20 Feb 2024

Chandigarh Mayoral Polls: Supreme Court Decides Eight 'Defaced' Votes Valid, Gives This Order

In the ongoing legal proceedings concerning alleged vote tampering in the Chandigarh mayoral polls, the Supreme Court declared on Tuesday that the eight 'defaced' votes should be deemed valid. According to ANI reports, the court directed a recount of the votes.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged victorious in the Chandigarh mayoral polls held on January 30, with Manoj Sonkar securing the mayoral post by defeating the Aam Aadmi Party-Congress alliance candidate. However, controversies arose when the returning officer deemed eight votes from the coalition partners invalid, leading to accusations of ballot tampering.

Although BJP's Manoj Sonkar initially won with 16 votes against his opponent's 12, he later resigned from the position. Additionally, three AAP councillors switched their allegiance to the BJP.

In response to the Supreme Court's observation, AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed gratitude, stating, "Thank you SC for saving democracy in these difficult times!" on 'X'.

CJI questions Masih's justification

During the hearing, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud pulled up the Chandigarh mayoral poll returning officer, Anil Masih. Masih had defended his actions of marking the ballot papers, claiming that he was merely distinguishing them due to defacement. The CJI questioned Masih's justification, demanding to see the allegedly defaced ballot papers.

Defeated AAP mayoral candidate Kuldeep Kumar had approached the Supreme Court, challenging a Punjab and Haryana High Court order that denied interim relief and a fresh poll.

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