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Chandigarh mayor polls: What Supreme Court said in its verdict?

Feb 20, 2024 05:04 PM IST

Chandigarh mayoral polls: Supreme Court observes eight ‘defaced’ votes valid.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the results of the Chandigarh mayoral polls, declaring the AAP-Congress candidate as the winner instead of the previously declared BJP candidate. The top court held that the presiding officer intentionally defaced eight votes, that were for the alliance candidate, to invalidate them.

A view of the Supreme court of India in New Delhi. (Sanchit Khanna/ Hindustan Times)
A view of the Supreme court of India in New Delhi. (Sanchit Khanna/ Hindustan Times)

The Supreme Court, while hearing a petition on allegations of vote tampering in the Chandigarh mayoral polls, said that the eight 'defaced' votes should be considered valid.

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ALSO READ- SC declares AAP’s Kuldeep Kumar winner of Chandigarh mayoral election

"The Supreme Court has given this verdict after examining the votes polled. It stated that the eight votes that were declared invalid during the election is wrong. The Supreme Court declared those votes valid and Kuldeep Kumar as the Mayor of Chandigarh," said advocate Gurminder Singh.

The Supreme Court also ordered the prosecution of the returning officer for the poll, Anil Masih, a BJP leader, for his "misdemeanour" after finding serious faults in the conduct of the January 30 election.

The apex court made it clear that it was not quashing the entire electoral exercise and restricting itself to dealing with the wrongdoings 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.

What happened in Chandigarh mayoral polls?

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged victorious in the Chandigarh mayoral polls on January 30, securing a win over the Aam Aadmi Party-Congress alliance candidate. The returning officer declared eight votes from the coalition partners as invalid, sparking allegations of ballot tampering.

BJP's Manoj Sonkar clinched the mayor's post with 16 votes against his rival's 12, but he later resigned. Additionally, three AAP councillors switched allegiance to the BJP.

ALSO READ- After SC's verdict, what next for Chandigarh poll official Anil Masih?

Kejriwal thanks SC for 'saving democracy'

On the observation, AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal thanked the top court. “Thank you SC for saving democracy in these difficult times!” he wrote on 'X'.

(Inputs from PTI)

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