Electoral Bonds: CJI Insists on Compliance with Verdict Amid SBI's Concerns Over Identifying Donors

Supreme Court Reviews SBI's Request on Electoral Bond Disclosures

On March 11, the Supreme Court considered a request from the State Bank of India (SBI) for an extension until June 30 to disclose details related to electoral bond donations to political parties. This follows the recent discontinuation of the scheme.

Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud highlighted to SBI that the court had only sought straightforward disclosure, not a detailed comparison, urging compliance with the court's directive. The bank expressed the complexity involved in reversing its process to meet this request.

Emphasizing the importance of transparency, Chief Justice Chandrachud questioned SBI's progress in the 26 days following the court's order, pointing out the bank's capability to provide the required details given the KYC procedures already in place for every bond purchase.

A separate plea for initiating contempt proceedings against SBI was also reviewed, accusing the bank of intentionally disregarding the Supreme Court’s mandate to submit electoral bond donation details to the Election Commission by March 6.

The Supreme Court had earlier declared the anonymous political funding through electoral bonds as unconstitutional on February 15, demanding that the Election Commission publish details of donors, donations, and recipients by March 13. SBI was directed to provide these details since April 12, 2019, to the Election Commission for public disclosure.

Following its request for an extension, NGOs Association for Democratic Reforms and Common Cause filed a petition for contempt proceedings against SBI, alleging a deliberate delay in the disclosure ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

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