Chandigarh mayoral poll: Supreme Court orders criminal prosecution of returning officer Anil Masih : The Tribune India

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Chandigarh mayoral poll: Supreme Court orders criminal prosecution of returning officer Anil Masih

Says Masih had put marks on 8 ballot papers to create a ground for treating them as invalidly cast

Chandigarh mayoral poll: Supreme Court orders criminal prosecution of returning officer Anil Masih

Anil Masih appears in the Supreme Court. PTI



PTI

New Delhi, February 20

Returning officer of the Chandigarh mayoral polls Anil Masih on Tuesday faced the wrath of the Supreme Court which ordered his criminal prosecution for allegedly giving false statement before it and his "misdemeanour" during the counting of votes.

The apex court, which declared defeated AAP-Congress alliance candidate Kuldeep Kumar as the new mayor of the union territory by setting aside the January 30 poll result, said Masih had put marks on eight ballot papers to create a ground for treating them as invalidly cast.

"That apart, it is evident that the presiding officer (Masih) is guilty of serious misdemeanour in doing what he did in his role and capacity as a presiding officer," a bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said.

The bench, also comprising Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra, directed the registrar (judicial) of the apex court to issue a notice to Masih to show cause as to why proceedings should not be initiated against him under Section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for allegedly making a false statement before the court.

It said he could file his response to the notice and the matter would be taken up after three weeks.

In its verdict, the Supreme Court bench said Masih's conduct as the presiding officer had to be deprecated at two levels.

"First, by his conduct he has unlawfully altered the course of the mayoral election...Second, in making a solemn statement before this court on February 19, the presiding officer expressed falsehood for which he must be held accountable," the bench said.

It said that as a returning officer, Masih could not have been unmindful of the consequences of making such a statement before the court. The bench noted that before recording Masih's statement during the hearing on Monday, the court had placed him on notice about the serious consequences if he was found to have made an incorrect statement. 

#Supreme Court


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