Supreme slap to BJP’s anti-democratic act!

Supreme Court Initiates Criminal Proceedings Against BJP Leader and Presiding Officer For False Statement That Ballots Were Defaced in Chandigarh Mayoral Polls

February 20, 2024 : Today will be remembered as a day which is important to save democracy in India. In a important ruling the Supreme Court set aside the result of Chandigarh mayoral polls and initiated criminal proceedings against BJP Leader and Presiding Officer Anil Masih. Highlighting the obstruction of democracy at the grassroots level, particularly through the misuse of the Returning Officer’s authority to manipulate election outcomes, the Supreme Court exercised its exceptional constitutional authority under Article 142. This action resulted in the declaration of Kuldeep Kumar, the Aam Aadmi Party & Congress candidate, as the duly elected Mayor of Chandigarh.

Upon reviewing footage from the Chandigarh mayoral polls, a Bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud determined that BJP leader and Returning Officer Anil Masih had intentionally tampered with eight ballot papers in an effort to influence the election results in favor of Kumar’s opponent, Manoj Sonkar of the BJP. The court also found that Masih had provided false information in the Supreme Court on February 19, claiming that the ballots were already defaced when they reached him. The court has issued a show cause notice to Anil Masih, granting him three weeks to justify why criminal proceedings should not be initiated against him.

This victory was made possible through the workings of Indian democracy and the intervention of the Honorable Supreme Court. The supreme court has done a important and commendable task of safeguarding the impartiality of democracy and its independent institutions at all costs. Expressing profound concern over allegations of “horse-trading,” the Supreme Court, on February 19, announced its intention to scrutinize the ballot papers and video recordings of the vote counting process. Rather than opting for new elections, the court hinted at the possibility of declaring results based on the existing votes. In the Chandigarh mayoral polls held on 30 January 2024, the BJP emerged victorious, defeating the AAP-Congress alliance candidate despite their strong position. However, controversy arose when the Returning Officer invalidated eight votes from the coalition partners, leading to accusations of ballot tampering.

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, while dictating the order, clearly observed that Mr Anil Masih (a nominated counselor of Chandigarh Municipality who belonged to the BJP) was guilty of a misdemeanor as he deliberately tried to deface eight ballot papers which were in favour of the AAP-INC Candidate to declare them invalid and discount them from the final results. CJI DY Chandrachud stated in his order that it is evident that in each of the 8 ballots, the vote has been duly cast in favour of the petitioner. But the BJP leader and Returning Officer Anil Masih has evidently put his own mark for the purpose of creating a ground for treating the ballot as invalidly cast. It is evident that the Presiding Officer is guilty of a serious misdemeanor in doing what he did in his role and capacity as presiding officer,” the CJI observed in the order. The Court further went on to declare the AAP-INC Candidate and Petitioner Mr Kuldeep Kumar as the lawful Mayor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and set aside the results declared by Mr.Anil Masih. The Court found that a fit case has been made out against the Presiding Officer under Section 340 of the CRPC for making false statements. “Registrar Judicial is directed to issue a notice to Anil Masih, to show cause as to why steps should not be initiated against him under Section 340 CRPC” stated CJI Chandrachud.

It is regrettable that the established electoral procedures are being blatantly disregarded by the BJP government, necessitating the intervention of the highest court of the land to ensure the proper conduct of a municipal election. Fairness and transparency are paramount in elections, as without them, democracy cannot thrive in the country. BJP has been repeatedly engaging in anti-democratic acts to suppress or finish the opposition. Ever since Modi government came to power in 2014, BJP with a demonic lust for power has thwarted democratic procedures and values. In the history of India, never has any party indulged in such brazen anti-democratic steps. By misusing all government institutions the ruling party has not only put democracy in danger, but have demeaned the respect our great country had across the globe. This mockery of democracy has made democracy loving citizens hang their heads in shame. According to political experts this ruling by CJI Chandrachud is a Supreme slap to BJP’s anti-democratic acts.

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