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'Aadhaar not mandatory for mobile SIM', says govt

By Deepika

If you haven't linked your Aadhaar to your mobile number this might come as a relief. The Centre has directed telecom companies to start accepting alternative documents such as driving licence, passport and voter ID card so that consumers are not inconvenienced.

image for representation only

"The ministry has issued instructions to all telecom companies, asking them not to deny a SIM card to any individual who does not have an Aadhaar number. We have asked them to accept other forms of KYC (know your customer) documents, and continue to issue SIM cards," the telecom secretary told Times of India.

The move comes after the Supreme Court had rapped the Centre for using its earlier order on 'mandatory authentication of users' as a 'tool' by asking telecom companies to link their mobile numbers with Aadhaar.

"This kind of a denial by retailers is completely uncalled for when there is no legal basis to enforce it. Such practices will not be tolerated," a senior official said.

It is also understood that the government has asked mobile companies to "take it easy" on the issue of re-verification of mobile numbers with Aadhaar.

The Supreme Court has already said that linking of the Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory as long as the arguments against its constitutional validity are being heard.

With the Supreme Court extending the deadline for this indefinitely (until its final decision), the government feels that there is no merit for mobile operators to "unnecessarily push" their subscribers on the matter.

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