Chandigarh mayoral polls: SC appalled by ‘defacing’ of ballots, orders preservation of video of proceedings

New Delhi: Appalled by the alleged defacing of ballot papers in the Chandigarh mayoral polls, the Supreme Court on Monday said this is a mockery of democracy and ordered that the ballots and the video of the electoral proceedings be preserved.

Taking note of a plea of an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor alleging wrongdoing in the polls, the court issued notices to the Chandigarh authorities, including the civic body.

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra expressed annoyance after watching the video of the electoral proceedings and said that, prima facie, the returning officer was “defacing” the ballot papers.

“This is a mockery of democracy. We are appalled by what has happened. We will not allow democracy to be murdered like this,” the CJI said.

The bench ordered that the ballot papers and the video recordings of the proceedings be preserved.

One of the AAP councillors had 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.

The BJP on January 30 swept the Chandigarh mayoral polls against the Congress-AAP alliance.

Manoj Sonkar of the BJP had defeated the AAP’s Kuldeep Kumar for the mayor’s post, polling 16 votes against his rival’s 12. Eight votes were declared invalid.