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Supreme Court denies SBI's plea for extension on electoral bond disclosure deadline

01:58 AM Mar 12, 2024 IST | IANS
supreme court denies sbi s plea for extension on electoral bond disclosure deadline
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New Delhi, Mar 11: The Supreme Court rejected the State Bank of India's (SBI) request for an extension on the deadline for disclosing details regarding electoral bonds.

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The SBI had sought an extension until June 30 to comply with the court's directive but was met with dismissal.

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The top court, presided over by a five-judge Constitution bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, alongside Justices Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra, ordered the SBI to furnish the required information by March 12.

"The submissions of SBI in the application indicate that the 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," stated the Court.

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The apex court's decision comes as part of an ongoing legal battle initiated by the Association for Democratic Reforms and others against the Union of India, challenging the electoral bonds scheme.

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Last month, the Supreme Court struck down the controversial scheme and mandated the disclosure of details pertaining to electoral bonds issued since April 12, 2019.

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Despite the SBI's plea for additional time citing the complexities involved in decoding electoral bonds and cross-referencing donor information, the court firmly stood by its March 12 deadline. T

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The bench emphasized that the information sought by the court was readily available and admonished the SBI, cautioning it against potential contempt proceedings if it fails to adhere to the directives.

"The FAQs indicated that for every purchase there has to be a separate KYC. So you have the details already," remarked Chief Justice Chandrachud, highlighting the existing data possessed by the bank.

The electoral bonds scheme, introduced through the Finance Act of 2017, allowed for anonymous funding of political parties. However, petitions challenging the scheme's transparency and alleging potential misuse prompted the apex court's intervention.

Rejecting the government's claims of transparency, the court ruled that electoral bonds were not an effective measure to curb black money and ordered the disclosure of pertinent details.

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