The Supreme Court on Monday directed that all the ballot papers and other original records including videography related to the Chandigarh mayor elections be handed over to the registrar of Punjab and Haryana high court.
“It's obvious he (returning officer) defaced ballot papers? He is murdering the democracy? Can't allow democracy to be murdered like this”, the top court said while issuing notice on petition filed by Aam Aadmi Party's councillor Kuldeep Dhalor, who had lost the mayor election to Bharatiya Janata Party's Manoj Sonkar.“This is a mockery of democracy,” the Supreme court said. The Supreme court also ordered deferring of Chandigarh municipal corporation meeting that was scheduled for Februray 7.
The CJI said that the Court is “appalled” to see the behaviour of the Presiding Officer. “Why is he looking at the camera and running like a fugitive?”, CJI said after seeing the video of the proceedings.
After watching the video, CJI said that the Presiding Officer was seen making alterations in the ballot paper. “Tell him that the Supreme Court is watching him,” CJI said.
The remark of Supreme Court comes days after the BJP had won the mayor election following the presiding officer's move of voiding eight opposition votes.
The action had ignited allegations of vote tempering.
Sonkar defeated the AAP's Kuldeep Kumar for the mayor's post, polling 16 votes against his rival's 12. Eight votes were declared invalid.
Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that a BJP candidate was chosen as the Presiding Officer and he acted in a partisan manner by deliberately defacing eight ballot papers of the Congress-AAP councillors and deliberately rendering their votes invalid.
Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta contended that the video only showed a one-sided picture and urged that the Court should take a comprehensive view after seeing the entire records.
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