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New Delhi:

In the Chandigarh Mayor elections, Aam Aadmi Party has made serious allegations of vote rigging and horse-trading against BJP. Amid AAP's allegations, the Supreme Court will today examine the ballot papers of Chandigarh Mayor Election and the video recording of the counting process. The court has summoned the ballot papers. Let us tell you that BJP's Manoj Sonkar had won the Chandigarh Mayor election by 16 votes. He defeated Aam Aadmi Party-Congress alliance candidate Kuldeep Kumar, who got 12 votes. Controversy arose when Returning Officer Anil Masih declared eight votes of the alliance partners invalid. After which allegations of tampering in the ballot paper started being made. 

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Supreme Court reprimanded after viral video

After the elections, a video went viral in which BJP's minority cell member Masih was shown marking the ballot papers cast for AAP councillors. The Supreme Court, during a hearing on 5 February, had condemned this act, calling it a "mockery of democracy". Expressing deep concern over the alleged "horse-trading", the Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Mishra decided to examine the ballot papers and video recording of the counting process.

Instead of immediately ordering fresh elections, the court suggested considering declaring the results on the basis of votes cast earlier. The court has also summoned the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court to produce records in New Delhi today. 

'serious matter'

During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Chandigarh administration, talked about holding fresh elections under the supervision of a judicial officer appointed by the High Court. However, after deliberations, the bench moved to complete the electoral process before declaring the result. The court suggested nominating a judicial officer to monitor the counting of ballot papers and not noticing any distortion by the returning officer. After this the focus was on the issue of the video of Anil Masih, who was accused of tampering with the ballot papers. 

"Why were you putting a cross mark on the ballot paper?"

Let us tell you that for the first time in the history of independent India, the Chief Justice expressed his displeasure over the way the elections were conducted and cross-examined the Returning Officer. The court called it a serious violation of the democratic process and issued a stern warning to Masih for his actions. The Chief Justice said, "Mr. Masih, I am asking you questions. If you do not give correct answers, action will be taken against you. This is a serious matter. We have seen the video, what you were doing looking at the camera and the ballot Why were you putting cross marks on the paper?" 

AAP mayoral candidate Kuldeep Kumar, who faced defeat in the Chandigarh mayoral elections, has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court's refusal to grant interim relief for fresh elections. After this, the Supreme Court criticized the High Court for not passing any interim order. 

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