Monday 19 February 2024

Supreme Court Orders Prosecution of Presiding Officer in Tampered Chandigarh Mayor Election

Supreme Court Orders Prosecution of Presiding Officer in Tampered Chandigarh Mayor Election

Chandigarh, February 19, 2024: In a dramatic turn of events, the Supreme Court of India today ordered the prosecution of Anil Masih, the Presiding Officer for the controversial Chandigarh mayoral election held last month. This comes after Masih admitted to marking eight ballots himself, raising serious concerns about electoral integrity.

The court, headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, expressed grave concerns about Masih's actions, calling them "interference with the electoral democracy" and "the gravest possible thing." This statement followed Masih's explanation, where he claimed to have marked "defaced" ballots to avoid confusion. The judges, however, remained unconvinced and declared, "Mr. Masih, he has to be prosecuted. He has admitted."

The controversy erupted after Manoj Sonkar, belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was declared the winner by a narrow margin. However, allegations of malpractice surfaced, with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate challenging the results, citing Masih's questionable conduct.

During the hearing, the Supreme Court also expressed concerns about "horse-trading" during the election and refused to postpone the case. Instead, they ordered a fresh counting of the existing ballots under the supervision of a neutral Presiding Officer. The court will further examine the marked ballots and video recordings from the counting center tomorrow.

This development throws the Chandigarh mayoral election into further uncertainty. The outcome of the fresh counting, based on the untampered ballots, will determine the final winner. Additionally, the potential prosecution of Masih adds another layer of complexity to the already-contentious case.

This incident highlights the importance of upholding electoral integrity and raises questions about the conduct of officials entrusted with safeguarding the democratic process. As the case unfolds, it remains to be seen what consequences Masih will face and who will ultimately be declared the legitimate Mayor of Chandigarh.


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