Election 2019: SBI Sold Electoral Bonds Worth Rs 3,622 Crore In March and April
Indian two thousand and five hundred rupee banknotes are arranged for a photograph in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Election 2019: SBI Sold Electoral Bonds Worth Rs 3,622 Crore In March and April

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State Bank of India sold electoral bonds worth over Rs 3,622 crore in March and April this year, a response to a Right to Information query showed.

Electoral bonds worth Rs 1,365.69 crore were sold in March and Rs 2256.37 crore in April, a 65.21 percent rise month-on-month, SBI said in response to an RTI query filed by Pune resident Vihar Durve. At Rs 694 crore, Mumbai accounted for the largest chunk of electoral bonds sold in April, followed by Rs 417.31 crore in Kolkata, Rs 408.62 crore in New Delhi and Rs 338.07 crore in Hyderabad, SBI said.

The sale of electoral bonds opens in SBI branches when the finance ministry issues a notification of their sale for a given period. The electoral bonds scheme—notified by the central government in 2018—has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

Only those political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one percent of the votes polled in the last general and state elections are eligible to receive electoral bonds.

Also read: Supreme Court Asks Political Parties To Disclose Details Of Electoral Bonds In Sealed Covers

The electoral bonds may be purchased by a person who is a citizen of India “or incorporated or established in India”, the government said in a statement last year. The bonds remain valid for 15 days and can be encashed by an eligible political party only through an account with the authorised bank within that period only.

Association for Democratic Reforms, a voluntary group working in the field of electoral reforms, has demanded a stay on sale of electoral bonds, while Communist Party of India (Marxist) has challenged it before Supreme Court in separate petitions.

ADR recently filed an application in the apex court seeking a stay on the electoral bond scheme, which was notified by the Centre in January last year.

Also read: Why Electoral Bonds Are Unconstitutional

It said amendments carried out in relevant acts have “opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate donations to political parties and anonymous financing by Indian as well as foreign companies which can have serious repercussions on the Indian democracy”.

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