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Updated February 5th, 2024 at 17:50 IST

Chandigarh Mayor Polls 'Murder of Democracy', Says Supreme Court

‘Murder of democracy, obviously he defaced ballot papers,’ said the Supreme Court on Chandigarh mayoral polls officer.

Isha Bhandari
'We will not allow democracy to be murdered': Supreme Court on Chandigarh mayor elections row
'We will not allow democracy to be murdered': Supreme Court on Chandigarh mayor elections row | Image:PTI
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, delivered a scathing criticism against Anil Masih, the Presiding Officer overseeing the Chandigarh Mayor elections. The strong words came during the hearing of a plea filed by AAP councillor Kuldeep Kumar challenging a Punjab and Haryana High Court order. Supreme Court further directed the Returning Officer of Chandigarh Mayor Election to remain present before the Court on February 19 to explain his conduct as it appeared in the video.

The AAP had sought fresh elections under the supervision of a retired judge, alleging malpractice in the previous polls. 

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However, the High Court refused interim relief. During the Supreme Court hearing, CJI Chandrachud expressed shock at Masih's actions, stating, “It is obvious that he (Presiding Officer) has defaced the ballot papers. He needs to be prosecuted. This is a mockery of democracy and murdering democracy. We are appalled.”

Chandrachud further criticized Masih's conduct, remarking, “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.”

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The BJP had previously secured victory in the Chandigarh mayoral polls on January 30, with Manoj Sonkar defeating AAP's Kuldeep Kumar. 

Sonkar polled 16 votes against Kumar's 12, while eight votes were declared invalid. Opposition councillors alleged tampering of ballot papers by the presiding officer, a charge vehemently denied by the BJP. 

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Published February 5th, 2024 at 16:39 IST

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