SBI Refuses Transparency: Withholds Electoral Bond Procedure Despite Court’s Criticism


New Delhi: The State Bank of India has declined to disclose the details of its standard operating procedure (SOP) for the sale and redemption of electoral bonds, even after facing criticism from the apex court for non-compliance with its directives. In response to an RTI application seeking this information, SBI’s deputy general manager, M Kanna Babu, cited the exemption under ‘commercial confidence’ and emphasized that the SOPs were meant for internal circulation only.
Transparency activist Anjali Bharadwaj, who filed the RTI application, expressed shock at SBI’s refusal. Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling that the electoral bonds scheme is unconstitutional and its explicit direction for disclosure of all relevant details, SBI continues to withhold crucial information. Bharadwaj stressed that the SOPs would have shed light on the official instructions governing the handling of information related to electoral bonds.
This controversy arises following a unanimous decision by a five-judge Constitution bench, led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, which struck down the electoral bonds scheme and related amendments to the Income Tax Act and the Representation of People Act. These amendments had previously enabled anonymous donations.