Adish C Aggarwala
Adish C AggarwalaIANS

Electoral Bonds case: SCBA president seeks presidential reference of SC judgment

In accordance with the Supreme Court order, the State Bank of India (SBI) submitted data on political contributions made through electoral bonds to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on March 12.

Senior advocate and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Adish C Aggarwala has written to President Droupadi Murmu seeking a presidential reference of the Constitution Bench judgment in the Electoral Bonds case. The SCBA, however, clarified that it has not authorised Adish Aggarwala to write to the President of India to not enforce the Electoral Bonds verdict. The association condemned his letter saying that it was an attempt to undermine the authority of the Supreme Court.

In his letter written on the letterhead of the All India Bar Association, Aggarwala said that revealing the names of corporates would render them vulnerable to victimisation by those parties which had received less contribution from them and would have a chilling effect on corporate donations and participation in the democratic process.

“Besides drying up further donations, such an act (of disclosing names of corporates and their quantum of contributions to various parties) would discourage and dissuade foreign corporate entities from setting shops in India or participating in the democratic process but contributing to winning horses," he said in the letter to President Murmu.

It added that if the Constitution Bench judgment is enforced by retrospectively releasing all sensitive information, the same will "shatter the reputation the nation enjoys in the international arena". "I, therefore, request your good self to withhold the enforcement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment in the Electoral Bonds case by seeking a Presidential Reference on the matter. Till the Reference is heard and answered, the Hon’ble Supreme Court shall not give effect to its verdict of March 11, 2024," he said.

Article 143 of the Constitution confers advisory jurisdiction on the Supreme Court and provides for the power of the President to consult the apex court on a question of law or fact of public importance.

Meanwhile, the State Bank of India (SBI) on March 12 evening submitted data on political contributions made through electoral bonds to the Election Commission of India (ECI), in accordance with the Supreme Court's order. The Election Commission will now collate and release the data by 5 pm on Friday, March 15 as per the court order.

The Supreme Court had on March 11 rejected SBI’s plea to extend the March 6 deadline for submitting the data to the ECI. A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud came down strongly on the bank for "willful disobedience" of its orders and warned it of contempt proceedings on Monday.

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