An Aadhaar biometric identity card, issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), is arranged for a photograph in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Any ID Proof Sufficient For New Mobile SIM But Aadhaar Linkage Must Later

Telecom operators can issue new SIM cards on the basis of any identity document like election voter ID or driving licence but the requirement to link mobile number with Aadhaar at a later date has not been done away with, sources said today.

When contacted, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said there is no change in the prevalent rules that mobile phone companies cannot deny anyone a new SIM card for want of Aadhaar, and can use alternative identification documents for the purpose.

She, however, said the government will await a verdict of the Supreme Court on the requirement to verify the SIM by linking it with biometric 12-digit Aadhaar number.

Separately, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said the SIM-Aadhaar linking policy still stands as on date and so new SIMs issued without Aadhaar would need to be re-verified through Aadhaar-based eKYC at a later date. Similarly, subscribers who give Aadhaar right at the time of new SIM issuance, would not need to undergo for Aadhaar-based re-verification again.

"As per rule, fresh connections can be given using any authentic ID and address proof. There is no change in that rule. Telecom operators cannot deny fresh SIM to people having valid ID and address proof document. For re-verification, we have to wait for Supreme Court order as the matter is sub-judice," Sundararajan said.

Also read: Why Telecom Firms Will Keep Asking Users To Link Mobile SIM Cards To Aadhaar

The Telecom Department had earlier extended the timeline for re-verifying mobile numbers through Aadhaar, till the time the apex court takes a view on the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and its enabling law.

Sources pointed out that even the Telecom Department's circular of March 23, 2017 had mentioned: "The subscriber acquired through proof of Identity/Proof of Address documents based process, during the period of this re-verification activity shall also be re-verified through eKYC process. For this, the licencee at the time of issuing connection to such subscribers, shall intimate the subscribers about this re-verification activity".