Anil Masih: Chandigarh Mayor Polls: Prosecute Masih for interfering with election process, says SC

The Supreme Court on Monday remarked that that Anil Masih, the returning officer in Chandigarh Mayor election, has to be prosecuted as he was interfering with the election process.

Masih on Monday told the SC that he put ‘X’ marks on eight ‘defaced’ ballot papers. The SC said that ‘horse-trading’ was taking place in Chandigarh, refusing to accept submission that plea on polls be heard on some other day.

The SC said that it will eruse ballot papers, entire video recording of votes at 2 pm on Tuesday. It asked the administration to provide security to judicial officer to ensure safety of officer and records.

The SC earlier this month came down heavily on Masih, who held the Chandigarh Mayor elections. The SC then said that Masih was “murdering democracy” and ordered the preservation of the entire record of the election process, including ballot papers, videography and other material, through the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

ALSO READ: Chandigarh’s BJP mayor quits; three AAP councillors join BJP

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra then said it is obvious that the returning officer has defaced the ballot papers.”Is this the way he conducts the elections? This is a mockery of democracy. This is the murder of democracy. We are appalled. We will not allow democracy to be murdered this way. The man defaces ballots the moment he sees a cross at the bottom. This man should be prosecuted. Is this the behaviour of the returning officer?”On Sunday, a day before the SC was set to hear a plea alleging irregularities in the mayoral polls, BJP leader Manoj Sonkar resigned from his position as Chandigarh mayor.

Chandigarh mayoral elections saga

The BJP emerged victorious in the Chandigarh mayoral polls on January 30, dealing a blow to the Congress-AAP alliance, which claimed ballot paper tampering by the presiding officer.

BJP’s Sonkar got 16 votes against AAP’s Kuldeep Kumar’s 12. Eight votes were deemed invalid.

The AAP filed a plea in the SC challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s decision denying interim relief and requesting fresh mayoral elections in Chandigarh.

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