SC directs SBI to make complete disclosure of electoral bonds details by Mar 21

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the State Bank of India to make a complete disclosure of all details related to electoral bonds, including the unique bond numbers that would disclose the link between the buyer and the recipient political party, by March 21.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said there is “no manner of doubt” that the SBI is required to disclose complete details of the bonds.

It directed the SBI chairman to file an affidavit before it by 5 pm on March 21 indicating that the bank has disclosed all the details.

During the hearing, the bench, also comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna, B R Gavai, J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, observed that the SBI can’t be selective and has to disclose all “conceivable” electoral bond details in its possession, including unique bond numbers that would disclose the link between the buyer and the recipient political party.

The bench said the apex court had, in its verdict in the electoral bonds case, asked the bank to disclose all the details of the bonds and it should not wait for further orders on this aspect.

“We had asked all details to be disclosed by the SBI which includes electoral bond numbers as well. Let SBI not be selective in disclosure,” the bench orally said during the hearing.

Last week, the top court issued a notice to the country’s largest bank to explain the reasons for the non-disclosure of unique alphanumeric numbers in compliance with its directions, saying the SBI was “duty bound” to reveal them.

On April 12, 2019, the apex court issued an interim order directing that the information about the donations received and donations which will be received must be submitted by political parties to the EC in a sealed cover.

In its landmark verdict on February 15, the top court had scrapped the Centre’s electoral bonds scheme that allowed anonymous political funding, calling it “unconstitutional” and ordered disclosure by the EC of donors, the amount donated by them and the recipients by March 13.