Sunday, May 19, 2024

SBI must provide all details on electoral bonds without being selective: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday asked why the State Bank of India (SBI) did not provide “all details” of electoral bonds while hearing the pleas related to the disclosure of unique alphanumeric numbers in compliance of its directions.

“SBI was expected to give every conceivable detail with it regarding the electoral bonds,” said Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud.

The top court was hearing pleas related to the disclosure of details of electoral bonds.

“Your attitude seems to be ‘you tell us to give the details, then we will give’. SBI is not to be selective. SBI has to be candid and fair to the court,” CJI said.

He added that the interim orders on the extent of disclosure of information regarding electoral bonds merge with the final judgment on 15 February, 2024.

The CJI indicated that SBI has to not only provide every scrap on electoral bonds but also file an affidavit that it has not withheld any information. The burden is not on the court or the petitioners to point out that this or the other information has not been disclosed, the CJI said.

Last month, the apex court scrapped the Union government’s electoral bonds scheme that allowed anonymous political funding calling it “unconstitutional” and ordered the SBI to submit the details of the bonds purchased from April 12, 2019 to February 15, 2024 to the Election Commission of India (ECI).

While the SBI was told to submit the details of the bonds purchased from April 12, 2019, to February 15, 2024, to the ECI by March 6, it moved the apex court seeking an extension of time till June 30 to furnish the details. However, the top court trashed the plea and ordered it to disclose the details by the close of business hours on March 12. The ECI was directed to publish the information shared by the bank on its official website by on March 15.

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