The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Councillor Anil Masih on Friday tendered an unconditional apology before the Supreme Court for his actions as the former presiding officer of the Chandigarh mayoral election on January 30, Bar and Bench reported.

The court had, on February 5, verbally remarked that Masih should be prosecuted for defacing and invalidating eight ballot papers during the mayoral polls.

During the elections, Manoj Sonkar from the BJP bagged 16 votes and defeated Kuldeep Kumar Tita, the joint candidate fielded by the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress, who secured 12 votes in the 35-member strong House. However, Sonkar’s victory became possible only after Masih had invalidated the eight votes from the Opposition alliance.

Tita had approached the top court, challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s refusal on January 31 to stay the outcome of the polls.

On February 20, the Supreme Court set aside the result of the mayoral polls declared by Masih, noting that he defaced the ballot papers in order to invalidate them and declare Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate as the winner. The court then declared Tita as the validly elected candidate for the mayor’s post.

The court said that Masih had “unlawfully altered the course of the mayoral election” as it ordered proceedings against him for making false statements before the court. Masih had told the court that he marked the ballot papers to ensure that they did not get mixed with the other papers.

“We have rendered an unconditional apology,” Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for Masih, submitted on Friday before a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra. “I had a long chat with him. He will…surrender to the magnanimity of this court.”

The next hearing in the matter will take place in the second week of July.

In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court on March 15, Masih had denied that he tampered with the election results and claimed to be seeking professional help for depression and “immense trauma” arising from the incessant criticism of his actions, reported The Print.