SBI tells Supreme Court it has furnished Electoral Bonds’ number and purchaser details to ECI

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The State Bank of India (SBI) on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that is has submitted all electoral bonds data including the alpha-numeric identification details attached to such bonds, to the Election Commission of India (ECI) [Association for Democratic Reforms and Anr vs Union of India Cabinet Secretary and ors].

In a fresh affidavit filed in compliance with the apex court’s March 18 order, SBI stated all necessary information has been furnished to the poll body.

The affidavit said the following:

“It bears repetition that the SBI is now revealing information [along with that already disclosed] which will show:-

a. The name of the purchaser of the bond;

b. The denomination and specific number of the bond;

c. The name of the party that has encashed the bond;

d. Last four digits of the bank account number of political parties;

e. The denomination and number of the bond encashed.”

The ECI now has to upload the data on its website, as per the Supreme Court’s directions.

The electoral bonds scheme had allowed donors to anonymously send funds to a political party after buying bearer bonds from SBI.

It was introduced introduced through the Finance Act, 2017, which in turn amended three other statutes – the Reserve Bank of India Act, the Income Tax Act and the Representation of People Act.

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

Nearly seven years later, on February 15, the Court quashed the Electoral Bonds Scheme and directed SBI to submit the details of the political parties that have received contributions through such bonds from April 12, 2019, to the Election Commission of India (ECI).

The Supreme Court subsequently rejected the request by the SBI for an extension on March 11, and directed that the following details of each electoral bonds purchased be furnished;

– Name of purchaser;

– Denomination of electoral bonds; and

– Details of each electoral bond redeemed by political parties including the date of encashment.

Later, the Court noted on March 15 that the SBI had not disclosed the bond numbers.

It, therefore, passed directions on March 18 to the SBI to disclose all relevant information concerning electoral bonds including the details of alpha numeric numbers attached to such bonds.

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