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Electoral bonds case : 'SBI' in the case of electoral bonds details, 'highest' blow, application for extension rejected | leader

Leader Online Desk : Today (March 11) the Supreme Court gave an important decision in the matter of Electoral Bond details. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud rejected an application seeking extension of time by the State Bank of India (SBI) till June 30 to release election bond details. It also asked the bank to submit the election bond details by March 12 or face contempt action. (Electoral bonds case : Supreme Court hearing on SBI's plea) Also, the name of the purchaser of electoral bonds, the value of the bonds and the bonds redeemed by the respective political parties should be given to the Election Commission. The Supreme Court has also made it clear that both the sets of details need not match.

Common Cause and Communist Party of India (Marxist) had filed contempt petitions against SBI Chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara. The SBI had sought additional time till June 30 to provide details of the information, saying that it had to compile and decode information related to the sale of 22,217 electoral bonds. (Electoral bonds case : Supreme Court hearing on SBI's plea) Today, a hearing was held in the Supreme Court before a bench of Chief Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud, Justice Sanjeev Khanna, BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra.

Arguing on behalf of 'SBI', senior lawyer Harish Salve said that we have complete information about who bought the bonds. It also has complete details of how many bonds each political party has. We need some time to comply with the order passed by the Supreme Court regarding the details of the election ban.

What steps did you take in 26 days? : Question of the Chief Justice

On the arguments of Harish Salvi, Chief Justice Chandrachud clarified that we have given our verdict on February 15. Today, on March 11, we are again hearing the details of the election ban. What steps have you taken in the last 26 days? You have not said anything about this. This should have been disclosed. We expect some clarity from State Bank of India.”

… so the details can be given in three weeks : Adv. Salve

On this, Salve said that it is necessary to ensure that we do not make any mistake while giving the details regarding the election bond. If we give details in haste, mistakes may happen. Justice Sanjiv Khanna of the bench clarified that, “You have 'KYC'. You are the number one bank in the country. We expect you to handle it”.

Adv. Salve did it. Also we have no difficulty in collating the details with election cash bought and cashed by political parties; But it will take time to connect the relevant electoral ashes with political parties, he added. He also testified that if there is no need to link the details of election bond buyers with political parties, we can provide the details to the Election Commission within 3 weeks.

'SBI' only has to open the sealed cover

'SBI' wants to open only the sealed envelopes of election bonds. Details to be gathered. The bench also clarified that this information has to be submitted to the Election Commission. SBI has mentioned in its application itself that details of election bond donors are available separately. Besides, the instructions published by SBI state that the buyer should submit KYC documents while purchasing electoral bonds. One set of documents (Election Bond Application, KYC Document and Payment in Slip) can be used to purchase only one Election Bond. Those having SBI account also need not submit proof of payment through EB application, KYC docs and NEFT/Cheque/DD. Thus, the details of the electoral bonds purchased are easily available, the court also heard.

It is mandatory for SBI to provide information after court order

As per Section 7 of the Electoral Bond Scheme, the information provided by the purchaser of Electoral Bonds shall be treated as confidential. However, it has been clarified that it will be disclosed only if the competent court asks to provide information in this regard. As a result, it is now mandatory for us to disclose the election withholding information as per the order given to SBI, the bench also clarified in today's hearing.

The Supreme Court had given a historic verdict that the election ban was unconstitutional

On February 15, 2024, the Supreme Court struck down the Electoral Bond Scheme. Also, the court clarified that this process is unconstitutional and ordered the Election Commission to provide information about the donors and the amount given by them. (Electoral Bonds: Supreme Court hearing on SBI's plea)

'SBI' was ordered to disclose the details

Ordering the immediate closure of the Electoral Bond scheme, the Supreme Court had directed SBI to submit the details of all electoral bonds purchased from April 12, 2019 till now to the Election Commission by March 6. At the same time, the Election Commission was directed to provide this information on its official website by March 13. Meanwhile, 'SBI' had on March 4 filed a petition seeking an extension till June 30 to release the details of the electoral bonds.

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