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"Thank you SC for saving democracy in these difficult times": Kejriwal on Chandigarh mayor election verdict

New Delhi: Hours after the Supreme Court declared Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Councillor Kuldeep Kumar as the winner of the Chandigarh Mayoral polls, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal thanked the apex court for "saving democracy in difficult times".

"Thank you SC for saving democracy in these difficult times!" Kejriwal said in a post on X.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra on Tuesday quashed the decision by Returning Officer Anil Masih by which be declared BJP candidate Manoj Kumar Sonkar as Chandigarh Mayor on January 30.

The order of the apex court came as it found that the Returning Officer had deliberately defaced eight ballots that were cast in favour of Kuldeep Kumar so as to make them invalid.

The apex court today physically examined the ballot papers and found that they are not defaced. It directed that Kuldeep Kumar be elected as mayor with 20 votes (12 votes which he received and eight defaced by Masih).

"The eight votes which were treated as invalid by making those markings... counting the eight votes for the petitioner (AAP candidate Kumar) will make him have 20 votes. We direct that the election result by the Returning Officer is quashed. The petitioner is declared to be the winner of the Chandigarh mayoral polls," the bench said in its order.

It further directed the Registrar Judicial to issue notice to Anil Masih for perjury proceedings under Section 340 CrPC for making a false statement before the court that the mark was made on eight ballots as they were defaced.

The bench slammed Masih saying he had "unlawfully altered the course of the mayoral election"

The apex court during the hearing noted that eight ballots were cast in favour of the AAP Mayor candidate. 

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