SBI Must Disclose Electoral Bond Details On March 12: SC   - Vibes Of India

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SBI Must Disclose Electoral Bond Details On March 12: SC  

| Updated: March 11, 2024 12:52

The apex court also told the Election Commission to make the details public on its website by March 15

In a significant development, the Supreme Court of India (SC) has asked the State Bank of India (SBI) to share details of electoral bonds by March 12. It has also directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to make the details public on its website by 5 pm on March 15.

The apex court on Monday rejected SBI’s appeal for time till June 30 to share details of the electoral bonds. It warned the SBI chairman and managing director Dinesh Kumar Khara of contempt of court proceedings if its order is not complied with. 

The apex court has asked SBI to provide two separate sets of details. One, the name of the purchaser of electoral bonds and the denomination of the bonds. Two, bonds redeemed by the respective political parties. SC said both the set of details need not be matched. So, SBI is not required to connect purchaser to party.

‘Details readily available’

The SC said that the SBI had itself mentioned in its application that the donor details and redemption details were available. Besides, KYC documents must be submitted by the purchaser each time a bond is purchased.  

Since one set of documents (electoral bond application form, KYC documents and pay-in slip) can be used only once to purchase an electoral bond, the details of the bonds which have been purchased are readily available, the court observed. 

According to the Supreme Court bench, “Clause 7 of the Electoral bond scheme stipulates that the information furnished by a buyer of the EB shall be treated as confidential and shall be disclosed only when called upon to do so by a competent court or by a registration of offence by a law enforcement agency. Thus in terms of the provisions of the electoral bonds scheme itself SBI is mandated to disclose information when mandated by a Court”.

A five-judge Constitution bench of the SC asked SBI to apprise it about the steps taken so far to ensure disclosure of details. “In the last 26 days, what steps have you taken? Your application is silent on that,” the bench asked.

After hearing SBI’s plea, the apex court said the bank has to just open sealed cover, collate details and give information to ECI. 

Earlier, Harish Salve, representing SBI, said that details can be given to the ECI within three weeks if there is no requirement to link the purchaser details with the parties.

In a landmark judgment last month, the SC scrapped the electoral bond process, calling it “unconstitutional”. The electoral bonds scheme, which was launched by the Modi government, allowed ‘anonymous’ political funding by individuals or companies. SBI was chosen as the authorised financial institution under the scheme. 

Also Read: Petition Filed In SC To Stop Govt From Appointing New EC 

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