Electoral bonds: Key Supreme Court hearing today as SBI, NGO file petitions | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Electoral bonds: Key Supreme Court hearing today as SBI, NGO file petitions | 10 points

Mar 11, 2024 09:32 AM IST

Electoral bonds case: A Supreme Court bench, headed by CJI DY Chandrachud, will assemble at 10.30am to hear the two petitions.

All eyes will be on the Supreme Court on Monday, March 11, as it will hear the application filed by the State Bank of India (SBI) seeking an extension till June 30 to disclose details of each electoral bond encashed by political parties before the scheme was scrapped last month.

A view of the Supreme Court of India (AFP)
A view of the Supreme Court of India (AFP)

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud will also hear a separate petition seeking initiation of contempt action against the SBI alleging that it “wilfully and deliberately” disobeyed the top court's direction to submit details of the contributions made to political parties through electoral bonds to the Election Commission of India by March 6.

Electoral bonds case in Supreme Court: Top updates

  1. The Supreme Court bench, also comprising justices Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra, will assemble at 10.30am to hear the two petitions.
  2. On February 15, a five-judge constitution bench invalidated the Centre's electoral bonds scheme, deeming it "unconstitutional," and mandated the Election Commission of India (ECI) to disclose donor information, donation amounts, and recipients by March 13.
  3. Subsequently, the court directed the SBI, the designated financial institution for the scheme, to furnish details of electoral bonds purchased from April 12, 2019, onward to the ECI by March 6.
  4. The ECI was then tasked with publishing this information on its official website by March 13.
  5. However, on March 4, the SBI filed a petition in the Supreme Court for an extension until June 30 to reveal details of encashed electoral bonds, citing the time-consuming process of retrieving and cross-referencing data from various sources.
  6. Additionally, NGOs Association for Democratic Reforms and Common Cause filed a separate plea, urging the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the bank for allegedly disobeying the apex court's order.
  7. The plea contended that the timing of SBI's application was deliberate, aiming to withhold donor and donation amount details from the public before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
  8. The plea claimed that electoral bonds are “completely traceable” which is evident from the fact that SBI maintains a secret number-based record of donors who buy bonds and the political parties they donate to. The contempt petition also said any form of anonymity in the finances of political parties goes against the essence of participatory democracy and people's right to know enshrined under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
  9. The petition emphasised that the availability of information regarding electoral bonds is crucial for voters to make informed decisions, underscoring the importance of transparency in the electoral process.
  10. Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal, leading the argument for the petitioners in the Supreme Court case against the electoral bonds scheme, on Sunday criticised SBI's grounds for seeking an extension as “baseless”. He highlighted the court's duty to uphold its integrity and suggested that accepting the bank's plea would undermine the constitutional bench's judgment.

(With inputs from PTI)

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