Supreme Court Examines Invalidated Ballot Papers

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Chandigarh Poll Recount, 8 Invalidated Votes To Be Counted: Supreme Court

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court has directed the Chandigarh administration to recount votes from last month’s mayoral election, and include eight – all in favour of the Aam Aadmi Party – declared “invalid” by Returning Officer Anil Masih, who was caught on camera double-marking the ballot papers.

A bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud on Tuesday examined the eight ballot papers and came down strongly on Mr Masih, whom the Bharatiya Janata Party last week removed from its Minority Cell.

The BJP had claimed a surprise win in the January election after the eight votes were discarded.

The court began today’s hearing by asking Mr Masih to point out how the eight ballots were “defaced”; Mr Masih had said he marked the papers because he noticed they were “defaced”.

Mr Masih told the court he wanted to ensure these “defaced” ballots were not counted.

“Yesterday you said these ballot paper were defaced. Can you show us where?” the Chief Justice asked, as he showed the eight to Mr Masih and his lawyer, as well as other parties in the hearing.

“All eight have received the stamp for Kuldeep Kumar (the AAP candidate)… the votes are cast for Mr Kumar. What he (Mr Masih) does is… he puts a single line. Just one line, as seen in the video.”

At this point senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for Mr Kumar, cried foul, and said Mr Masih’s actions amounted to “contempt of court”. “This is a heinous crime…” he declared.

“This person (Anil Masih) had the gall to do it on video… keep quiet (about it) and then come to court and think he can get away (with it). He was misleading all of us,” Mr Singhvi continued.

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