Printing of 10k electoral bonds worth Rs 1 cr each stopped after SC ruling

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Three days before the Supreme Court declared electoral bonds as unconstitutional, the Finance Ministry gave a green light for the printing of 10,000 electoral bonds valued at Rs 1 crore each by the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL), according to a report by The Indian Express.

The Finance Ministry’s directive to halt printing was issued on February 28, a fortnight after the Supreme Court’s ruling, compelling the State Bank of India (SBI) to stop the process immediately.

The revelation of this sequence of events comes from file notations and email exchanges between the Finance Ministry and SBI, accessed by the newspaper through the Right to Information (RTI) Act. These records disclose that SPMCIL had already produced and dispatched 8,350 bonds to SBI.

The instruction to suspend printing was conveyed in a trail mail titled ‘Hold on Printing of Electoral Bonds — Electoral Bond Scheme 2018’ dated February 28, from SBI to SPMCIL.

The Assistant General Manager of SBI’s Transaction Banking Department acknowledged the receipt of four boxes of Security forms of Electoral Bonds containing a total of 8,350 bonds in an email dated February 23, 2024. It stated, “As per the judgment given by the Honourable Supreme Court, we request you to halt the printing of the remaining 1,650 Electoral Bonds for which approval had been granted via Budget Division Letter dated 12.01.2024.”

A note dated February 27 recorded that the order was for printing 400 booklets and 10,000 Electoral Bonds, with the approval of the ‘Government of India’ granted on February 12.
On the seame day, the Finance Ministry’s Budget section dispatched another email to SBI and other relevant entities in the Ministry, requesting them to inform the SPMCIL to halt the printing of the remaining 1,650 Electoral Bonds.
The electoral bond scheme was introduced to allow individual and domestic companies to anonymously donate bonds to political parties in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, and Rs 1 crore. The bonds needed to be redeemed within 15 days by a political party.

In total, 22,217 electoral bonds have been redeemed since the initiation of the scheme. Among the political parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) redeemed Rs 8,451 crore; the Congress Rs 1,950 crore; Trinamool Congress Rs 1,707.81 crore, and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BRS) Rs 1,407.30 crore.

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Pooja Gupta

CA Pooja Gupta (CA, ISA, having 15 years of experience. Educator and Digital Creator

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CA Pooja Gupta (CA, ISA, having 15 years of experience. Educator and Digital Creator

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