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SBI cannot provide information to voters, issue unique code for electoral bonds: Supreme Court

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In a significant development, the Supreme Court of India has directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to submit all details of electoral bonds purchased and financed through the State Bank of India (SBI) after April 12, 2019. This includes providing the unique code associated with the bond. The Court emphasized that these details must be published on the ECI’s website immediately upon receipt.

The bench, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, criticized the SBI for not releasing these details earlier, stating that the bank should have understood that all information was to be made public as per the court’s order. The Court clarified that the details to be disclosed should include the alphanumeric number and serial number of the purchased bonds.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing SBI, assured the Court that the bank is willing to provide all necessary details as requested. CJI Chandrachud emphasized that the bank cannot selectively disclose information and should not wait for further orders from the Court.

The move comes after recent disclosures by SBI and ECI, which were found lacking in crucial details necessary for identifying businesses linked to the bonds and the parties receiving the funds. This lack of transparency raised concerns about undisclosed transaction arrangements.

Meanwhile, industry body Assocham has approached the Supreme Court against the public disclosure of certain bond-related numbers. However, the Chief Justice clarified that the Court has not yet received any such submission from Assocham or other entities attempting to intervene in the matter.

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