The government ordered telecom companies to stop using Aadhaar for electronic verification of existing mobile phone customers as well as for issuing new connections to comply with a recent Supreme Court order.
The apex court had last month in a landmark verdict restricted the use of Aadhaar by private entities in the absence of a legal provision. To comply with the order, the Department of Telecom (DoT) Friday issued detailed instructions to telecom companies on stopping the use of Aadhaar-based electronic-know your customer (e-KYC) and report compliance by November 5. Aadhaar e-KYC cannot be used for verifying existing customers as well as giving new SIM connections, the DoT said in a three-page circular.
Also, it permitted the use of physical Aadhaar card for giving new connections, provided the customer voluntarily offers it. “In compliance to the judgement of the Supreme Court, all licencees are to discontinue the use of Aadhaar eKYC service of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) both for verification as well as for issuing new mobile connections,” the Telecom Department said in the circular. All telecom service providers shall ensure its implementation across the country in a time-bound manner and compliance in this regard is required to be submitted by November 5, 2018, it said. The DoT noted that the industry had suggested an alternate digital process for KYC of mobile subscribers which entails Customer Acquisition Forms to be embedded with live photo of the subscriber and scanned images of proof of identity and proof of address, thereby digitising the end-to-end process for onboarding of new mobile subscribers and making it paperless.
“The licencees may accept the copy of physical Aadhaar or eAadhaar letter having masked or unmasked Aadhaar number (As dowloaded from UIDAI website) as proof of identity or proof of address document, if offered voluntarily by the subscriber, as per the procedure prescribed for issuance of new mobile connections…,” it said. The DoT said its previous instructions on permitting use of eAadhaar as proof of identity or address subject to online verification from UIDAI also “stands withdrawn”. In addition, the DoT said “the licencee shall also delete the column of writing Aadhaar number (which was optional entry) on customer acquisition forms for issuing the new mobile connections.”