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Chandigarh Mayor Manoj Sonkar tenders resignation, Supreme Court to hear matter today

Even as the Supreme Court gets ready to hear the allegations of foul play in the Chandigarh Mayoral elections, newly-elected Mayor and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manoj Sonkar has tendered his resignation.

Sonkar resigned on Sunday, a day before the Apex Court was to take up the matter.

Chandigarh BJP President Jatinder Malhotra informed the media on Sunday that Sonkar resigned on moral grounds. He alleged that the AAP and Congress were vitiating the atmosphere by levelling baseless allegations of votes tampering.

Now when fresh polls will be held, people will get to know who will get the majority, added the Chandigarh BJP chief.

Earlier on February 5, a Bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Mishra slammed the Returning Officer of Chandigarh Mayor election, stating that he can be clearly seen defacing the ballot papers on video to influence the election result.

The Apex Court took strong exception to the Returning Officer defacing ballot papers and making a mockery of democracy. It ordered that the Returning Officer should be prosecuted for his actions.

CJI Chandrachud remarked that it was obvious that the Returning Officer defaced the ballot papers, adding that he needs to be prosecuted. Mentioning that his action was a mockery and murder of democracy, the CJI questioned why the Returning Officer was looking at the camera often.

He further asked whether this should be the behaviour of a Returning Officer, pointing out that whenever there was a cross at the bottom, the RO did not touch it and when it was at the top, he altered it.

Consecutively, the Bench issued notice to RO Anil Masih and asked him to appear before the court to give his clarification on his behaviour as seen in the video.

It further directed that the entire election records be sequestered with the High Court Registrar General. The Court also asked to preserve the ballot and videography.

The top court of the country effectively stayed any activity on part of the Municipal Corporation for the time being.

The Supreme Court ordered that the ensuing meeting of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation shall be deferred till the next date of hearing on February 19.

Furthermore, the budget of Chandigarh corporation which was scheduled to be held on February 7, was postponed until further orders.

The bench passed the orders on a petition moved by AAP Councillor Kuldeep Kumar, challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s refusal to grant an immediate stay on the election result, in which BJP candidate Manoj Sonkar was declared elected as Chandigarh Mayor.

On AAP Councillor Kuldeep Kumar’s petition alleging fraud in BJP’s win and forgery in rejection of the eight votes, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had issued notice and listed the matter for hearing after three weeks.

Subsequently, the AAP councillor moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the operation of the notification that has been or may be issued for appointment of Manoj Sonkar as mayor.

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