Money Control

Electoral bonds (now-scrapped) were interest-free bearer bonds bought by companies and individuals from authorised branches of the State Bank of India (SBI) in India.

Since the launch of the recently-scrapped electoral bonds scheme in 2018, the highest number of bonds were sold in Mumbai and most of these bonds were encashed in Delhi, reveals Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Over the years, Mumbai, often referred to as the financial capital of India, has contributed around 24 percent of the total bonds sold by State Bank of India until January 2024 with 5,426 bonds valued at Rs 4,009.4 crore, mentions ADR data. The total worth of the electoral bonds sold is Rs 16,518 crore, said ADR.

The Supreme Court on Thursday junked the electoral bonds scheme that allowed anonymous funding to political parties by striking down the legal provisions introducing and laying down its framework.

The election watchdog also revealed that the national capital has topped in redeeming 16,982 electoral bonds worth Rs 10,402 crore followed by Rs 2,252 crore from 3,746 bonds in Hyderabad.

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court on February 15 unanimously struck down the electoral bond scheme as “unconstitutional”. The SC held that the scheme violates Article 19 of the Constitution by not disclosing the funding to political parties.

Electoral bonds were interest-free bearer bonds bought by companies and individuals from authorised branches of SBI in India.

These bonds used to be purchased through a KYC-compliant account to make donations to political parties and come in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, and Rs 1 crore.

The political parties were expected to redeem electoral bonds within a specific time frame, and these bonds stood out for their anonymity as they did not include any donor information.

After Mumbai, other cities that topped in selling the bonds include Hyderabad (Rs 3,554 crore), Kolkata (Rs 3,333 crore), New Delhi (Rs 2,324 crore), and Chennai (Rs 1,524 crore). All these cities have contributed a total of Rs 14,744 crore.

The Supreme Court also struck down provisions in the Companies Act, Income Tax Act and Representation of the People Act relating to electoral bonds.

Meanwhile, the SBI has also been directed to submit the details of the purchase of electoral bonds along with the details regarding their encashment by political parties to the Election Commission (EC) by March 6. The EC has been directed to publish all the details on its website one week after it has received such information.

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