Coming down heavily against rigging of elections, the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) has ordered a woman panchayat councillor to deposit Rs 50,000 to the State Election Commission (SEC) for tearing ballot papers during the counting process.
Delivering the verdict, Justice S Tamilvanan also declared the woman’s rival elected as Vice Chairman of Sedapatti Panchayat Union. Interestingly, a videotape showing the violence during the counting process that was played for the first time in the court hall a couple of days ago, turned out to be crucial evidence in support of petitioner M Srinivasan.
According to Srinivasan, a councillor of Sedappati PU, he had contested for the Vice Chairman’s post opposite Santhakumari. When the votes polled were being counted the results were in his favour. Angered by this, Santhakumari and her supporters destroyed the ballot papers thereby nullifying the polling. He moved the court praying to declare him elected to the post of Vice Chairman and furnished video evidence of the violence.
Accepting the videotaped evidence, Justice Tamilvanan said “There is a clear proof beyond reasonable doubt that M Srinivasan got sufficient votes and he can be the Vice President of Sedapatti PU.” Consequently, he directed the SEC to pass suitable orders declaring Srinivasan as elected.