Centre approved printing of 10,000 electoral bonds, three days before SC order

The Supreme Court struck down the 2018 electoral bond scheme on February 15. In its ruling, SC had asked the SBI to furnish all details related to electoral bonds with the Election Commission of India (ECI) within a stipulated deadline.

Edited By Alka Jain
Updated30 Mar 2024
Centre approved printing of 10,000 electoral bonds, three days before SC order.
Centre approved printing of 10,000 electoral bonds, three days before SC order.

The Finance Ministry gave final approval for the printing of 10,000 electoral bonds each worth 1 crore by the SPMCIL (the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India), three days before the Supreme Court declared the bonds “unconstitutional”. 

The Finance Ministry instructed the State Bank of India to "immediately put a hold" on bond printing on February 28, two weeks after the top court's order, Indian Express reported. 

On February 15, the Supreme Court invalidated the 2018 electoral bond program. The Supreme Court (SC) ordered the SBI to provide the Election Commission of India (ECI) with all information about electoral bonds by a certain date.

The Election Commission on March 14 uploaded two sets of data — one with a data-wise list of bond purchases by companies and the other with the list of deposits by political parties that encashed the bonds. 

The Supreme Court issued notice to the SBI after noting that it had not revealed the electoral bond numbers, even though it had granted ECI's request to have the data returned for uploading.

Following this, the top court sent SBI a notice for failing to provide the Electoral Bond data with "unique numbers." It was hearing an appeal on behalf of SBI not to divulge the distinct alphanumeric code that is printed on every electoral bond and is used to link political parties with donors.

The Election Commission of India released its third list of electoral bonds data with "unique numbers" on March 21. The State Bank of India had provided the data to the electoral body. Due to the bond's distinctive alphanumeric, the public was able to link the bond buyer to the recipient's political affiliation.

In April 2019, the government stated that electoral bonds, intended for anonymous political contributions, incorporate a serial number as a counterfeiting deterrent. However, it clarified that this serial number is inaccessible to everyone, including government entities.

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