Mockery, Murdering Of Democracy

Mockery, Murdering Of Democracy

Feb 5, 2024 - 18:13
Feb 5, 2024 - 18:14
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Mockery, Murdering Of Democracy

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". The court also ordered the indefinite deferment of the Chandigarh civic body's first meeting scheduled for February 7.

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, which had refused to grant any interim relief to their application seeking fresh elections under the supervision of a retired judge. The AAP-Congress coalition had accused Presiding Officer Anil Masih of tampering ballot papers which helped the BJP win the mayoral elections.

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 Chief Justice further said that the purity of the election process is paramount and this "murder of democracy can't be allowed".

The Supreme Court directed that the entire record of the mayoral elections be sequestered with the Punjab and Haryana High Court Registrar General. "Let the ballots and videography, too, be preserved. The Returning Officer is put on notice that he shall hand over the records," the CJI said.

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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