Supreme Court issues notice to SBI, says to disclose electoral bond numbers

The Supreme Court on Friday categorically stated that the State Bank of India (SBI) has to disclose electoral bonds numbers as well, along with the details it has already disclosed regarding the purchase and redemption of the bonds.

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice BR Gavai, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra reconvened today to hear an application filed by the Election Commission. In the application, the ECI sought the return of sealed cover documents furnished by the commission to the court in adherence to its interim order.

The ECI mentioned that it did not retain any copies of these documents to uphold confidentiality. Hence, it sought the return of the sealed envelopes to proceed with the required actions. During the hearing today, Chief Justice Chandrachud clarified that the bank has not disclosed the bond numbers, which has to be disclosed.

Subsequently, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta urged the court to issue notice to the bank, arguing that he is not appearing for the State Bank of India but the court may issue notice to the SBI since they may have something to say. 

Responding, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal pointed to the operative portion of the court’s ruling, insisting that it was an inclusive order requiring all relevant details to be furnished. The Chief Justice countered saying that they can take exception to what the SBI has disclosed.

The CJI also disapproved of the SBI’s counsel not being present, to which SG Mehta said that they were not parties to the Election Commission’s application. Furthermore, at the solicitor general’s insistence, CJI DY Chandrachud ultimately directed notice to be issued to the SBI.

The bench further disposed of the Election Commission’s application with no objection from any of the parties. It directed the registrar general to ensure that the data filed by the commission is scanned and digitised by 5 PM tomorrow. Additionally, the original copy was ordered to be returned to the Election Commission of India. 

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