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SC Orders SBI To Disclose Unique Electoral Bond Data

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 18, Mar 2024, 17:00 pm IST | UPDATED: 18, Mar 2024, 17:00 pm IST

SC Orders SBI To Disclose Unique Electoral Bond Data

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday mandated that the State Bank of India (SBI) must fully disclose all particulars associated with electoral bonds, specifically the unique numbers of the bonds, which are essential to identify the connection between the purchasers and the political parties receiving the funds. This disclosure is to be completed by March 21. The directive came from a five-judge constitution bench led by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, who unequivocally stated that SBI is obligated to provide all bond-related information.

The bench instructed the SBI chairman to submit a sworn declaration by 5 pm on March 21, affirming that the bank has complied with the full disclosure requirement.

The bench, which includes Justices Sanjiv Khanna, B R Gavai, J B Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra, emphasized that SBI is not at liberty to withhold any information and must reveal every detail within its knowledge, including the unique bond numbers that establish the link between the bond buyers and the beneficiary political parties.

The bench reminded that the Supreme Court’s ruling on the electoral bonds case had already ordered the bank to reveal all bond details and that no further instructions should be necessary for this matter.

The SBI must not exercise selectivity in what it discloses; all details, including the electoral bond numbers, were to be made public,” the bench stated verbally during the proceedings.

Previously, the Supreme Court had served a notice to SBI, questioning why it had not disclosed the unique alphanumeric identifiers as per the court’s instructions, highlighting that the bank is legally bound to do so.

On April 12, 2019, the Supreme Court had passed an interim order that required political parties to confidentially submit information regarding received and forthcoming donations to the Election Commission.

Furthermore, on February 15, the Supreme Court delivered a historic judgment, declaring the Centre’s electoral bonds scheme, which permitted anonymous political donations, as unconstitutional. The court ordered the Election Commission to disclose the identities of donors, the amounts donated, and the recipients by March 13.

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