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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 24 April 2024 9.33 AM IST

Chandigarh mayor election Returning officer should be prosecuted: Supreme Court

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court said that the returning officer Anil Masih should be prosecuted in connection with the Chandigarh mayor election irregularities. Video footage of Anil Masih tampering with the ballot paper was released. Anil admitted before the bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud that he had changed eight ballot papers. He explained that this was done to avoid mixing with other papers. The court observed that undue interference in electoral democracy is a serious matter.

The court ruled that fresh elections should not be held and that the existing ballots should be counted using an impartial presiding officer. It was also suggested that the ballot papers should be brought to the court at 2 pm today.

The court had earlier directed the Chandigarh administration to hand over the ballot papers and other documents to the Registrar General of the Punjab-Haryana High Court. The Supreme Court was considering the petition filed by Aam Aadmi Party councillor and mayoral candidate Kuldeep Kumar seeking a stay on the elections. BJP candidate Manoj Sonkar, who was elected as the mayor, had resigned the other day.

Three Aam Aadmi members in BJP

Three AAP councillors defected to BJP after Manoj Sonkar resigned as mayor. Poonam Devi, Neha and Gurcharan Kala joined the BJP. With this, the BJP once again made dominance in the 36-member municipal corporation.

17 councillors are with BJP now. There is also the support of Shiromani Akali Dal councillor. The strength will be 19 as BJP MP Kiran Kher has voting rights as an ex-officio member. AAP has ten councillors and Congress has seven.

In the mayoral election held on January 30, Kuldeep Kumar of the 'India' Front got 20 votes and Manoj Sonkar got 16. However, Manoj won when the Electoral Officer declared eight of Kuldeep's votes invalid.

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