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'Murder of Democracy, Prosecute Presiding Officer': SC on Chandigarh Mayor Polls

The Congress and AAP alleged that the Chandigarh mayor polls were rigged since their 8 votes were declared invalid.

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Law
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The Supreme Court on Monday, 5 February, slammed the Presiding Officer who conducted the recent Chandigarh Municipal elections and said that he must be "prosecuted."

While referring to a purported video of Presiding Officer Anil Masih after the polling, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said:

"It is obvious that he 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 behaviour of a returning officer? Wherever there is a cross at bottom, he does not touch it but when it is at the top, he alters it. Please tell returning officer that Supreme Court is watching him," reported Bar and Bench.

The apex court bench comprising of CJI DY Chandrachud with Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra was hearing the petition filed by Aam Aadmi Party Councillor Kuldeep Kumar challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court's refusal to stay the recent election result.

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While issuing a notice to the Presiding Officer, the Court also directed that entire records of the municipal elections be sequestered with the High Court Registrar General, reported Bar and Bench.

It further ordered, "The ensuing meeting of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation on 7 February shall be deferred till the next date. Let the papers be handed over to the High Court Registrar general by today 5 PM. List on the next Monday week."

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had, on 31 January, declined to stay the election result of the Chandigarh mayoral election that had been challenged by Congress-Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Kuldeep Kumar.

The results of the elections were announced on Tuesday, 30 January, in favour of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Manoj Sonkar – who secured 16 votes – while Congress-AAP candidate Kuldeep Kumar got 12 votes.

However, the Congress and AAP alleged that the Chandigarh mayoral elections were rigged since eight votes were declared invalid – paving the way for the BJP candidate to win the race.

The AAP had moved the apex court after the Punjab and Haryana High Court had refused to stay the results of the elections last week.

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