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Chandigarh mayoral polls: SC to hear AAP plea for urgent hearing Today

BJP swept the polls, retaining all three posts, a setback to the Congress-AAP alliance that alleged tampering with ballot papers by the presiding officer

New Delhi, EW, News: The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday an AAP councilor’s plea challenging a Punjab and Haryana High Court order that refused to grant any interim relief to the party seeking fresh mayoral polls in Chandigarh. A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra are likely to hear the matter.

The case was mentioned by senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for councilor Kuldeep Kumar, a candidate for the mayor’s post on Friday seeking an urgent hearing. The BJP swept the Chandigarh mayoral polls, retaining all three posts, a setback to the Congress-AAP alliance that alleged tampering with ballot papers by the presiding officer.

On Wednesday, a division bench of Justices Sudhir Singh and Harsh Bunger of the high court denied interim relief to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which alleged that ballot papers had been tampered with and sought fresh polls under the supervision of a retired judge of the court. The high court issued notices to the Chandigarh administration, the municipal corporation, presiding officer Anil Masih, and newly-elected mayor Manoj Sonkar, among others, asking them to file their replies within three weeks.

AAP councilor Kumar filed the appeal in the top court against the denial of interim relief and listing of the plea after three weeks. The matter was adjourned till February 26 in the high court. According to the plea filed in the high court, the AAP candidate has sought directions for holding fresh polls in a free and fair manner under the supervision of a retired judge to ensure “no malpractice”. The plea says it was filed as the “election was not held in a free and fair manner and there was a gross violation while counting of votes, with tampering of the ballot papers and then declaring them invalid, in the favour of BJP and against the alliance of AAP and Congress”.

The petitioner sought an investigation by an independent agency into the “entire fraud” committed during the election process and has also sought directions to the respondents to seal, preserve, and present before the high court the entire process of the election, including the record of the ballot papers and proceedings of the election process and videography done on Tuesday.

The petitioner has also sought directions to restrain the newly-elected mayor from discharging his functions as the entire process of election was allegedly “vitiated by fraud”. The Congress and the AAP had predicted an easy victory for their alliance in the 35-member Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, projecting it as an early test for the INDIA opposition bloc ahead of the Lok Sabha election.

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