SIM cards issued through Aadhaar will not be disconnected, re-verification of mobile subscribers' KYC details to be optional: Government

The DoT and UIDAI issùed a joint statement in which they assured mobile subscribers that there was no reason for panic.

SIM cards issued through Aadhaar will not be disconnected, re-verification of mobile subscribers' KYC details to be optional: Government

NEW DELHI: The Government will not push for re-verification of mobile service customers and it will be done only if a customer opts to replace Aadhaar records with any alternate identity or address proof, the Department of Telecom (DoT) and Unique Identity Authority of India said in a joint statement Thursday.

The joint statement said, the Supreme Court has prohibited the issue of new SIM cards through Aadhaar eKYC authentication process and there is no direction to deactivate the old mobile phones.

"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. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason for panic or fear at all," the joint statement by the two government bodies said.

There are speculations that subscribers enrolled through Aadhaar-based authentication process may have to provide fresh documents to complete their Know Your Customer (KYC) process again, as a Supreme Court judgement has restricted the use of Aadhaar-based verification by private entities.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (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.

"In the light of the verdict, if anybody wishes to get her or his Aadhaar eKYC replaced by the fresh KYC, she or he may request the service provider for de-linking of their Aadhaar by submitting fresh OVDs (official valid documents) as per earlier DOT circulars on mobile KYC. But in any case his mobile number will not be disconnected," the statement said.

It further noted that the Court has not asked to delete all the eKYC data of telecom customers after six months but has asked that UIDAI should not keep authentication log for more than six months.

"The restriction is on UIDAI and not on the telecom companies. Therefore there is no need for telecom companies to delete authentication logs," the statement said. 

Here is the full text of joint statement issued by DoT and UIDAI:

The Department of Telecommunications (DOT) and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in a joint statement today clarified that a few news reports in the media which state that 50 Crore mobile numbers, almost half of the total mobiles in circulation, are at the risk of disconnection, are completely untrue and imaginary. The news report tries to create unnecessary panic among mobile users by claiming that “they stare a prospect of disconnection if SIM cards procured on the basis of Aadhaar verification are not backed up by a fresh identification”. 

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. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason for panic or fear at all. People should not believe in such rumours. 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 is on UIDAI and not on the telecom companies. Therefore, there is no need for telecom companies to delete authentication logs.

So in the light of the verdict if anybody wishes to get her/his Aadhaar eKYC replaced by the fresh KYC, s/he may request the service provider for delinking of her/his Aadhaar by submitting fresh OVDs as per earlier DOT Circulars on mobile KYC. But in any case his mobile number will not be disconnected.

The Joint Statement said that what Supreme Court has done is that it has prohibited issue of new SIM cards through Aadhaar eKYC authentication process due to lack of a law. There is no direction to deactivate the old mobile phones.

The statement said that in fact the Department of Telecom and UIDAI are in a process to bring out a completely hassle-free and digital process for issuing new SIM cards through a mobile App 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.

The statement reiterates that there is no need to panic or get confused by the reports that have appeared in the media.