The Indian Express
Ritika Chopra
New Delhi

“We haven't yet had the opportunity to read the order in detail but it's abundantly clear to us that SBI will have to share the names of those who purchased electoral bonds. So there's no doubt about it,” said an EC official who requested anonymity.

What remains uncertain at this moment is whether the data shared by SBI will be presented in a format that helps one immediately match the bond buyer to the political party that received the same bond. “Irrespective of whether the format is reader-friendly or not, finding out the identity of the donor and recipient will not be impossible. It may just mean a lot of work for people interested in finding out the same,” the above-quoted official added.

Electoral Bonds verdict, electoral bonds scheme, Electoral bonds, Supreme Court, Election Commission of India, Indian express news, current affairs

In its order on Thursday, the apex court directed the State Bank of India to share details of all electoral bonds purchased from its designated branches, including the date of purchase, the name of the buyer, and the value of the electoral bond. Furthermore, the bank has also been instructed to provide details of each electoral bond encashed by political parties, including the dates of encashment and the amount.

Significantly, SBI has in its custody the names, Aadhaar, and PAN card details of everyone who has bought an electoral bond, irrespective of the denomination.

EC officials added that it was premature to comment on whether the Commission would disclose the details shared by SBI as received, or if the Commission would choose to present them in a manner that is easily understandable.

The Commission’s stand in the top court on electoral bonds has always been that it hurts transparency. In 2019, in its affidavit submitted to the apex court, the poll watchdog had informed SC that changes made in several laws relating to political funding would have “serious repercussions” on transparency.

“The court’s verdict on Thursday only bolsters EC’s longstanding position on electoral bonds. We have stood for transparency and this order endorses just that,” the official said.

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