‘RO must be prosecuted’: SC seeks Chandigarh mayoral poll ballots | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Chandigarh mayoral poll: SC says returning officer must be prosecuted for election interference

Feb 19, 2024 05:20 PM IST

Anil Masih, the returning officer, is facing Supreme Court's scrutiny for allegedly rigging the January 30 polls.

The Supreme Court on Monday said Anil Masih, the returning officer (RO) of the January 30 Chandigarh mayoral polls, ‘must be prosecuted for interfering with the election process,’ and sought ballot papers used to conduct the election.

Anil Masih, Returning Officer for Chandigarh mayoral election, at the Supreme Court for a hearing in the alleged tampering in the election, in New Delhi, Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. (PTI Photo)
Anil Masih, Returning Officer for Chandigarh mayoral election, at the Supreme Court for a hearing in the alleged tampering in the election, in New Delhi, Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. (PTI Photo)

Also Read: AAP slams BJP over Supreme Court’s order on Chandigarh mayor elections

A judicial officer from Punjab must submit the ballots by 2 pm on Tuesday, and Masih must be present in the court, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, ruled. Masih attended Monday's hearing as well on the apex court's directions.

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Ballot papers defaced

The bench, which also comprises Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, said it was ‘obvious’ that the RO ‘defaced the ballot papers.’

“This is a very serious matter. Why were you looking into the camera and putting marks on the ballot paper? ,” the CJI asked, referring to a viral video from the House.

Also Read: AAP releases new CCTV clip of alleged ‘ballot paper tampering’ by Anil Masih

“The papers were already defaced and I was only marking them. There were so many cameras that I was just looking at them,” Masih responded.

Stating that it was ‘clear’ that Masih put an ‘X’ mark on the ballots, the CJI then asked whether the former put the ‘X’ marks or not.

“There were eight ballot papers, so that they were not mixed with the rest,” the RO responded.

Also Read: Supreme Court's ‘murder of democracy’ remarks on Chandigarh mayor polls give ammo to Oppn

The petition in the Supreme Court has been filed by AAP's Kuldeep Kumar, the party's joint candidate with the Congress. Kumar was defeated by BJP's Manoj Sonkar, who resigned on the eve of Monday's hearing.

Masih too is a member of the BJP.

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