Curated By: Sanstuti Nath
Last Updated: February 06, 2024, 11:42 IST
Soon after the Supreme Court made strong observations about controversial Chandigarh mayoral polls, a new and clear CCTV video emerged on social media that captured Presiding Officer Anil Masih signing the ballot papers. The new footage intensifies the scrutiny of the presiding officer’s conduct during the electoral process and sparks worries about the fairness of the polls held on January 30.
In the new video, captured from the top angle of the CCTV camera, Masih can be seen writing something on ballot papers while glancing at the CCTV camera.
The video was also shared by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Swati Maliwal who claimed that Masih had been caught red-handed.
The BJP swept the Chandigarh mayoral polls, retaining all three posts, in a setback to the Congress-AAP alliance that alleged tampering with ballot papers by the presiding officer, a charge rubbished by the BJP.
Soon after the polls were conducted, another video of election proceedings emerged on social media, which captured Masih signing the ballot papers from a front angle.
सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने दिया बीजेपी को झटका.मेयर इलेक्शन रिजल्ट को बताया लोकतंत्र की हत्या.. इस अफसर अनिल मसीह पर कारवाई होने की प्रबल सम्भावना.pic.twitter.com/KbgkEY9WkQ
— BITTU SHARMA- بٹو شرما (@common000786) February 5, 2024
Prosecute Returning Officer, Says SC on Chandigarh Mayoral Polls
After watching the video on Monday, Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud rapped the Returning Officer for his conduct. The Supreme Court,while hearing the petition of AAP-Congress combine candidate for the mayor’s post Kuldeep Kumar, observed it is obvious Masih defaced the ballot papers and that he should be prosecuted, adding his action amounted to “murder and mockery” of democracy.
An appalled Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, who headed a three-judge Division bench, said it would not allow democracy to be murdered like this and that the apex court would order fresh elections if not satisfied with the purity of the poll process.
Asking whether the Returning Officer(RO) is an officer or a fugitive, the court also ordered the preservation of ballots and the video of the poll proceedings besides seeking his personal appearance during the next hearing in the Chandigarh mayoral polls case on February 19.
Kuldeep Kumar, who lost to the BJP’s Manoj Sonkar, in his plea claimed that the RO squiggled eight ballot papers of councillors of the Congress-AAP alliance, rendering them invalid.
The Supreme Court’s directive came after AAP moved the top court challenging a Punjab and Haryana High Court order that refused to grant any interim relief to the party seeking fresh mayoral polls in Chandigarh.