Skip to main content

SBI denies information under RTI regarding names of purchasers of electoral bonds

Anjali Bhardwaj, Amrita Johri*
In November 2019, information accessed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act had revealed how the government pushed through the anonymous Electoral Bonds (EB) Scheme, ignoring warnings of the Election Commission of India and RBI, which termed anonymous funding via Electoral Bonds "a retrograde step" for transparency and highlighted that they would lead to money laundering and more black money in the system.
In December 2019, applications under the RTI Act were filed seeking information from all 29 branches of the State Bank of India, which are authorised to sell Electoral Bonds. The following information was sought:
  1. Total number of electoral bonds sold since January 2, 2018.
  2. Total value of electoral bonds sold since January 2, 2018.
  3. Total number of electoral bonds sold in the denomination of Rs 1 crore since January 2, 2018.
  4. Names of all persons who have purchased electoral bonds in the denomination of Rs 1 crore since January 2, 2018.
Of the 29 branches, 23 have replied to the RTI applications. Of these 23, the information reveals that 11,770 electoral bonds (EBs) have been sold from these branches worth Rs 5936.7 crore. Of the 11,770 bonds, 5,463 were of the denomination of Rs. 1 crore which means that 92% of the amount given through bonds was in the denomination of Rs. 1 crore. For 6 branches- Lucknow, Patna, Ranchi, Vishakhapatnam, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram, no information has been received till date.
All the branches denied information on the names of persons who purchased bonds in the denomination of Rs 1 crore
All the branches denied information on the names of persons who purchased bonds in the denomination of Rs 1 crore stating that “the information sought by the applicant cannot be disclosed as it is in fiduciary capacity, disclosure of which is exempted under 8(1)(e) and 8(1)(j) of RTI Act, 2005.”
This is a violation of peoples’ right to know. The public authority has failed to weigh the issue of larger public interest, which is mandatorily required in each case in which information is denied under section 8 of the RTI Act.
Information accessed under the RTI Act shows that EBs worth Rs 1,880 crore were bought from the Mumbai branch followed by Rs 1,440 crore from Kolkata branch and Rs 919 crore New Delhi branch. The information is presented in tabulated form HERE.
Even as the petition seeking stay on the EB scheme is listed for hearing before the Supreme Court, the government has opened the 13th window for sale and encashment of electoral bonds from January 13, 2020. The case challenging the EB scheme was filed in 2017 in Supreme Court.
---
*With National Campaign for People’s Right to Information

Comments

TRENDING

'Attack on free expression': ABVP 'insults' Udaipur professor for FB post

Counterview Desk   People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan, condemning what it called "insult of Professor Himanshu Pandya" by students affiliated with with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP) in Udaipur, has said he was evicted from the class where he was teaching after raising "ugly slogans", forcing him to "leave the university".

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Moving towards sustainable development? Social, environmental implications of HCES data

By Dr Vandana Sehgal, Dr Amandeep Kaur*  Sustainable development, the high time agenda, encompasses economic, social, and environmental dimensions, aiming for a balance between all these aspects to ensure long-term well-being and prosperity for all. One of the crucial aspects of sustainable development is consumption patterns. Consumption patterns refer to the way individuals, households, and societies use resources and goods. Sustainable consumption patterns entail using resources efficiently, minimizing waste, and considering the environmental and social impacts of consumption choices.

Will numerically strong opposition in Lok Sabha strengthen democracy?

By Prem Singh*  After the first phase of the 18th Lok Sabha elections, which were conducted in seven phases, it was already indicated that a large part of the country's population had decided to contest the elections against the present government. A large number of unemployed youth and the already agitating farmers played a major role in this act of protest. 

Heatwave in Bundelkhand: 'Inadequate attention' on impact on birds, animals

By Bharat Dogra, Reena Yadav*  While the heat wave and its many-sided adverse impacts have been widely discussed in recent times, one important aspect of heat waves has not received adequate attention and this relates to the impact on birds and animals.

How Congress leaders' 'arrogance', BSP's politicking helped BJP alliance to return to power

By Divesh Ranjan, Sandeep Pandey*  There are celebrations in the opposition circles that Bhartiya Janata Party has not been able to reach the half way mark to form the government and will be dependent on coalition partners to run the next government. It is being expected that alliance partners will exert some influence on the BJP to check its unbridled way of functioning where it does not even consult its own legislators. 

NE India: Creating 'greater divisions', BJP claims to have overcome tyranny of distance

By Makepeace Sitlhou*  In March, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, said at an election rally in Arunachal Pradesh that previous governments had not cared for states that sent only two representatives to the country’s Parliament, as Arunachal and several others in the Indian Northeast do. Modi failed to see the irony of his claim given that he has not visited Manipur, which has only two representatives in parliament, since the outbreak of an armed ethnic conflict that has raged on for nearly a year. The toll from the violence stands at more than 200 lives lost, and many thousands displaced.