DC Edit | SC flags threat to democracy

The Supreme Court’s intervention in the Chandigarh mayoral election calling it “murder” and “mockery of democracy” is a welcome move but the fact remains that people in responsible positions have no compunction in employing wanton ways of torpedoing democratic process and it would take the apex court to step in and offer an interim relief.

The visuals of the BJP councillor who was elected the presiding officer for the mayoral election on January 30 tampering with the ballots had gone viral on social media. The election saw the BJP candidate win with 16 votes against the 12 of the AAP-Congress combine after eight votes of the combine were invalidated after being defaced.

The Supreme Court was appalled by the act of the presiding officer and ordered his personal appearance to explain his conduct during the next hearing but it is equally appalling that Punjab and Haryana high court had failed to appreciate the gross nature of his act. While the Supreme Court counted “the purity of the election process” “the great stabilising force in the country”, the high court had none of it even when the affected party moved it alleging that ballot papers had been tampered with and sought fresh polls under the supervision of a retired judge of the court. The Supreme Court was constrained to observe that “an appropriate interim order was warranted which high court has failed to do”. It may be noted that the apex court has directed the high court administration to take possession of all the records and documents along with the video recordings and ordered deferment of the presentation of the Chandigarh Corporation budget, scheduled for February 7.

Democracy has put in places systems of checks and balances with the understanding that people could go wrong. We must stop and ponder over the functioning of those systems if it takes the highest court of the land to step in and stop what it calls “murder of democracy”.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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