The statement clarified there is no direction by the Supreme Court to disconnect mobile numbers issued through Aadhaar eKYC.
Aadhaar-issuing body the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the Department of Telecommunication (DOT) issued a statement Thursday clarifying that re-verification of mobile numbers done through Aadhaar is not needed and is voluntary. Telecom providers will not delete authentication logs already done via Aadhaar eKYC before the Supreme Court judgment that prohibited enrollment through Aadhaar-based authentication for issuing fresh SIM cards, the statement said.
Refuting claims of a news report that 50 crore mobile users are at the risk of disconnection, the joint statement by the UIDAI and DoT said mobile number issued via Aadhaar eKYC will not be disconnected and those who wish to replace Aadhaar eKYC may request the service provider for delinking of her/his Aadhaar by submitting fresh officially valid documents (OVDs) as per earlier DoT circulars on mobile KYC. The statement assured that re-verification of mobile subscribers is voluntary and biometrics obtained via Aadhaar eKYC prior to the judgment will not be deleted.
The Supreme Court, in its September 26 verdict, struck down compulsory linking of mobile phone numbers to Aadhaar. There was speculation that subscribers enrolled through Aadhaar-based authentication process may have to provide fresh documents to complete their Know Your Customer (KYC) process again.
The (UIDAI) had given time till October 15 to telecom operators for complying with the apex court order and asked them to close Aadhaar-based verification for their services. Reliance Jio has almost its entire subscriber base enrolled through Aadhaar-based authentication and other telecom operators too started following the process in 2017. On Wednesday, a DoT official told news agency PTI the government would ensure that telecom customers do not face any disruption in services due to change in KyC regime following the court order.
“The joint statement clarifies that the Hon’ble Supreme Court in its judgement in Aadhaar case has nowhere directed that the mobile number which has been issued through Aadhaar eKYC has to be disconnected. The Court has also not asked to delete all the eKYC data of telecom customers after 6 months. What the apex Court has asked that UIDAI should not keep authentication log for more than 6 months. The restriction of not keeping authentication log beyond six months is on the UIDAI and not on the telecom companies,”the UIDAI tweeted today dismissing rumours of discontinuation of mobile connections as “baseless”.
The Aadhaar issuing body also revealed it has come up with a new app-based enrollment system for issuing SIM cards “which will be fully compliant of the Supreme Court judgement in Aadhaar Case.” “In the proposed process, live photograph of the person with latitude, longitude, and time stamp will be captured. The photo of her ID such as Aadhaar card, voter ID, etc., will be captured. The SIM card agent will be authenticated through OTP and SIM card will be issued. This process will be completely hassle-free and digital,” it said.