Telcos still using Aadhaar eKYC for issuing new SIM cards despite SC verdict: Report

Telcos say there have been no specific instructions from the DoT to discontinue Aadhaar for eKYC.

The Supreme Court passed its landmark judgment making Aadhaar not compulsory for mobile service providers and banks in September. But there are still some leading telcos that are using Aadhaar-based eKYC for issuing SIM cards.

Representational image.

Representational image.

This information comes from a report by the Times of India, whose sources said that there have been no specific instructions from the DoT to discontinue Aadhaar for eKYC.

"We will wait for a specific instruction from the department of telecom on the matter before discontinuing the facility," said a top industry official in an interview with TOI.

UIDAI on the other has reportedly said that they have escalated the matter to the DoT and that "the matter has to be dealt with".

For those who are unaware, the Supreme Court found both, Rule 9 of the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005 and notifications issued under it, and the Department of Telecommunications’ 23 March 2017 circular, mandating the linking of Aadhaar to an individual’s bank accounts and mobile numbers, respectively, to be unconstitutional.

(Also Read: Can voluntary Aadhaar-based eKYC be legalised through a new law, after striking down Section 57?)

The court upheld the constitutional validity of Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, 1961. This means that it will continue to be compulsory to provide an Aadhaar/enrolment number while applying for a Permanent Account Number, and while filing income tax returns.

There was a report earlier this month speculating now that Aadhaar based eKYC was not needed, all SIM cards authenticated with that method would be discontinued. The Centre dismissed that news report claiming around 50 crore mobile phone numbers were at risk of disconnection, saying it was "completely untrue and imaginary".

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