name of the polling station;
(c) the serial number of the ballot box to be filled in at the end of the poll on the label outside the ballot box only, and
(d) the date of poll.

(6) Immediately before the commencement of the poll, the Presiding Officers shall demonstrate to the polling agents and other persons present that the ballot box is empty and bears the labels referred to in sub-rule (5) of this rule.

(7) The ballot box shall then be closed, sealed and secured and placed in full view of the Presiding Officer and the Polling Agents.

Rule No 56A-5. Identification of voters

(1) The Presiding Officer may employ at the polling station such persons as he thinks fit to help in the identification of the voters or to assist him at the time of taking poll.

(2) As each voter enters the polling station, the Presiding Officer or the Polling Officer authorised by him in this behalf, shall check the voter's name and other particulars with the relevant entry in the list of voters and then call out the serial number, name and other particulars of the voter.

(3) In deciding the right of a person to obtain a ballot paper, the Presiding Officer or the Polling Officer, as the case may be, shall overlook clerical or printing errors, in any entry in the list of voters, if he is satisfied that such person is the same voter whom that entry relates.

Rule No 56A-6. Challenging of identity

(1) Any Polling Agent may challenge the identity of a person claiming to be a particular voter by depositing a sum of Rs. 2 in cash with the Presiding Officer for each such challenge.

(2) Oh such deposit being made, by that person, the Presiding Officer shall—
(a) warn the person challenged of the penalty for personation;
(b) read the relevant entry in the list of voters in full and ask him whether he is the person referred to in that entry;
(c) enter his name and address in the list of challenged voters in Form M-ll, and
(d) require him to affix his signature in the said list;

(3) The Presiding Officer shall thereafter, hold a summary inquiry into the allegations and may for that purpose.--
(a) require the challenger to adduce evidence in proof of the challenge and the person challenged to adduce evidence in proof of his identity;
(b) put to the person challenged any question necessary for the purpose of establishing his identity and require him to answer* them on oath; and
(c) administer an oath to the person challenged and any other person offering to give evidence;
(d) if, after the enquiry, the Presiding Officer considers that the challenge has not been established, he shall allow the person challenged to vote, and if he considers that the challenge has been established, he shall debar the person challenged from voting;
(e) if the Presiding Officer is of the opinion that the challenge is frivolous or has not been made in good faith, he shall direct that deposit made under subrule (1) be forfeited to the State Election Fund and in the other case, he shall return it to the challenger at the conclusion of the inquiry.

Rule No 56A-7. Safeguard against personation

With a view to prevent the personation of voters, every voter about whose identity the Presiding Officer or the Polling Officer, as the case may be is satisfied shall allow his left thumb to be inspected by the Presiding Officer or the Polling Officer and an indelible ink mark to be put on it.

(1) If any voter refuses to allow his left thumb to be inspected or marked in accordance with sub-rule (J) or has already such a mark on his left thumb or does any act with a view to removifig the ink mark, he shall not be supplied with any ballot paper or allowed to vote.

(2) Any reference in this rule to the left thumb of a voter, shall, in the case, where the voter has his left thumb missing, be construed as a reference to any other finger of his left hand and shall, in the case where all the fingers of his left hand are missing be construed as a reference to the thumb or any other finger of his right hand, and shall in the case where all his fingers of both the hands are missing, be construed as reference to such extremity of his left or right arms as he possesses.

Rule No 56A-8. Issue of ballot paper:

(1) No ballot paper shall be issued to any voter before the hour fixed for the commencement of the poll.

(2) No ballot paper shall be issued to any voter after the hour for the closing of the polling, except to those voters, who are present at the polling station at the time of the closing of the poll. Such voters shall be allowed to record their votes even after the poll hours close.

Every ballot paper shall before issue to a voter be—
(a) stamped with such distinguishing mark at the District Election Officer may direct; and
(b) signed in full on its back by the Presiding Officer.

(4) At the time of issuing a ballot paper to a voter, the Polling Officer shall record the serial number thereof against the entry relating to the voter in the copy of the list of voters set apart for the purpose.

(5) Save as provided in sub-rule (4) no person in the polling station shall note down the serial numbers of the ballot papers issued to particular voters.

Rule No 56A-9. Voting procedure

The voter on receiving the ballot paper shall forthwith—
(a) proceed to one of the polling compartments;
(b) there make a mark on the ballot paper with the instrument supplied for the purpose on or near the symbols of the candidate for whom he intends to vote;
(c) fold the ballot paper, so as to conceal his vote;
(d) if required, show the Presiding Officer the distinguished mark on the ballot paper;
(e) insert the folded ballot paper into the ballot box;
(f) quit the polling station; and
(g) no voter shall be allowed to enter a polling compartment when another voter is inside it.

Rule No 56A-10. Procedure for voting where there are no separate constituencies or more than one seat to be filled in one constituency

In cases where there are no constituencies defined in the bye-laws or where more than one seat is authorised in the bye-laws for a constituency, voting in so far as these seats are concerned shall be recorded in accordance with the following provisions, namely—
(a) every voter shall be entitled to give as many votes as there are seats for filling,, which votes are to be taken but no voter shall give more than one vote to any one candidate;
(b) the voter shall make a mark on the ballot paper with the instrument supplied for the purpose on or near the symbols of the candidate or candidates for whom he intends to vote, so however, that no part of any mark so made shall appear in the space provided for other candidates. The voter shall thereafter fold the marked ballot paper, so as to conceal his vote and insert the folded ballot paper into the ballot box and without undue delay leave the polling station.

Rule No 56A-11. Recording of vote of blind or infirm voter

(1) If the Presiding Officer is satisfied that, owing to blindness or other physical infirmity, a voter is unable to recognise the symbols on the ballot paper or to make a mark thereon without assistance the Presiding Officer shall permit the voter to take with him a companion of not less than twenty one years of age to the voting compartment for recording the vote on the ballot paper on his behalf and in accordance with his wishes, and, if necessary, for holding the ballot paper so as to conceal the vote and inserting it into the ballot box.
Provided that, no person shall be permitted to act as the companion of more than one voter at any polling station on the same day.
Provided further that, .before any person is permitted to act as the companion of voter on any day under this rule, he shall be required to declare in Form M-12 that he shall keep secret the vote recorded by him on behalf of the voter and that he has not already acted as the companion of any other voter at any polling station on that day

(2) The Presiding Officer shall keep a record in Form M-13 of all such cases under this rule.

Rule No 56A-12. Spoilt and Returned ballot papers

(1) A voter who has inadvertently dealt with his ballot paper in such manner that it cannot be conveniently used as a ballot paper may, on returning it to the Presiding Officer and on satisfying him of the inadvertence, be given another ballot paper and the ballot paper so returned shall be marked 'Spoilt, cancelled' by the Presiding Officer.

(2) If a voter after obtaining a ballot paper decides not to use it, he shall return it to the Presiding Officer and the ballot paper so returned shall be marked as 'Returned, cancelled* by the Presiding Officer,

(3) All ballot papers cancelled under sub-rule (I) or sub-rule (2) shall be kept in a separate packet.

Rule No 56A-13. Tendered votes

(1) If a person representing himself to be a voter applies for a ballot paper after another person has already voted as such voter, he shall, on satisfactorily answering such questions relating to his identity as the Presiding Officer may ask, be entitled to the following provisions of this rule, to mark a ballot paper (hereinafter referred to as a tendered ballot paper*) in the same manner as any other voter.

(2) Every such person shall, before being supplied with a tendered ballot paper, sign his name against the entry relating to him in a list in Form M-14.

(3) Tendered ballot paper shall be then same as the other ballot papers used at the polling station, except that it shall be: -
(a) serially the last in the bundle of the ballot papers issued for use at the polling station; and
(b) endorsed on the back with the 'tendered ballot paper' by the Presiding Officer in his own handwriting and signed by him.

(4) The voter, after marking a tendered ballot paper in the polling compartment, and folding it, shall, instead of putting it into the ballot box, give it to the Presiding Officer, who shall place it in a cover specially kept for the purpose.

Rule No 56A-14. Closing of poll

(1) The Presiding Officer shall close a polling station at the hour fixed in that behalf under Rule 56-K and shall not thereafter admit sany voter into the polling station :
Provided that, all voters present at the polling station before it is closed shall be allowed to cast their votes.

(2) If any question arises whether a voter was present at the polling station before, it was closed, it shall be decided by the Presiding Officer and his decision shall be final.

Rule No 56A-15. Sealing of ballot boxes after poll

(1) As soon as practicable after closing of the poll, the Presiding Officer shall, in the presence of any candidates or their polling agents, close the slit of the ballot box and where the ballot box does not contain any mechanical device for closing the slip, he shall seal up the slit and also show any polling agents present to affix his seal.

(2) The ballot box shall thereafter be sealed and secured.

(3) Where it becomes necessary to use a second ballot box by reason of the first box getti/ig full, the first box shall be closed, sealed and secured as provided in sub-rules (I) and (2) before another ballot box is put into the use.

Rule No 56A-16. Account of ballot paper

(1) The Presiding Officer shall at the close of the poll prepare a ballot paper account in Form M-15 and enclose it in a separate cover with the words 'Ballot paper account' superscribed thereon.

(2) The Presiding Officer shall permit a polling agent, who so desires to take a true copy of the entries made in the ballot paper account and shall attest it as true copy.

Rule No 56A-17. Sealing of other packets

(1) The Presiding Officer shall then make into separate packets; -
(a) the Marked copy of the list of voters;
(b) the unused ballot papers;
(c) the covers containing the tendered ballot papers and the list of the tendered ballot papers;
(d) the list of challenged votes; and
(e) any other papers directed by the Returning Officer to be kept in a sealed packet.

(2) Each such packet shall be sealed with the seals of the Presiding Officer and those polling agents present, who may desire to affix their seals thereon.

Rule No 56A-18. Transmission of ballot boxes, packets etc. to the Returning Officer

(1) The Presiding Officer shall then deliver or cause to be delivered the following to the Returning Officer at such places as the Returning Officer may direct,-
(a) the ballot boxes;
(b) the ballot paper account;
(c) the sealed packets referred to in Rule 56A-16 of those-rules; and
(d) all other papers used at the poll.

(2) The Returning Officer shall make adequate arrangements for the safe transport of all ballot boxes, packets and other papers and for their safe custody until the commencement of the counting of votes.

Rule No 56A-19. Fresh poll in case of destruction etc. of ballot boxes

(1) If at any election:-
(a) any ballot box used at a polling station is unlawfully taken out of the custody of the Presiding Officer or the Returning Officer or is accidently or intentionally destroyed or lost, or is damaged or tampered with, to such an extent, that the result of the poll at the polling station cannot be ascertained; or
(b) any such error or irregularity in the procedure as it likely to vitiate poll is committed at a polling station, the Returning officer (where the District Election Officer, himself is not the Returning Officer) shall forthwith report the matter to the District Election Officer.

(2) The District Election Officer upon receipt of such report, or of his own motion in the circumstances stated in sub-rule (I) of this rule after taking into consideration all material circumstances, either;-
(a) declare the poll at the polling station to be void, appoint a day and fix the hours, for taking a fresh poll at that polling station and notify the day, so appointed and the hours, so fixed in such manner as may deem fit; or
(b) if satisfied that, the result of a fresh poll at that polling station will not, in any way, affect the result of the election or that the error or irregularity in procedure is not material, then he may issue such directions to the Returning Officer or take such action as he may deem proper for the election.

(3) The provisions of the Act and the rules or bye-laws made thereunder, shall apply to every such poll as they apply to the original poll.

Rule No 56A-20. Counting of votes

At every election where a poll is taken, votes shall be counted by, or under the supervision and direction of the Returning Officer and each contesting candidate and his counting agents shall have a right to be present at the time of counting.

Rule No 56A-21. Admission to the place fixed for counting

(1) The Returning Officer shall exclude from place fixed for counting of votes al persons except -
(a) such persons as he may. appoint to assist him in the counting;
(b) persons authorised by the District Election Officer;
(c) Public servants on duty in connection with the election; and
(d) candidates and their counting agents.

(2) No person, who has been employed by the society or has been otherwise working for a candidate in the election, shall be appointed under clause (i) of subrule (J).

(3) The Returning Officer shall decide, which Counting Agent or Agents shall watch the counting at any particular counting table or group of counting tables.

Rule No 56A-22. Scrutiny and opening of ballot boxes

(1) The Returning Officer may have the ballot boxes used at more than one polling station opened and their contents counted simultaneously.

(2) Before any ballot box is opened at a counting table the Counting Agent present at that table shall be allowed to inspect the paper seal or such other seal as might have been affixed thereon and to satisfy themselves that it is intact.

(3) The Returning Officer shall satisfy himself that none of the ballot boxes has in fact been tampered with. He shall not count the ballot papers contained in tampered box and shall follow the procedure laid down in Rule 56A-19 in respect of that polling station.

Rule No 56A-23. Scrutiny and rejection of ballot papers

(1) The ballot papers taken out of each ballot box shall be arranged in convenient bundles and scrutinised.

(2) The Returning Officer shall reject a ballot paper
(a) it if bears any mark or writing by which the voter can be identified, or
(b) if no vote is recorded thereon, or
(c) if votes are given on it in favour of more than one candidate where only one candidate is to be elected, or
(d) where more than one candidate is to be elected, if the voter has recorded on the ballot paper more votes than he is entitled to give, or
(e) if the mark indicating the vote thereon is placed in such manner as to make it doubtful to which candidate the vote has been given, or
(f) l if it is a spurious ballot paper, or
(g) if it is so damaged or mutilated that its identity as a genuine ballot paper cannot be established, or
(h) if it bears a serial number, or is of a design different from the serial number or, as the case may be, design of the ballot papers authorised for use at the polling station.
(i) if it does not bear the mark which it have borne under the provisions of sub-rule (3) of Rule 56A-8;
Provided that;-
(i) where a Returning Officer is satisfied that any such defects as is mentioned in clause (g) or (h) of this sub-rule has been caused by any mistake or failure on the part of the Presiding Officer or the Polling Officer, the ballot paper shall not be rejected merely on the ground of such defect;
(ii) a ballot paper shall not be rejected merely on the ground that the mark indicating the vote is indistinct or made more than once, if the intention that the s vote shall be for a particular candidate clearly appears from the way the paper is marked;
(iii) before rejecting any ballot paper under sub-rule (2) of this rule the Returning Officer shall allow each Counting Agent present a reasonable opportunity to inspect the ballot paper.

(3) The Returning Officer shall record on every ballot paper which b i rejects the letter 'R' and the grounds of rejection in abbreviated form either in his own hand or by means of a rubber stamp.

(4) All ballot papers rejected under this rule shall be bundled together.

Rule No 56A-24. Procedure for counting of votes:

(1) Every ballot paper which is not rejected under Rule 56A-23, shall be counted as one valid vote provided that, no cover containing tendered ballot papers shall be opened and no such paper shall be counted.

(2) After the counting of all ballot papers contained in all the ballot boxes used at a polling station has been completed, the Returning Officer shall make the entries in a result-sheet in Form M-16 and announce the particulars.

(3) The valid ballot papers shall thereafter be bundled together and kept along with the bundle of rejected ballot papers in a separate packet which shall be sealed and on which the following particulars shall be recorded, namely
(a) the name of the constituency;
(b) the particulars of the polling station where the ballot papers have been used; and
(c) the date of counting.

Rule No 56A-25. Counting to be continuous

The Returning Officer shall, as far as particular proceed continuously with the counting of votes and shall, during any intervals when the counting has to be suspended, keep the ballot papers, packet and other papers relating to the election sealed with his own seal and the seals of such candidates or counting agents as may desire to affix their seals and shall cause adequate precautions to be taken for their safe custody during such intervals.

Rule No 56A-26. Procedure for counting of votes where there are no Separate constituencies or more than one seat to be filled in one constituency

In cases where there are no constituencies defined in the bye-laws or where more than one seat is authorised in the bye-laws for a constituency, counting of votes for these seats shall be done in the following manner, namely :
(a) The counting of votes shall be done by and under the supervision of the Returning Officer, with the assistance of such persons as he may appoint to assist in the counting of votes.

(b) After each ballot box is opened for counting clearly valid voting papers shall be separated from invalid and doubtful voting papers. The invalid and doubtful voting papers shall be submitted to the Returning Officer for decision. The valid voting papers shall thereafter be taken for counting and the votes recorded in favour of each candidate shall be counted with the aid of persons appointed to assist in the counting of votes.

(c) The Returning Officer shall allow the candidates and their counting agents, who be present reasonable opportunity to inspect all voting papers which in the opinion of the Returning Officer are liable to be rejected but shall not allow them to handle those or any other voting papers. The Returning Officer shall on every voting paper which is rejected endorse the letter “R” If any candidate or his counting agent questions the correctness of the rejection of any voting paper the Returning Officer shall also record briefly on such voting paper the ground, for its rejection.

(d) After the counting of all voting papers contained in all the ballot boxes used has been completed, the Returning Officer shall cause to be sealed up in separate packets with a description endorsed on each such packet of the voting papers counted and that voting papers rejected.

(e) The Returning Officer shall as far as practicable proceed continuously with the counting of the votes and shall during any intervals when the counting has to be suspended, keep the voting paper packets and other documents relating to the election sealed with his own seal and the seal of such candidate or Counting Agents as may desire to affix their seals and shall cause adequate precautions to be taken for their safe custody.

(f) After the counting of ballot papers contained in all the ballot boxes used at all the polling stations had been completed, the Returning Officer shall .prepare a consolidated statement recording therein the total number of votes polled by each candidate.

Rule No 56A-27. Recommencing of counting after fresh poll

(1) If a fresh poll is held under Rule 56A-19, the Returning Officer shall after completion of that poll, recommence the counting of votes on the date and at the time and place which have been fixed by him in that behalf and of which notice has been previously given to the candidates.

(2) The provisions of Rules 56A-23 and 56A-24 shall apply so far as may be to such further counting.

Rule No 56A-28. Recount of votes

(1) After the completion of counting the Returning Officer shall record in the result sheet in Form M-16 the total number of votes polled by each candidate and announce the same :
Provided that, when an equality of votes is found to exist between any candidates either for the reserved or the unreserved seats and the addition of one vote will entitle any of the candidate to be declared elected, the determination of the person or persons to whom such an additional vote shall be deemed to have been given shall be made by lots to be drawn in the presence of the Returning Officer and the candidates who may desire to be present, and in such manner as the Returning Officer may determine.

(2) After such announcement has been made, a candidate or, in his absence, his Polling Agent may apply in writing to the Returning Officer for a recount of all or any of the ballot papers already counted stating the grounds on which the demands such recount.

(3) On such application being made, the Returning Officer shall decide the matter and may allow the application in whole or in part or may reject totally, if it appears to him to be xrivolous or unreasonable.

(4) Every decision of the Returning Officer under sub-rule (3) shall be in writing and contain the reasons therefor.

(5) If the Returning Officer decides under sub-rule (3) to allow an application either in whole or in part, he shall
(a) count the ballot papers again in accordance with his decision;
(b) amend the result sheet in Form M-16 to the extent necessary after such recount ; and
(c) announce the amendment so made by him.

(6) After the total number of votes polled by each candidate has been announced under sub-rule (J) or sub-rule (5), the Returning Officer shall complete and sign the result sheet in Form M-16:
Provided that, no steps under this sub-rule shall be taken on the completion of th: counting until the candidates present at the completion thereof have been given a reasonable opportunity to exercise the right conferred by sub-rule (2).

Rule No 56A-29. Declaration of result and publication of names of the members of the committee

The Returning Officer shall then declare the candidate to whom the highest number of valid votes-has been given as having been elected and certify the return of election in Form M-17 and where the District Election Officer himself is not the Returning Officer shall send signed copies thereof to the District Election Officer. On receipt of the declaration, the District Election Officer shall publish the names of all elected committee members by causing a list of such names together with their permanent addresses and the names of the constituencies from which they are elected on the notice board of his office and shall send a copy thereof to the,registered address of the society concerned for affixing it on the notice board and also for its record. The District Election Officer shall send a list of the elected committee members to the Chief Election Officer.

Rule No 56A-30. Return of forfeiture of candidate's deposit

The deposit made under Rule 56P shall either be returned to the person making it or representative heir or be forfeited to the State Election Fund in accordance with the provisions of sub-rule (3) of Rule 56A-6.

(1) Except in cases hereinafter mentioned in this rule, deposit shall be returned as soon as practicable after result of the election is declared.

(2) If the candidate is not-shown in the list of contesting candidates, or he dies before the commencement of the poll, the deposit shall be returned as soon as practicable after the publication of the list or after his death, as the case may be.

(3) Subject to the provisions of sub-rule (3), the deposit shall be forfeited to the State Election Fund, if at an election, where a poll has been taken, the candidate is not elected and the number of valid votes polled by him does not exceed one-tenth of the total number of valid votes polled by all the candidates or, in the case of election of more than one member at the election one-tenth of the number of valid votes, so polled divided by the number of members to be elected.

Rule No 56A-31. Custody of papers relating to elections

The Returning Officer shall have the custody of packets referred to in Rule 56A-17 and all other papers relating to the election for a period of 3 months from the date of declaration of result and such packet shall be handed over to the Election Officer.

Rule No 56A-32. Production and inspection of election paper

(1) While in custody of District Election Officer:
(a) the packets of unused ballot papers;
(b) the packets of used ballot papers, whether valid, tendered or rejected;
(c) the marked copies of the voters list, shall not be opened and their contents shall not be inspected by or produced before any person or authority except under the order of the court or other competent authority.

(2) All other papers relating to the election shall be open to public inspection.

Rule No 56A-33. Disposal of election papers

The packet referred to in Rule 56A-32 shall be retained for a period of one year and shall thereafter be destroyed subject to any directions to the contrary given by the Court or other competent authority.

Rule No 56A-34. Casual vacancies how to be filled in

In the event of vacancy occurred on account of death, resignation or otherwise, it shall be filled in by the society, according to the provision of bye-laws of the society.

Rule No 56A-35. Election of office bearers

As soon as the members of the committee are elected and necessary co-option or appointment as the case may be of members to the reserved seats under Section 73B or 73BB as the case may be or wherever such* election is due, the election of the officer or officers of any such notified society shall be held as provided in its bye-laws but any meeting of the committee for this purpose be presided over by the Registrar or as Officer nominated by him in this behalf.


Footnote:
1. Subs, by G. N. of 18-2-2002

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