Electoral Bonds Disclosures: State Bank of India racing against time to meet today’s deadline, says report

SBI management has directed its transaction banking marketing department based in Mumbai to ‘hurry up’ to meet the SC's deadline, as per reports

Livemint, Written By Jocelyn Fernandes
Published12 Mar 2024, 08:35 AM IST
SBI's senior advocate, Harish Salve had sought additional time, citing difficulties in correlating donor details with political bond information.
SBI’s senior advocate, Harish Salve had sought additional time, citing difficulties in correlating donor details with political bond information. (File Image)

After the Supreme Court dismissed the State Bank of India's request for an extended deadline to provide electoral bonds data, SBI is now pressed for time to meet the apex court's orders by the end of working hours today (March 12).

SBI's management has directed the overseeing department — the transaction banking marketing department based in Mumbai to "hurry up" and "complete the task at the earliest" to meet the SC's deadline, Moneycontrol reported citing sources.

Also Read | Electoral Bonds: 5 key highlights of SC verdict rejecting SBI's time-extension plea to disclose details

SC Rejects SBI Plea for Bond Details Deadline Extension

Led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, the SC's five-judge constitutional bench, on March 11 dismissed SBI's request for additional time to reveal information about electoral bond buyers. It has directed India's largest lender to disclose the required details by the close of business hours on March 12.

The bench also requested an affidavit from SBI's CMD Dinesh Kumar Khara, to confirm compliance with the court's directives, indicating that contempt proceedings would be initiated if the deadline is not met.

The court said that matching names of electoral bond buyers with specific political parties was unnecessary adding that information on purchasers, bond denominations, and redemptions by political parties is readily available with the bank and should be disclosed without further delay.

WATCH | Electoral Bonds Row: 'What Were You Doing For 26 Days?'; SC Dismisses SBI's Extension Plea

ECI Ordered to Publish Bond Details

In addition, the SC has also ordered the Election Commission of India (ECI) to publish details of electoral bonds on its website by March 15. The details include donor particulars, bond amounts, and comprehensive information on credited amounts.

SBI's senior advocate, Harish Salve, sought additional time, citing difficulties in correlating donor details with political bond information. CJI Chandrachud clarified that the court's directive was for disclosure, not a matching exercise.

Legal experts suggest that the Supreme Court's order provides a breather for the government. SBI is instructed to provide two separate sets of details, namely the name of the purchaser and the bond denomination redeemed by political parties.

Also Read | ‘Tough stand, excellent..,' See how leaders react to Supreme Court directing SBI to disclose details of electoral bonds

Background: Electoral Bond Scheme and Court's Directive

The SC's unanimous judgement striking down electoral bonds on February 15 marked the end of the controversial scheme. At the time of judgement, the apex court had directed SBI to provide bond details to the ECI by March 6, and the EC was to publish this information on its website by March 13.

SBI's failure to meet the deadline came after a plea for an extension until June 30, citing the complexity of decoding, compiling, and comparing information sets from two distinct silos.

Introduced in the 2017 Union budget, the electoral bonds scheme allowed anonymous donations to political parties. Critics argued it violated citizens' right to know party funding. A total of 16,518.11 crore was donated through electoral bonds between March 2018 and January 2024, according to the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

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First Published:12 Mar 2024, 08:35 AM IST
HomeNewsIndiaElectoral Bonds Disclosures: State Bank of India racing against time to meet today’s deadline, says report

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