Operators Directed To Accept Documents Other Than Aadhaar For Mobile SIMs: Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan

Operators Directed To Accept Documents Other Than Aadhaar For Mobile SIMs: Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan

In a major relief for consumers, the Government has directed operators to accept alternate documents such as driving license, passport, and voter ID card for providing new mobile phone SIMs, Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan told TOI.

"The ministry has issued instructions to all telecom companies, asking them not to deny a SIM card to any individual who does not have an Aadhaar number. We have asked them to accept other forms of KYC (know your customer) documents, and continue to issue SIM cards," she was quoted as saying.

The move comes after the Government, on April 26, admitted before the Supreme Court that the direction for Aadhaar SIM card linkage was not based on the Supreme Court order.

During the hearing, the Senior Counsel Rakesh Dwivedi had referred to a DoT circular dated March 23, 2017, calling upon all the telecom operators to conduct an Aadhaar-based re-verification exercise of all existing pre-paid and post-paid mobile connections "in the light of the order dated February 6, 2017, of the apex court in Lokniti Foundation v. UOI."

The Apex Court had then remarked that the Aadhaar-based e-KYC process had not been ordered by the apex court in the said judgment. Agreeing to this, Mr. Dwivedi had agreed with the linkage had in fact been recommended by TRAI.

He had, however, asserted that the Centre had the power to direct the same by virtue of the first proviso to Section 4(1) of the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, which lays down that the Central Government may grant a licence, on such conditions and in consideration of such payments as it thinks fit, to any person to establish, maintain or work a telegraph.