Electoral bonds case: Should SBI disclose unique numbers? Supreme Court hearing today | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Electoral bonds case: Should SBI disclose unique numbers? Supreme Court hearing today

Mar 18, 2024 10:14 AM IST

Supreme Court pulled up SBI over non-disclosure of the numbers unique to each electoral bond that would help in matching donors with recipient political party..

A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will hear the electoral bonds case on Monday and decide whether the State Bank of India should be directed to disclose the unique numbers of the bonds.

All details have to be furnished by the SBI, CJI DY Chandrachud observed, as the court admonished the SBI for furnishing incomplete information. (Satish Bate/ HT Photo)
All details have to be furnished by the SBI, CJI DY Chandrachud observed, as the court admonished the SBI for furnishing incomplete information. (Satish Bate/ HT Photo)

The bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, justices Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra will hear a plea at 10.30am. On Friday, the Supreme Court pulled up the SBI over non-disclosure of the numbers unique to each electoral bond that would help in matching donors with the recipient political party, saying it was "duty bound" to reveal them.

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The five-judge bench headed by Justice Chandrachud also issued a notice to the country's largest bank to explain the reasons for not revealing the unique alphanumeric numbers in compliance of its directions even as a political row erupted over the electoral bonds scheme. The bench posted the electoral bonds case for a hearing on March 18.

All details have to be furnished by the SBI, Justice Chandrachud observed, as the court admonished the SBI for furnishing incomplete information, a day after the Election Commission of India put out the entire list of entities that purchased electoral bonds for making political donations, news agency PTI reported.

The hearing comes a day after the election commission made public fresh data on electoral bonds, which it had submitted in sealed covers to the Supreme Court and was later asked to put it in public domain. These details are believed to be pertaining to the period before April 12, 2019.

Political parties had filed data on Electoral Bonds in sealed cover as directed by the Supreme Court's interim order dated April 12, 2019, the poll panel said in a statement.

The SBI has said a total of 22,217 electoral bonds of varying denominations were purchased by donors between April 1, 2019 and February 15 this year, out of which 22,030 were redeemed by political parties. Data pertaining to the electoral bonds scheme was made public on Thursday following Supreme Court directions.

"Who is appearing for the SBI? Because, in our judgment, we had directed disclosure specifically of all details of the bonds including the purchaser, the amount and the date of purchase. They have not disclosed the bond numbers. That has to be disclosed by the SBI," the CJI said.

"But, really speaking, we can take exception to what they have disclosed because they were duty-bound."

Future Gaming and Hotel Services – the top purchaser of electoral bonds – donated 509 crore to Tamil Nadu's ruling party DMK through the payment mode, the Election Commission's data showed on Sunday.

While the majority of political parties have solely provided a chronological breakdown of the value of bonds they encashed, 10 recognised parties - AAP, DMK, AIADMK, Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC), Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Samajwadi Party, National Congress Party (NCP), and Janata Dal (United) - have included the names of donors along with the amounts they contributed.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre received the maximum funds through these bonds at 6,986.5 crore since they were introduced in 2018, followed by West Bengal's ruling party Trinamool Congress ( 1,397 crore), Congress ( 1,334 crore) and Bharat Rashtra Samithi ( 1,322 crore), according to the latest data shared by the EC.

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