oppn parties Chandigarh Mayoral Elections: Opposition Gets Justice From SC

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Calcutta HC scraps 2016 teacher appointment process, 25757 teachers to lose their jobs, ordered to repay salaries withdrawn in 4 weeks
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Chandigarh Mayoral Elections: Opposition Gets Justice From SC

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2024-02-21 03:12:54

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

The Supreme Court created history on Tuesday by getting the ballot papers for the Chandigarh mayoral elections counted in open court and then declaring AAP's Kuldeep Kumar the winner by cancelling the earlier result in which BJPs Manoj Sonkar was declared the winner after 8 votes were 'illegally' termed invalid by returning officer Anil Masih. It was good that the court decided the matter at express speed for delay would have led to wrong signals and further horse trading.

This was complete justice in the matter as the neither were the elections illegal nor were there any discrepancies in the process. The only problem was that the returning officer had acted illegally to tamper with valid votes to declare them invalid and deny victory to the right candidate. The Supreme Court examined the ballots cast and then ordered a recount by terming all ballots valid. As expected, this resulted in an easy victory for the AAP-Congress joint candidate who had 20 votes while the BJP candidate had only 16.

The question of re-election did not arise and the Supreme Court rightly did not even think about it. A gross illegality was performed by Anil Masih and, as the apex court had earlier said, it was 'murder of democracy'. Hence, it was the court's duty to see that justice was done and it ensured the same by going by the voting preferences of the councillors on the day of the election.

Since then, much had happened that could have changed the result if a re-election was ordered. For one, as the court recognized, 'horse trading' had taken place and BJP had claimed support of three AAP councillors who had allegedly changed sides a couple of days ago. Hence, if a re-election was held, the BJP would have now got 19 votes and AAP-Congress combine just 17. That would have been injustice to Kuldeep Kumar who had won the elections fair and square.

The prosecution of Masih should also be fast tracked. It will give all those associated with elections or the electoral process a signal that fairness is non-negotiable and the courts are watching. The BJP should also learn from this fiasco that employing such illegal means to win elections is a strict no-no and should never be resorted to.