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Election Commission urges Supreme Court to modify electoral bonds order | DETAILS

In its application, the EC has urged the Supreme Court that the portion of March 11 order may be rectified or modified and the documents, data or information submitted by it before the court in sealed covers may be returned to it to enable the poll panel to comply with the court's directions.

Edited By: Anurag Roushan @Candid_Tilaiyan New Delhi Updated on: March 15, 2024 13:18 IST
Election Commission urges Supreme Court to modify electoral bonds order, hearing, SBI
Image Source : PTI The Supreme Court of India.

The Supreme Court is set to hear an application filed by the Election Commission (EC), seeking adjustments to the operational section of its March 11 ruling in the electoral bonds case. The hearing is scheduled to take place on Friday, March 15. 

The Election Commission stated that the order had acknowledged the maintenance of copies of documents submitted by it to the apex court in sealed covers during the hearings, to be retained at the poll panel's office. However, the EC clarified that it hadn't retained any copies of the documents and requested their return to comply with the court's directives.

Hearing listed in apex court

Furthermore, a separate petition submitted by the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms, challenging the exclusion of the Chief Justice of India from a panel responsible for selecting the chief election commissioner and election commissioners, was also slated for a hearing on Friday. 

However, the matter is not shown in Friday's list of businesses on the apex court website. A bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna on March 12 had told advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the NGO, that the plea on the exclusion of CJI from the selection panel will be taken up for hearing on Friday.

SC's direction to SBI on electoral bonds

In the electoral bonds case, the apex court had on March 11 directed the State Bank of India (SBI) to disclose the details of the bonds to the EC by the close of business hours on March 12. In its fresh application, the poll panel has said the apex court had observed in its March 11 order that "copies of the statements which were filed by the ECI before this court would be maintained in the office of the ECI".

"It is most respectfully submitted herein that in compliance of the orders passed by this court and in order to maintain the confidentiality of the aforesaid information /data, the Election Commission of India forwarded the documents received by it to this court in sealed covers/boxes, without retaining any copies of the same," the application said. "Thus, no copies of the documents/statements filed by the Election Commission of India before this court in the instant case were ever retained by it," it said.

Election Commission's appeal to SC

In its plea, the Election Commission has urged the top court to rectify or modify a portion of its March 11 order, requesting the return of documents, data, or information submitted to the court in sealed covers. The purpose is to facilitate compliance with the court's directives.

The application highlighted that in accordance with previous orders from the apex court dated April 12, 2019, and November 2, 2023, the EC had provided the requested information and data, both in sealed covers (comprising 106 sealed envelopes) and sealed boxes, containing 309 and 214 sealed envelopes respectively.

On April 12, 2019, the Supreme Court had issued an interim order instructing political parties to submit details of donations received and expected to be received to the EC in sealed covers.

SC to hear matter today

A five-judge Constitution bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud is scheduled to hear the EC's plea on Friday. In its March 11 order, the apex court dismissed the State Bank of India's request for an extension of time and directed it to disclose electoral bond details to the EC by the close of business on March 12.

It should be noted here that the court had instructed the EC to publish the information provided by the bank on its official website by 5 pm on March 15. The Election Commission complied with this directive by posting the electoral bond data on its website on Thursday, a day ahead of the deadline.

(With PTI inputs)

ALSO READ: Election Commission publishes electoral bonds data shared by SBI on its website

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