Chandigarh mayor polls: SC says AAP winner, official defaced ballot papers in ‘murder of democracy’

The top court quashed presiding officer Anil Masih’s decision to declare the BJP candidate the winner.

WrittenBy:NL Team
Pictures of Anil Masih and the Supreme Court.

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A day after the Supreme Court held Chandigarh mayoral polls’ presiding officer Anil Masih guilty of interfering with the election process, the top court today declared AAP candidate Kuldeep Kumar as Chandigarh mayor, Bar and Bench reported.

Coming down heavily on Masih for “unlawfully” altering the course of the election, the top court quashed his decision to declare BJP’s Manoj Sonkar the winner of the January 30 elections. It also called Masih’s statements before the court a “patent falsehood” and issued a show cause notice to him. 

Masih had told the court on Monday that he had “marked” eight ballot papers submitted by the AAP-Congress alliance because they were “defaced.”

The bench of CJI DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said Masih “could not have been unmindful of making a statement which was false”. This came after the bench said on Monday that it was “distressed” by the “horse trading.”

Masih had declared Sonkar the winner of the mayoral polls on January 30 on the strength of 16 votes against 12 votes received by the Congress-AAP candidate Kuldeep Kumar. It was despite the latter’s majority in the house with 20 members. 

Masih had reportedly defaced eight votes of AAP and Congress, rejecting them as invalid. 

The presiding official’s action and the ensuing chaos in the house among the BJP and AAP councillors was captured in the CCTV footage which was widely circulated on social media. Subsequently, AAP’s Kuldeep Kumar had challenged the poll results in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, and then the Supreme Court. 

After recording the statements of Masih, the top court had said this is a “mockery of democracy. This is a murder of democracy. This man should be prosecuted.” 

The court said a fit case was made out against the officer under Section 340 CrPC. 

Newslaundry has earlier reported how AAP took to the streets to protest the rigging. Watch here

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