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Business News/ News / India/  Electoral bonds row: SBI refuses to share information on its guidelines in RTI reply
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Electoral bonds row: SBI refuses to share information on its guidelines in RTI reply

Earlier, seeking information regarding the SOPs laid down by the bank for the electoral bonds scheme, noted activist Anjali Bhardwaj had filed a petition under Right To Information (RTI) Act.

SBI headquarters in Mumbai.Premium
SBI headquarters in Mumbai.

A week after the Supreme Court pulled the State Bank of India regarding the electoral bonds issue, the country's largest lender refused to disclose details of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for issuing to its branches regarding the sale and redemption of bonds under the now-scrapped scheme, as reported by NDTV on 2 April.

Seeking information regarding the SOPs laid down by the bank for the electoral bonds scheme, noted activist Anjali Bhardwaj had filed a petition under Right To Information (RTI) Act.

In response, the bank via SBI's Deputy General Manager M Kanna Babu said that SOPs were internal guidelines. Also, the SBI stated that the information regarding them are exempted from disclosure under the Section 8(1)(d) of the RTI law.

ALSO READ: New heights of hypocrisy’: PM Modi slammed by Congress’ Jairam Ramesh for trying to ‘cover up’ electoral bond ‘scam’

"This section relates to information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information," NDTV quoted the RTI reply as noting.

Following this, the petitioner said in a statement that the SBI has "blandly invoked the exemption clause without demonstrating how the disclosure would 'harm the competitive position of a third party", adding, she will challenge her appeal.

According to details, the latest development arrived a week after the Supreme Court pulled up SBI for the delay in sharing details of electoral bonds with the Election Commission of India.

The apex court had on February 15 announced the landmark verdict scrapping the poll bonds scheme. The bench – headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud – cited the scheme violates the citizens' right to information. CJI Chandrachud said the scheme was unconstitutional and arbitrary, adding it may to a quid pro quo arrangement between political parties and donors.

ALSO READ: 'Don't shout at me': CJI Chandrachud tells advocate during electoral bonds hearing

The SBI had sought three months time to share the data, but the apex court bench refused its request and asked them to make the data public within two days.

Apart from this, the Supreme Court even warned the SBI that it will initiate contempt proceedings against it if the PSB did not disclose the data at the earliest.

Soon after this, the SBI shared the data, but failed to disclose the the bond numbers. After the Supreme Court reprimanded it, the SBI shared the details and filed an affidavit declaring that it had disclosed all information related to the poll bonds scheme.

With agency inputs.

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Published: 02 Apr 2024, 05:18 PM IST
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