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SBI Submits Data on Electoral Bonds to EC

In its February 15 judgement, the apex court had set the deadline for SBI as March 6, however, the SBI last week moved the top court seeking an extension till June 30 to comply with the court’s directions….reports Asian Lite News

Complying with the Supreme Court’s directions, the State Bank of India supplied the data on electoral bonds to the Election Commission of India, the poll body said on Tuesday.

In a post on X, the Election Commission of India said, “In compliance with the Supreme Court’s directions to the SBI, contained in its order dated Feb 15 and March 11, 2024 (in the matter of WPC NO.880 of 2017), data on electoral bonds has been supplied by State Bank of India to Election Commission of India, today, March 12, 2024.”

Earlier a five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra ordered that the details be disclosed by the bank on March 12.

In its February 15 judgement, the apex court had set the deadline for SBI as March 6, however, the SBI last week moved the top court seeking an extension till June 30 to comply with the court’s directions.

Passing the order on SBI’s application today, the bench ordered, “Submissions of SBI in the application indicates that information sought is readily available. Thus, the application by SBI seeking an extension of time until June 30 is dismissed. SBI is directed to disclose the details by the close of business hours of March 12, 2024.”

The Constitution bench also warned the SBI of contempt of court against it for wilfully disobeying its order in the event of non-compliance with the latest directions.

The Supreme Court had struck down the Electoral Bonds Scheme which allowed for anonymous funding to political parties, and ordered the SBI to stop issuing Electoral Bonds immediately.

SCBA Seeks Presidential Reference

Senior advocate and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Adish C. Aggarwala on Tuesday urged President Droupadi Murmu to seek a presidential reference of the Constitution Bench judgement in the Electoral Bonds case.

In his letter written on the letterhead of the All India Bar Association, Aggarwala said that revealing the names of corporates would render them vulnerable to victimisation by those parties which had received less contribution from them and would have a chilling effect on corporate donations and participation in the democratic process.

“Besides drying up further donations, such an act (of disclosing names of corporates and their quantum of contributions to various parties) would discourage and dissuade foreign corporate entities from setting shops in India or participating in the democratic process but contributing to winning horses,” he said in the letter to President Murmu.

It added that if the Constitution Bench judgment is enforced by retrospectively releasing all sensitive information, the same will “shatter the reputation the nation enjoys in the international arena”.

“I, therefore, request your good self to withhold the enforcement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment in the Electoral Bonds case by seeking a Presidential Reference on the matter. Till the Reference is heard and answered, the Hon’ble Supreme Court shall not give effect to its verdict of March 11, 2024,” he said in the letter.

Article 143 of the Constitution confers advisory jurisdiction on the Supreme Court and provides for the power of the President to consult the apex court on a question of law or fact of public importance.

On Monday, a Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, ordered the State Bank of India (SBI) to disclose the information on encashed Electoral Bonds to the Election Commission by Tuesday.

“As regards, the Election Commission of India, we direct that the ECI shall compile the information and publish the details on its official website no later than by 5 pm on 15 March 2024,” ordered the 5-judge Bench, also comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna, B.R. Gavai, J.B. Padriwala and Manoj Misra. (ANI/IANS)

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