‘It’s Obvious He Defaced Ballot Papers’, Supreme Court Calls Chandigarh Mayor Elections Mockery Of Democracy

The Supreme Court on Monday slammed the presiding officer Anil Masih for his conduct in the Chandigarh Mayor elections.

"It is obvious that he defaced the ballot papers. Is this the way he conducts the elections? This is a mockery of democracy. This is a murder of democracy. This man should be prosecuted," CJI Chandrachud said.

The court heard the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Councilor Kuldeep Kumar’s petition on Monday against Punjab and Haryana High Court’s refusal to grant an immediate stay on the Chandigarh Mayor election result in which a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate was declared as Mayor of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.

A bench of CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra heard the petition.

The row over the elections erupted after AAP and Congress who jointly contested the Mayoral elections under the INDIA bloc accused the presiding officer Anil Masih of refusing to allow the nominees of parties to monitor the counting of votes. 

They have also alleged that videos from the election clearly reveal that the Masih shuffled the votes from one basket to another and tampered with ballot papers.

The controversial Mayoral poll in Chandigarh reached the apex court after the high court refused to. immediately stay the election result.

The AAP councilor sought fresh elections under the supervision of a retired High Court judge. However, the high court only issued notice in the case and listed it for further hearing on February 26.

Manoj Sonkar, the Mayor candidate from BJP was elected as the Mayor on Tuesday after winning 16 votes against the 12. votes received by the Congress-AAP candidate Kuldeep Kumar. 

The presiding officer Anil Masih rejected 8 votes as invalid while counting. Kumar then moved the Punjab and Haryana high court alleging fraud by BJP. The AAP Councillor alleged that the rejection of the eight votes was done by forgery.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann had said on Wednesday that the party will move the top court for an early hearing in the matter.< /p>

"Today will go down in history as a ‘black day’ in our country’s democracy. Unfortunately, this is the same month that we commemorate Republic Day. Today, the Constitution has been shredded. The BJP ‘looted’ the Chandigarh mayor election in front of the media and cameras. Previously, they did this in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, and the northeastern states. So this is their old habit," Mann stated during a press conference.