Supreme Court says returning officer’s action in Chandigarh mayoral election tantamount to murdering of democracy


The Supreme Court on Monday said that the returning officer’s action during the mayoral election amounted to the murdering of democracy in India.

Supreme Court

CJI DY Chandrachud said during the hearing, “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 your returning officer that Supreme Court is watching him,”

Chandrachud added, “We will not allow democracy to be murdered like this. The great stabilising force in the country is the purity of the election process.”

Both the Congress and the AAP had come together for the mayoral elections. The Congress has seven councillors in Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, while Kejriwal’s party has 13.

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Chandrachud asked the authorities to preserve the ballot papers used in the polling and the video evidence. The top court also asked returning officer, Anil Masih, to be present in person during the next date of hearing on 19 February to explain his conduct.

Together they had 20 members in the 35-member corporation. On the other hand, the BJP had 15 councillors and one vote of Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher. However, Sonkar polled 16 votes while the AAP and the Congress decided to boycott the vote alleging election fraud. This was because the presiding officer declared eight votes of the AAP-Congress alliance invalid.

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