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Chandigarh Mayor Polls: Supreme Court Queries Deputy Officer on Ballot Paper Markings

The Supreme Court questioned the deputy officer why they were marking a cross on the ballot paper?

The Supreme Court has ordered the Chandigarh administration to present the complete video footage of the ballot paper and the counting day in court on Tuesday so that the court can see what happened that day and what the actual situation is. Expressing concern over the purchase offer, the court ordered the case to be heard on Tuesday and rejected the demand for a hearing on another day.

Additionally, the court asked the election officer Anil Masih why he was marking a cross on the ballot paper? They were manipulating the ballot paper, which law allowed them to do because the law only gives the deputy officer the right to sign. The deputy officer cannot do anything else on the ballot paper.

Masih admitted in court that he had marked a cross on the manipulated ballot paper. Masih will also appear in court on Tuesday. During the hearing on Monday on the Chandigarh Mayor election case, the three-member bench chaired by Chief Justice Divai Chandrachud gave these orders. The court ordered the registrar general of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to send the entire video recording of the election-related material and records, including the ballot paper and the full video recording of the counting day, to the Supreme Court.

The court ordered the Chandigarh administration to ensure its security during the presentation of the records and video recordings. In the previous hearing, the Supreme Court had expressed dissatisfaction with the behavior shown in the deputy officer’s video and made sharp comments. The court had said that action should be taken against the deputy officer for manipulating the ballot paper.

The court had summoned the deputy officer to give clarification in court on Monday and following the order, Masih appeared in court. The Chief Justice asked Masih why he was looking at the camera, as seen in the video. Masih said everyone was making noise, so he looked at the camera. The second question from the court was whether he was marking a cross on the ballot paper as shown in the video.

Masih said yes, he had already marked a cross on the manipulated ballot paper. The court asked under which law he did so. Masih said as soon as this happened, Aam Aadmi Party workers started running with ballot papers, they also tore up the ballot papers, and later the marshals caught them. The court asked directly how he could manipulate the ballot paper. Rule 11 says you will only sign it, so where did you get the power to mark a cross? You have manipulated the ballot paper, and you are admitting it.

The bench said that a case should be filed against this. After this, the bench said that they believe that a new deputy officer should be appointed who has no relation to any party, and there should be a recount under their supervision. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta from the Chandigarh administration told the court to order a fresh election because, according to the information they have, some ballot papers were torn.

Mehta said the court should see the ballot papers by ordering them. Along with this, the court should also see the entire video recording so that the actual situation can be understood. After this, the court ordered the ballot paper and video recording to be presented. The court ordered the case to be heard on Tuesday, on which Tushar Mehta and some other lawyers requested the court to hear the case on another day or the day after. But the court refused the demand, saying that justice delayed is justice denied.

In the Chandigarh Mayor election, the BJP candidate won by defeating the joint candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party and Congress with 16 votes against 12. In this election, the deputy officer declared eight votes of the Congress and AAP invalid. AAP councilor Kuldeep Kumar filed a petition in the Supreme Court alleging that eight votes were declared invalid incorrectly, raising questions about the mayor election. In the previous hearing, the court had seen the behavior of the deputy officer in the video of the cunting and said that he seemed to be manipulating the ballot papers, which is a murder of democracy.

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