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Business News/ News / India/  Chandigarh Mayor election: Returning officer has to be prosecuted as he was interfering, says Supreme Court
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Chandigarh Mayor election: Returning officer has to be prosecuted as he was interfering, says Supreme Court

The apex court quizzed Anil Masih, returning officer for Chandigarh mayoral polls, and asked why he put 'X' marks on ballot papers

The Supreme Court of India. (AFP)Premium
The Supreme Court of India. (AFP)

Supreme Court on Monday has remarked that Anil Masih, returning officer in Chandigarh Mayor election, has to be prosecuted as he was interfering with the election process. The apex court quizzed Anil Masih, returning officer for Chandigarh mayoral polls, and asked why he put 'X' marks on ballot papers.

Returning Officer Anil Masih said he put 'X' marks on eight 'defaced' ballot papers.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court came down heavily on the Returning Officer who held the Chandigarh Mayor elections, saying he was "murdering democracy" and ordered the preservation of the entire record of the election process, including ballot papers, videography and other material, through the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said it is obvious that the returning officer has defaced the ballot papers.

"Is this the way he conducts the elections? This is a mockery of democracy. This is the murder of democracy. We are appalled. We will not allow democracy to be murdered this way. The man defaces ballots the moment he sees a cross at the bottom. This man should be prosecuted. Is this the behaviour of the returning officer?"

It directed that the meeting of the Chandigarh Corporation slated to be held on February 7 be deferred till further orders.

"Tell the Returning Officer that the Supreme Court is watching him. We will not allow democracy to be murdered like this. The great force in this country is the purity of the electoral process, but what has happened here?" said the bench.

The observations of the apex court came after it watched video of the controversial election.

The apex court's remarks came while hearing the plea of AAP's councillor after the BJP won the mayor election following the Returning Officer's move to scrape eight opposition votes.

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Published: 19 Feb 2024, 04:05 PM IST
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