Unable to get a new SIM card for want of an Aadhaar card? Does your telecom operator constantly bombard you to get your mobile phone number linked to Aadhaar? Worried about handing over sensitive Aadhaar details to your telecom operator?
You can put these worries to bed for the time being with the government ordering operators to seek alternative identification documents like passport, driving license and voter ID cards for user verification. In other words, submitting your Aadhaar details isn’t necessary for the time being. Operators have been asked to “immediately” adhere to these instructions.
The government’s decision follows a recent Supreme Court order, which clarified that users need not submit their Aadhaar details to get SIM cards until it passes a final judgement on the matter.
Last week, a lawyer representing the UIDAI admitted that there was no apex court order making it compulsory to link Aadhaar with mobile phone numbers, contradicting the government’s position.
“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,” said telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan to the Times of India.
Until the past week, consumers have been at the receiving end of unsolicited phone calls from telecom companies seeking to link their mobile number with Aadhaar details at the earliest possible time. Telecom companies, however, said that they were following the government’s earlier directive on the matter.
“This kind of denial by retailers is completely uncalled for when there is no legal basis to enforce it. Such practices will not be tolerated,” a senior official told ToI.
Meanwhile, the government has also asked operators to “take it easy” on their demand for Aadhaar details when it comes to reverifying mobile numbers.
(Edited By Vinayak Hegde)