NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday said it was appalled at the recent Chandigarh mayoral election, won by BJP’s Manoj Kumar Sonkar after cancellation of eight votes out of 20 votes secured by AAP-Congress joint candidate, saying it was obvious that the returning officer defaced the ballot papers in "murder" and "mockery" of democracy.
The court directed for preserving the original records in the matter.
In damning observations, a bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said the way the returning officer conducted the proceedings, he needs to be prosecuted.
Aam Aadmi Party councillor Kuldeep Kumar challenged the Punjab and Haryana High Court order, which refused to grant stay on election result in which a BJP candidate was declared elected as mayor of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for respondents requested the court to examine the complete video of the incident.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi for the petitioner referred to the video of the polling day.
After examining the video, the bench asked, “Why he (Returning Officer) is looking at the camera, this is a mockery of democracy. The returning officer is murdering democracy, we are appalled.”
"Is this the behaviour of the returning officer, and wherever there is a cross at the bottom he does not touch it and it is at the top, he alters it...Please tell the returning officer that the Supreme Court is watching him,” the bench said.
The bench said the court will not allow democracy to be murdered this way.
The court ordered that the entire record of election process including ballot papers, videography and other material should be furnished to registrar general of Punjab and Haryana High Court. It also ordered for deferment of the sitting of the civic body.
The High Court had last week only issued notice and listed the matter for hearing after three weeks.
BJP’s Sonkar was elected as the mayor on Tuesday after he bagged 16 votes as against the 12 votes received by the Congress-AAP candidate Kumar. Eight votes were rejected in the process as invalid.