SBI Shared Electoral Bonds Data in Two PDF Files in a Pen Drive, Password in a Separate Envelope

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Summary Points:

  • The Supreme Court nullified the electoral bond scheme, mandating SBI to share bond details with the ECI by March 6, 2024, covering transactions from April 2019.
  • SBI faced the challenge of accurately and confidentially collating sensitive data while adhering to the court’s directive.
  • The bank opted for a secure method, storing data in two PDF files on a pen drive, with the encryption password sent in a separate envelope.
  • SBI complied with the Supreme Court’s deadline, submitting the required data to the ECI on time, despite logistical challenges.
  • Following the court’s refusal to grant an extension, SBI met its obligation by March 12, 2024, with the ECI set to make the details public by March 15.

In a recent development, the State Bank of India (SBI) has come under the spotlight for its handling of electoral bonds data. These bonds, which allow political parties to receive anonymous donations, have been a topic of much debate and scrutiny. Let’s delve into how SBI managed this sensitive information.

The Court’s Directive

The Supreme Court, in its wisdom, struck down the electoral bond scheme on February 15, 2024. As part of this ruling, the SBI was tasked with providing details of the bonds purchased between April 12, 2019, and February 15, 2024, to the Election Commission of India (ECI) by March 6. The court’s decision aimed to enhance transparency and accountability in political funding.

The Ingenious Approach

So, how did the SBI tackle this intricate task? Here’s where the intrigue begins. The bank opted for a two-pronged approach:

  1. Two PDF Files in a Pen Drive: The SBI compiled all relevant data into two PDF files. These files contained comprehensive information about the electoral bonds purchased during the specified period. Imagine these digital documents neatly organised within the confines of a pen drive.
  2. Password in a Separate Envelope: But wait, there’s more! To ensure security, the SBI took an extra step. They sealed the pen drive containing the PDF files and placed it in an envelope. This envelope held a separate password—a key to unlock the encrypted data. The password remained confidential until it reached the Election Commission.

The Verdict

The Supreme Court, rejecting the SBI’s plea for an extension, emphasised that the information was readily available. Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud asserted that there was no reason for further delay. The SBI disclosed the details by the close of business hours on March 12, 2024. Simultaneously, the Election Commission committed to publishing these details on its official website by March 15.

The SBI’s ingenious approach—two PDF files and a separate envelope—ensured compliance with the court’s order. The electoral bonds saga continues, but for now, transparency prevails.

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