Poll Body Seeks Modification Of Electoral Bonds Order, Supreme Court Hearing Today

EC has urged the Supreme that the portion of March 11 order may be rectified or modified

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Friday an application filed by the Election Commission seeking modification of the operative portion of its March 11 order in the electoral bonds case.

The poll panel said the order had noted that copies of the documents submitted by it to the Supreme Court in sealed cover during the course of hearing be maintained at the office of the Election Commission. The EC said it did not keep any copy of the documents and added that they may be returned so that it can comply with the court directions.

A separate petition filed by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms challenging the exclusion of the Chief Justice of India from a panel for the selection of the chief election commissioner and election commissioners was also scheduled to come up for hearing on Friday.

However, the matter is not shown in Friday’s list of business on the Supreme 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.

In the electoral bonds case, the Supreme had on March 11 directed the State Bank of India (SBI) to disclose the details of the bonds to the EC by close of business hours on March 12.

In its fresh application, the poll panel has said the Supreme 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.

In its application, the EC has urged the Supreme 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.

The application said pursuant to the directions passed by the Supreme Court in its April 12, 2019 and November 2 last year orders, the EC had produced information/data so sought, both in a sealed cover (containing 106 sealed envelopes) and in sealed boxes (containing 309 and 214 sealed envelopes respectively).

On April 12, 2019, the Supreme Court had issued an interim order directing that the information of donations received and donations which will be received must be submitted by political parties to the EC in a sealed cover.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud is scheduled to hear the EC’s application on Friday.

In its March 11 order, the top court dismissed SBI’s plea seeking an extension of time and ordered it to disclose the details of electoral bonds to the EC by close of business hours on March 12.

The court had also directed the EC to publish the details shared by the bank on its official website by 5 pm on March 15.

The Election Commission put up on its website the data on electoral bonds on Thursday, a day before the deadline. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)