Election Commission publishes data on electoral bonds , a day before Supreme Court’s deadline

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The Election Commission of India on Thursday published the data on electoral bonds on its website, one day before the Supreme Court’s deadline. The data was published on the site as it was received from the State Bank of India on March 12. The poll body  uploaded all the data in two parts totalling 763 pages of information. The first part of 337 pages has the details of the entities that bought electoral bonds. The second part contains 426 pages that offers details of the political parties.

“In compliance of Hon’ble Supreme Court’s directions, contained in its order dated Feb 15 & March 11, 2024 (in the matter of WPC NO.880 of 2017), the State Bank of India (SBI) had provided the data pertaining to the electoral bonds to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on March 12, 2024,” the poll body said in a press release.

On March 13, the SBI informed the apex court that details of electoral bonds anonymously purchased by contributors and encashed by political parties between April 2019 and February 15, 2024, were hand-delivered to the Election Commission of India (ECI) in order to facilitate public disclosure of political funding.

“The Election Commission of India has today uploaded the data on electoral bonds on its website as received from SBI on “as is where is basis”. The data as received from SBI can be accessed at this url: https://www.eci.gov.in/candidate-politicalparty,” the release said.

On February 15, the Supreme Court struck down the electoral bonds scheme and asked the SBI, which was the authorised bank under the system, to disclose information about who bought the bonds for which political party. The top court asked the Election Commission to publish these data on its site by 5 pm on March 15.

In its affidavit to the apex court, the SBI said a total of 22,217 electoral bonds were purchased and 22,030 were redeemed by political parties between April 1, 2019, and February 15, 2024. From April 1, 2019 to April 11, 3,346 bonds were purchased and 1,609 were redeemed by parties. Between April 12, 2019, and February 15, 2024, donors bought 18,871 bonds and 20,421 were redeemed by parties, the SBI informed the top court.

The SC had given the SBI time till March 6, 2024. But two days before the deadline, the SBI sought an extension till June 30 for disclosure of the details. Its plea was rejected by the apex court. The SC bench asked the bank to submit all details to the Election Commission by the close of working hours on Tuesday.

 



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