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Business News/ News / India/  ‘A little entertainment…’: SC quashes Chandigarh mayoral poll result, declares AAP's Kuldeep Kumar as winner | 10 quotes
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‘A little entertainment…’: SC quashes Chandigarh mayoral poll result, declares AAP's Kuldeep Kumar as winner | 10 quotes

Manoj Sonkar of the BJP defeated the AAP's Kuldeep Kumar after the returning officer declared as invalid eight votes of the coalition partners, drawing accusations of tampering with ballots.

Anil Masih, returning officer of Chandigarh Mayor Election, arrives at the Supreme Court for the hearing upon the Chandigarh Mayor Elections case in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, February 20.Premium
Anil Masih, returning officer of Chandigarh Mayor Election, arrives at the Supreme Court for the hearing upon the Chandigarh Mayor Elections case in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, February 20.

The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday ruled that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Kuldeep Kumar is the validly elected candidate for the post of Mayor of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. The top court noted that the election result by the presiding officer, Anil Masih, is “quashed". 

Notably, Anil Masih is a BJP Minority Cell member.

A CCTV footage had caught Returning Officer Anil Masih deliberately invalidating and discarding eight votes in favour of the AAP leader.

The Supreme Court said “counting the 8 votes for the petitioner will make him have 20 votes", making Kuldeep Kumar the winner of the Chandigarh mayoral polls. 

The BJP won the Chandigarh mayoral polls on January 30 defeating the comfortably placed AAP-Congress alliance candidate after the returning officer declared as invalid eight votes of the coalition partners, drawing accusations of tampering with ballots.

Manoj Sonkar of the BJP defeated Kuldeep Kumar after polling 16 votes against his rival's 12 to bag the mayor's post. Sonkar, however, resigned subsequently, while three AAP councillors defected to the BJP.

The point of controversy related to 8 ballots, which the presiding officer had declared to be invalid. Out of the total 36 votes, only 28 votes were counted. The AAP councillor secured 12 votes and the BJP candidate got 16 votes.

Here are 10 things Supreme Court said:

-"It is evident that presiding officer made deliberate attempt to deface 8 ballot papers," ruled the Supreme Court of India. The bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra also initiated the prosecution of returning officer Anil Masih for misdemeanour.

-According to media reports, after a physical inspection of the ballots, the court found that the 8 "invalid" ballots had votes in favour of the AAP councillor

-A fit case is made out for the initiation of proceedings under Section 340 CrPC against Anil Masih. Registrar Judicial is directed to issue a notice to Anil Masih to show cause as to why steps should not be initiated against him under Section 340 CrPC.

-"All 8 have received the stamp for Kuldeep Kumar. The votes are cast for Kuldeep Kumar. What he (returning officer) does is, he puts a single line. Just one line, as seen in the video", CJI Chandrachud noted

-The Supreme Court also found that the presiding officer had put a one-line mark at the end of these eight ballots; “the ink mark placed by the Presiding Officer at the end of the ballots have no consequence".

-SC declared AAP councillor Kuldeep Kumar as the winner and Mayor of the union territory of Chandigarh.

-"A little entertainment is good for everybody!", CJI Chandrachud said on playing the election day video in the Supreme Court of India. Adding to the comic relief, the CJI said that the petitioners have given the relevant timeline of the video. "Otherwise all of us will be here till 5.45," the CJI laughed.

-In an earlier hearing, the Supreme Court called Masih's actions a "mockery of democracy" and indicated it would do just that - it will be a historic first in independent India, and a stern warning to potential hijacking of poll results weeks before the Lok Sabha election.

-The apex court made it clear that it was not quashing the entire electoral exercise and restricting itself to dealing with the wrong-doings in the counting process which led to the invalidation of eight votes cast in Kumar's favour.

-A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said it was evident that Masih made a deliberate attempt to deface eight ballot papers.

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Published: 20 Feb 2024, 05:30 PM IST
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