News Karnataka
Tuesday, April 23 2024
Cricket
India

SBI :22,217 Electoral Bonds Bought From 2019-24, Of Which 22,030 Redeemed

SBI
Photo Credit : News Karnataka

Two days following a reprimand from the Supreme Court regarding the electoral bonds case, the State Bank of India (SBI) has submitted an affidavit today, notifying the Election Commission of India (EC) that it has provided data concerning the bonds. According to the compliance affidavit submitted by SBI, the data has been handed over to the electoral body on a pen drive, contained within two password-protected PDF files.

In its affidavit, SBI disclosed that a total of 22,217 electoral bonds were issued between April 2019 and February 15, 2024, prior to the Supreme Court’s annulment of the scheme. Of these, political parties cashed in 22,030 bonds. The residual 187 bonds were also redeemed, with the funds deposited into the Prime Minister’s national relief fund, in accordance with regulations.

The now-defunct electoral bonds scheme allowed donors to purchase bonds for donation to their preferred parties, with the stipulation that parties must redeem the bonds within 15 days; otherwise, the amount would be directed to the Prime Minister’s relief fund.

In its groundbreaking ruling on February 15, the Supreme Court declared the electoral bonds scheme “unconstitutional” and pointed out that it “infringes upon citizens’ right to information, regarding potential quid pro quo between donors and political parties.”

SBI was instructed to cease issuing bonds immediately and furnish donation details to the EC for public disclosure.

The court had set a deadline of March 6 for SBI to furnish the data, with the EC directed to make it public by March 13. However, SBI requested an extension until June 30, which was contested by the Association for Democratic Reforms, one of the petitioners against the electoral bonds scheme.

On Monday, the court rejected SBI’s plea and mandated the bank to share the details by Tuesday. The EC has now been tasked with uploading the data on its website by 5 pm on Friday.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve, representing SBI, explained that the bank had followed a standard operating procedure (SOP) to maintain information regarding the electoral bonds scheme outside the core banking system. “I possess comprehensive details on bond purchasers, including the source of funds and the respective political parties’ contributions. Additionally, I must now disclose the purchasers’ identities. The names need to be compiled and cross-checked with the bond numbers,” Salve stated.

In response, the court clarified that it had not instructed the bank to correlate donors with the amounts received by political parties. “We haven’t tasked you with this matching exercise. Therefore, requesting additional time on the pretext of needing to perform such a task is unwarranted; we haven’t directed you to do so,” remarked Chief Justice DY Chandrachud.

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