SBI moves SC seeking extension of time for making public details of electoral bonds

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 04, 2024 IST

SBI

New Delhi, March 4: The State Bank of India (SBI) has moved the Supreme Court seeking extension of time, until June 30, for making public the details of Electoral Bonds purchased until now.

In the application, the SBI said that "decoding" of the Electoral Bonds and the matching of the donor to the donations would be a complex process as stringent measures were undertaken to ensure that the identity of the donors was kept anonymous.

"It is submitted that the data related to the issuance of the bond and the data related to the redemption of the bond was kept recorded in two different silos. No central database was maintained. This was done so as to ensure that donors’ anonymity would be protected," it said.

It said that donor details were kept in a sealed cover at the designated branches and all such sealed covers were deposited in its Mumbai main branch.

Further, it said that each political party was required to maintain a designated account where electoral bonds received by that party could be deposited and redeemed and at the time of redemption, the original bond, and the pay-in slip would be stored in a sealed cover and sent to the Mumbai main branch.

It can thus be noted that both sets of information were being stored independently of each other and to re-match them would be a task requiring a significant amount of effort, added the application. It said that the retrieval of information from each silo and the procedure of matching the information of one silo to that of the other would be a time-consuming exercise and the timeline of three weeks would not be sufficient for the entire exercise to be completed.

On February 15, a 5-judge Constitution Bench struck down the Electoral Bonds Scheme, 2018 as unconstitutional and ordered the SBI to forthwith stop their issuance.

It had asked the SBI to submit details (like date of purchase, the name of the purchaser and the denomination) of the Electoral Bonds purchased since April 2019 to the Election Commission by March 6 for publication on the official website of the poll body.

"SBI must disclose details of each Electoral Bond encashed by political parties which shall include the date of encashment and the denomination of the Electoral Bond. SBI shall submit the above information to the ECI within three weeks from the date of this judgment, that is, by March 6, 2024," it had said.

 (IANS) 

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