Chandigarh Mayoral Polls: AAP Councillor Moves SC against Denial of Interim Relief in HC

A councillor of the AAP has moved the Supreme Court challenging a Punjab and Haryana High Court order that has refused to grant any interim relief to the party seeking fresh mayoral polls in Chandigarh.

A division bench of Justices Sudhir Singh and Harsh Bunger of the high court denied interim relief on Wednesday to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which had alleged tampering with ballot papers and sought fresh polls under the supervision of a retired judge of the court.

The high court issued a notice on the plea to the Chandigarh administration and sought its response within three weeks.

AAP councillor Kuldeep Kumar, who was the candidate for the mayor’s post, has filed the appeal in the top court against the denial of interim relief and listing of the plea after three weeks.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept the Chandigarh mayoral polls, retaining all three posts, in a setback to the Congress-AAP alliance that has alleged tampering with ballot papers by the presiding officer.

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 then to file their replies within 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”.

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The petitioner has sought an investigation by an independent agency into the “entire fraud” committed during the election process.

The petitioner 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 “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. But the BJP retained all three top posts for which the polls were held.

Opposition councillors alleged tampering with the ballot papers by presiding officer Masih, a charge rejected by him and the BJP.

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