SBI Sends All Electoral Bonds Data To Election Commission Day After Supreme Court Rap

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SBI Sends Electoral Bonds Data To Poll Panel Day After Supreme Court Rap

SBI is India’s largest banking institution (File).

New Delhi:

The State Bank of India on Tuesday evening submitted data about electoral bonds to the Election Commission of India, in line with a stern order from the Supreme Court. The data will be collated and released by the poll panel by 5 pm Friday, as the court had ordered. The bank’s Chairman and Managing Director, however, has not yet filed the affidavit confirming compliance with the court order.

The affidavit, NDTV has been told, is ready and will be submitted to the court Wednesday.

The Supreme Court on Monday nixed a plea by the State Bank of India – the country’s largest bank – to extend the March 6 deadline to release this data. A bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud came down strongly on the bank for “willful disobedience” of orders, and warned it of contempt proceedings.

“While we are not inclined to exercise contempt jurisdiction at this time, we place SBI on notice that this court may be inclined to proceed against it for willful disobedience if it does not comply with directions by timelines indicated in this order,” the court had said.

READ | “Disclose Electoral Bonds’ Data By Tomorrow”: Court Junks SBI Plea

The bank argued it would take considerable time to collect, cross-check and release the data, which was stored in two “silos” to maintain confidentiality of both sides. “We need a little more time to comply. We were told this is supposed to be a secret,” the bank said, and asked for time till June 30.

READ | Matching Donor Details Takes Time, SBI Tells Supreme Court

That deadline is well past the completion of the 2024 general election.

In response the Supreme Court pointed out donor details were available at the SBI’s Mumbai branch, and the bank just had to “open covers, collate details and give information”. “We had not told you to do the matching exercise. We have asked you for a plain disclosure,” the Chief Justice rapped SBI.

Last month, in a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court held the electoral bond scheme to be “unconstitutional” and said it violated citizens’ right to information. The SBI had been directed to reveal data by March 6 and the poll panel to make this information public by March 13.

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