SC Orders Prosecution after Returning Officer Admits to Tampering in Chandigarh Mayor Polls

SC Orders Prosecution after Returning Officer Admits to Tampering in Chandigarh Mayor Polls

Supreme Court proposes Mayor Election on the basis of Votes Cast, rather than fresh election

court verdict

Anil Masih, the Returning Officer in the Chandigarh Mayor Polls has admitted to tampering during the polls. This development took place during the hearing of the plea challenging the Chandigarh Mayor Polls, which became a hot topic with allegations of electoral misconduct and tampering. The Apex Court has proposed that results be declared after recounting the votes cast.

The Supreme Court has ordered prosecution after the Returning Officer pleaded guilty to tampering. Masih confessed that he had put an "X" mark on eight defaced ballot papers. In an earlier hearing the apex court had ordered postponing the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation's first sitting, with accusations of manipulating of democracy being contested. AAP had alleged horse trading after the BJP claimed defection of three AAP councillors. Manoj Sonkar of the BJP had resigned ahead of the hearing challenging the defeat of AAP-Congress candidate due to invalid votes.

"In the Chandigarh Mayor elections, on one side there is a candidate of nation's smallest political party AAP and on the other side there is a candidate of world's largest political party BJP. The world is witnessing the BJP's greed for power" - Saurabh Bhardwaj, on resignation of Manoj Sonkar.

Earlier during the hearing today, DY Chandrachud, Chief Justice of India, has ordered Anil Masih to present the Ballot Papers on 20 February. This came after Anil admitted in Court that he put "X" marks on 8 ballot papers at the same time supporting his action saying that the ballot papers were disfigured. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has proposed that the Chandigarh Mayor Election Results be declared on the basis of Present Votes Cast, rather than order a fresh election.

The Court has stated that the votes already cast be recounted, ignoring the marks made by the RO Anil Masih. The entire counting process, as stated by the SC, will be overseen by a Judicial Officer nominated by Punjab and Haryana High Court. The three Judge Bench, comprising of CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra have asked for the "defaced" ballot papers to be presented at 10:30am on 20 February, for the Bench to decided if Votes can be deduced from them.

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