EC Uploads SBI-Provided Data On Electoral Bonds On Its Website In Compliance With SC Directions

Date:

New Delhi, Mar 14: The Election Commission said on Thursday that it had in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directions uploaded the data on electoral bonds on its website as received from SBI on “as is where is basis”.
The poll panel issued a press note providing the link on which the data provided by the SBI can be accessed.

“In compliance of Hon’ble Supreme Court’s directions, contained in its order dated Feb 15 and March 11, 2024 (in the matter of WPC NO.880 of 2017), the State Bank of India (SBI) had provided the data pertaining to the electoral bonds to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on March 12, 2024,” the press note said.

“The Election Commission of India has today uploaded the data on electoral bonds on its website as received from SBI on “as is where is basis”. The data as received from SBI can be accessed at this URL:https://eci.gov.in/candidate-politicalparty,” it added.

The poll panel said that it has “consistently and categorically weighed in favour of disclosure and transparency, a position reflected in the proceedings of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and noted in the order also”.

The Chairman of State Bank of India filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on Wednesday apprising that in compliance with the court’s order, the date of purchase of each electoral bond, the name of the purchaser and the denomination of the electoral bond purchased has been furnished to the Election Commission of India.

SBI Chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara, in the affidavit, told the top court that the bank has also furnished the details to the Election Commission regarding the date of encashment of the electoral bonds, the name of political parties who have received the contributions and the denomination of the said bonds.

SBI said that the data has been furnished in respect of bonds purchased and redeemed between April 12, 2019 to February 15, 2024.
A total of 22,217 bonds were purchased during the period April 1, 2019 till February 15, 2024, SBI told the Supreme Court.

“From April 1 to 11, 2019 total number of electoral bonds purchased were 3346 and total number of bonds redeemed were 1609,” the affidavit stated.

SBI further told the apex court that from April 12, 2019 to February 15, 2024 total number of electoral bonds purchased 18,871 and total number of bonds redeemed were 20,421.
The affidavit was filed in compliance of the top court’s direction to the bank to furnish the data of electoral bonds to poll panel by March 12.

The Constitution bench of the top court had warned the SBI of contempt of court against it for wilfully disobeying its order in the event of non-compliance with the latest directions.
On Monday the top court dismissed an application of SBI seeking extension of time till June 30 to submit details of electoral bonds to Election Commission of India and asked the bank to disclose the details by March 12.

The apex court had also directed that Election Commission of India to compile the information to be furnished by the SBI and publish the details on its official website no later than by March 15, 2024, 5 pm.
In its February 15 judgement, the apex court had set the deadline for SBI as March 6. The apex court had said that by March 13, the ECI shall publish the details of electoral bonds on its official website.

The Supreme Court by its February verdict had struck down the electoral bonds scheme which allowed for anonymous funding to political parties, and ordered the SBI to stop issuing of these bonds immediately.

A five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra had unanimously quashed the electoral bonds scheme as well as amendments made to the Income Tax Act and the Representation of People Act which had made the donations anonymous.

It had asked SBI to furnish details and the details about each electoral bond encashed by the political parties, which shall include the date of encashment and the denomination of electoral bond.

An electoral bond is an instrument in the nature of a promissory note or bearer bond which can be purchased by any individual, company, firm or association of persons provided the person or body is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. The bonds are issued specifically for the purpose of contribution of funds to political parties.

Various petitions were filed before the top court challenging amendments made to different statutes through Finance Act 2017 and Finance Act 2016 on the ground that they have opened doors to unlimited, unchecked funding of political parties. (AGENCIES)

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