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SBI complies with Supreme Court direction to submit data on electoral bonds to ECI

12:14 AM Mar 14, 2024 IST | GK NEWS SERVICE
sbi complies with supreme court direction to submit data on electoral bonds to eci
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New Delhi, Mar 13: The State Bank of India (SBI) announced its compliance with the Supreme Court's mandate to submit vital information regarding electoral bonds to the Election Commission of India (ECI).

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This comes after a five-judge Constitution bench, spearheaded by Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, dismissed SBI's plea on March 11 to extend the deadline for furnishing these details, asserting that SBI faced potential contempt of court charges if it persisted in non-compliance beyond a given deadline.

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The bank, in a proactive move, submitted a comprehensive compliance affidavit today, assuring the Court and the ECI of its adherence to the directives. The affidavit delineated crucial information, including the date of purchase for each electoral bond, purchaser names, and bond denominations.

Additionally, it encapsulated details regarding bond encashment dates, political party recipients, and corresponding bond denominations. The submission revealed that a staggering total of 22,217 bonds were purchased between April 1, 2019, and February 15, 2024, with 22,030 of them duly redeemed.

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The affidavit unveiled that electoral bonds not encashed within the 15-day validity window had been transferred to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, showcasing a commitment to transparency and adherence to legal provisions.

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The journey to this compliance was fraught with legal intricacies. Following the Supreme Court's unanimous ruling on February 15, which annulled the Electoral Bonds Scheme, SBI was tasked with disclosing the details of political party contributions via electoral bonds from April 12, 2019. The Court, in its judgment, mandated SBI to furnish specifics of each bond transaction, including purchaser identities and redemption details, by March 6.

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Despite SBI's subsequent plea for an extension till June 30, citing logistical challenges in decoding and matching donor information, the apex court, on March 11, rebuffed this request and directed SBI to adhere to the initial deadline.

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During the proceedings, the Court expressed dismay over the delay in compliance and criticized an Assistant General Manager's application to alter the bench's order. SBI, in its defence, elucidated the complexities involved in retrieving decentralized information and maintaining donor anonymity, stressing the intricate nature of the decoding process.

Meanwhile, the petitioners in the electoral bonds case, namely the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI (M)), had filed contempt petitions against SBI for alleged non-compliance, adding a layer of legal complexity to the matter.

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