'Murder of democracy': Supreme Court on Chandigarh mayoral polls

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said it was obvious that the Presiding Officer had defaced the ballot papers and that he needs to be prosecuted.
'Murder of democracy': Supreme Court on Chandigarh mayoral polls
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

The Supreme Court on Monday came down heavily on Anil Masih, the Presiding Officer who held the Chandigarh Mayor elections, saying it was "obvious that he has defaced the ballot papers".

A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud was hearing a plea filed by AAP councillor Kuldeep Kumar challenging a Punjab and Haryana High Court order. The AAP had earlier moved the High Court seeking fresh elections under the supervision of a retired judge but the court refused to grant any interim relief.

During the hearing, CJI Chandrachud said, "It is obvious that he (Presiding Officer) has defaced the ballot papers. He needs to be prosecuted. Why is he looking at the camera? Mr Solicitor, this is a mockery of democracy and murdering democracy. We are appalled."

"Is this the behaviour of a Returning Officer? Wherever there is a cross at the bottom he does not touch it and when it is at the top, he alters it. Please tell the Returning Officer that the Supreme Court is watching him," he added.

The BJP on January 30 swept the Chandigarh mayoral polls against the Congress-AAP alliance.

Manoj Sonkar of the BJP had defeated the AAP's Kuldeep Kumar for the mayor's post, polling 16 votes against his rival's 12. Eight votes were declared invalid.

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'Murder of democracy': Supreme Court on Chandigarh mayoral polls

The opposition councillors alleged that the presiding officer had tampered with the ballot papers, a charge rubbished by the BJP.

Source: India Today

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