Kuldeep Kumar vs UT Chandigarh 2024 INSC 129 :: [2024] 2 S.C.R. 693 – Mayor Elections –

Summary : Challenge against electoral malpractices by the presiding officer who conducted the election to the post of Mayor at the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation – Result of the election as declared by the Presiding Officer shall stand quashed and set aside -The appellant, Kuldeep Kumar, is declared to be the validly elected candidate for election as Mayor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation- Registrar (Judicial) directed to issue a notice to show cause to Shri Anil Masih (returning officer) as to why steps should not be initiated against him under Section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973.

Elections – Free and fair elections are a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. Elections at the local participatory level act as a microcosm of the larger democratic structure in the country. Local governments, such as municipal corporations, engage with issues that affect citizens’ daily lives and act as a primary point of contact with representative democracy. The process of citizens electing councillors, who in turn, elect the Mayor, serves as a channel for ordinary citizens to ventilate their grievances through their representatives – both directly and indirectly elected. Ensuring a free and fair electoral process throughout this process, therefore, is imperative to maintain the legitimacy of and trust in representative democracy -In order to maintain the purity of the electoral process, the “little cross” on the “little bit of paper” must be made only by the metaphorical “little man” walking into the “little booth” and no one else.

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