Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Observing that returning officer Anil Masih has “defaced the ballots” within the Chandigarh mayoral polls, the Supreme Court on Monday summoned the official in query to stay current earlier than the highest courtroom on February 19 to clarify his conduct.

“During the course of the hearing, the video has been played in court. The Returning Officer shall remain present before this court on the next date of listing to explain his conduct as it appears in the video, ” stated a bench presided over by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud in its order.

The bench, additionally comprising Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, ordered that your entire report pertaining to the election, together with poll papers and videography footage can be sequestered beneath the custody of the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court by 5 p.m. itself.

It ordered the Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh UT at hand over the whole lot of the report to the Registrar General of the High Court for safekeeping and custody.

Further, the apex courtroom stated that the following assembly of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, which is scheduled to happen on February 7, will stand deferred pending additional orders.

“Prima facie, at this stage, we are of the considered view that an appropriate interim order was warranted, which the High Court has failed to pass, in order to protect the purity and sanctity of the electoral process, ” it added.

The instructions have been handed on a plea filed by INDIA bloc’s mayoral candidate Kuldeep Kumar towards the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s refusal to remain the ballot outcomes held on January 30 for the put up of Mayor.

In his plea, he had accused the Presiding Officer of resorting to fraud and forgery within the counting course of and alleged full departure of the observe and guidelines.

After perusal of the CCTV footage given within the pendrive by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor, the apex courtroom stated: “This is a mockery of democracy. He is murdering democracy. Is this the behaviour of a returning officer, who looks at the camera and defaces the ballot?”

“We is not going to permit democracy to be murdered like this..Please inform your returning officer that there’s a Supreme Court watching over him, ” the highest courtroom informed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the returning officer.

Further, the apex courtroom noticed: “It is obvious that he defaced the ballots. This man has to be prosecuted.”

The AAP-Congress alliance misplaced the competition regardless of having the utmost councillors as eight out of 36 votes have been declared invalid by presiding authority Masih, a nominated councilor, with no voting rights. The BJP received 16 votes, whereas the AAP-Congress alliance had 12 votes regardless of having 20 councillors.

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