Supreme Court to Deliberate on SBI’s Request for Extension in Electoral Bonds Disclosure

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New Delhi: In a significant development, the Supreme Court’s Constitution bench, comprising five judges, is set to deliberate on the State Bank of India’s (SBI) plea for an extension of the deadline to disclose detailed information on electoral bonds cashed by political parties. The hearing is scheduled for March 11.

The bench, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, will also consider a separate plea alleging contempt of court by SBI. The petition claims that the bank “deliberately” failed to comply with the Supreme Court’s directive to provide the Election Commission with details of donations received through electoral bonds by the stipulated deadline of March 6.

This follows the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on February 15, which declared the electoral bond scheme “unconstitutional.” The Court had ordered the immediate cessation of the scheme and directed SBI to furnish details of all electoral bonds purchased from April 12, 2019, to the Election Commission by March 6. Additionally, the Election Commission was instructed to make this information public on its website by March 13.

On March 4, SBI approached the apex court requesting an extension until June 30 to fulfill the disclosure requirements. The bank’s application suggests that the process of collating and disclosing the details is time-consuming and complex, given the need to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information.

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The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the electoral bond scheme was based on the principle that voters have a right to be informed about the financial contributions to political parties. The ruling emphasized the importance of transparency in political funding and the potential for anonymous donations to undermine the integrity of the electoral process.

As the nation awaits the Court’s decision on the extension request, the outcome will have significant implications for the transparency of political funding in India.