Chandigarh Mayor Polls case: SC to hear explanation of Returning officer Anil Masih tomorrow

  • Supreme Court to hear Anil Masih's defense on ballot tampering in Chandigarh Mayor Polls. Masih, caught defacing ballot papers, must appear before the court on February 19. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud condemned Masih's behavior as anti-democratic.

Livemint
First Published18 Feb 2024
The Supreme Court of India (File)
The Supreme Court of India (File)

Chandigarh Mayor Polls: The Supreme Court on 19 February is likely to hear explanation of Anil Masih who has come under fire for allegedly tampering with the ballot papers, Jagran has reported. The top court had declared that Masih, the designated council member, must appear before the top court on February 19. 

Earlier on 5 February, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud-led bench which included Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra observed that the returning officer Anil Masih must be prosecuted as he was clearly seen defacing the ballot papers on video. "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 cross at bottom, he does not touch it and when it is at the top he alters it, please tell returning officer that Supreme Court is watching him," Bar and Bench quoted Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud as saying.

Also Read: ‘Supreme Court is watching….’: 5 things Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said on Chandigarh mayoral polls

The top court had also ordered that the February 7 meeting of Chandigarh municipal corporation must be deferred until further instructions.

Opposition councilors have alleged that presiding officer Anil Masih allegedly tampered with the ballot papers. Masih and the BJP denied this allegation. After BJP mayoral candidate Manoj Sonkar emerged victorious on January 30, allegations surfaced against the presiding officer, Masih, claiming he had tampered with eight ballots, which were later ruled to be invalid.

The AAP and Congress were fighting the Chandigarh mayoral election in an alliance and had a comfortable majority of 20 votes in a 35-member House. The BJP had 15 votes- 14 from councilors and one from MP Kirron Kher. But, after the elections, the BJP candidate was declared the winner with 16 votes while 8 votes of the AAP-Congress alliance were declared invalid.

Earlier on 14 February, BJP's Chandigarh unit removed the name of Anil Masih who had served as general secretary of the Chandigarh BJP's minority cell since 2021, from the party's minority cell. 

(With inputs from PTI, ANI)

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