Aadhaar could be a very important document for verification in various services, but it is not mandatory to get a mobile SIM, as per a newspaper report.
The government has directed telecom operators to accept other documents like driving licence and voter ID card to get a mobile SIM card, the Times of India reported.
Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan told TOI that the telecom companies have been “asked to follow the directive immediately”.
The Supreme Court last week raised questions over the government’s decision ordering mandatory seeding of mobile numbers with Aadhaar and said its earlier order on mandatory authentication of the users was used as a “tool”.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, hearing a clutch of petitions challenging Aadhaar and its enabling 2016 law, said its order on a PIL filed by ‘Lokniti Foundation’ had said that mobile users needed to be verified in the interest of national security.
Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), said the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) notification talked about re-verification of mobile numbers by using e-KYC process and the Telegraph Act gave “exclusive power to central government to decide license conditions” of service providers.
“How can you (DoT) impose condition on service recipients for seeding Aadhaar with mobile phones,” the bench said, adding that license agreements were between the government and the service providers.
A lawyer last week opposed the seeding of Aadhaar with the Permanent Account Number (PAN) for income tax in the Supreme Court, saying in no way does it help in preventing financial frauds or curb black money.
Arguing before a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which is hearing a clutch of petitions challenging Aadhaar and its enabling 2016 law, the lawyer referred to various recent financial frauds including the Nirav Modi scam and said none of these could have been avoided by using PAN-Aadhaar linkage.
In March, the five-judge Constitution bench extended the March 31 deadline set for the linking of Aadhaar with various services, including telephone and bank account, “till the matter is heard and judgement is pronounced by the constitution bench”.