A man speaks on a mobile phone in front of a shop selling pre-paid recharges for different mobile providers in Bengaluru (Photographer: Namas Bhojani/Bloomberg)

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

The voice and text messages reminding you to link your mobile SIM card to Aadhaar is unlikely to stop anytime soon even as the Supreme Court recently questioned the compulsory linkage of the biometric identity.

As things stand, customers have to provide their Aadhaar to activate a new SIM card, Rajan Mathews, director general of Cellular Operators Association of India told BloombergQuint in an interview. “That is the present direction that the DoT has given to operators and no subsequent order has been provided and so that order stands as the operative direction to all operators.” Existing customers too will need to link them with Aadhaar, he added.

Also read: Supreme Court Questions Centre On Mandatory Seeding Of Aadhaar With Mobile

That’s despite what transpired in the apex court on Wednesday, where the bench questioned the government’s move ordering the compulsory linkage of Aadhaar.

“How can you [Department of Telecommunication] impose condition on service recipients for seeding Aadhaar with mobile phones,” the bench had said, adding that licence agreements were between the government and the service providers.

Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, who is representing Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI in the matter had argued in court that the direction to seed SIM cards with Aadhaar was based on a recommendation made by India’s telecom regulator.

"My submission is that the government had a legal basis to link Aadhaar with SIM by virtue of Section 4 of the Telegraph Act and also, the measure is reasonable in the interest of national security," Dwidedi had said.

The Supreme Court in March had extended the deadline for linking Aadhaar to mobile phones as well as other services such as bank accounts till a judgement is pronounced on the challenges to the Aadhaar scheme and the Aadhaar Act.