Photo Credit: Ruby Sharma

The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday ordered the State Bank of India (SBI) to disclose crucial data related to political donations to the Election Commission of India (ECI) by 5 PM on Saturday, March 16. In a significant development, the apex court has allowed the return of documents submitted by the ECI in sealed covers, paving the way for their release and subsequent upload onto the ECI website by March 17.

The Supreme Court’s decision comes in response to the ECI’s request for modification and clarification of the court’s March 11 order. The case sought to address the issue of electoral bonds’ transparency.

The key request made by ECI was the disclosure of unique numbers linking donors to their respective political contributions. The SBI, tasked with managing electoral bonds, faced criticism for failing to disclose this crucial information. However, the Supreme Court’s directive mandated SBI to provide this data by 5 pm tomorrow.

The ECI’s plea for transparency follows its submission of electoral bond details to the Supreme Court, complying with the court’s previous orders. The SBI confirmed in an affidavit that 22,217 electoral bonds were purchased and 22,030 redeemed by political parties between April 1, 2019, and February 15, 2024.

Earlier attempts by SBI to seek an extension to furnish electoral bond details were rebuffed by the SC, which instructed the bank to disclose the information to the ECI promptly. Dismissing SBI’s plea for an extension until June 30, 2024, the court upheld the ECI’s obligation to publish the details on its website by March 15, a deadline that has been met.

First Published: Mar 15 2024 | 11:19 AM IST

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