This is murder of democracy: CJI on Chandigarh Polls

Coming down heavily on the Chandigarh Mayor poll presiding officer, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud today said that the Court is appalled with the actions of polling officer and he needs to be prosecuted for defacing the ballot papers. “This is a mockery and murdering of democracy, we are appalled. Is this behaviour of a returning officer,” CJI asked.

CJI made these observations while hearing AAP councillor’s plea challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court order that refused to grant any interim relief to the party seeking fresh mayoral polls in Chandigarh after BJP won the mayoral polls.

“It is obvious that he has defaced the ballot papers, he needs to be prosecuted, why is he looking at the camera? Is this the way he conducts the elections? This is a mockery of democracy. This is a murder of democracy. We are appalled. This man should be prosecuted. Is this the behaviour of the Returning Officer?” Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said.

“Wherever there is cross at bottom he does not touch it and when it is at the top he alters it, please tell returning officer that SC is watching him,” CJI added.

SC set February 12 as the date of next hearing. SC has also issued notice to Chandigarh authorities. It also ordered preservation of ballot papers and video of proceedings.

On January 30, the BJP secured victory in the Chandigarh mayoral polls, defeating the Congress-AAP alliance. BJP’s Manoj Sonkar won the mayoral post with 16 votes against AAP’s Kuldeep Kumar, who received 12 votes, while eight votes were declared invalid. Opposition councillors accused the presiding officer of ballot tampering, a claim dismissed by the BJP. The AAP approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking fresh elections under a retired judge’s supervision, but the court denied interim relief.

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Harry Byrne

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