Complying with the Supreme Court order, the Department of Telecom (DoT) Friday directed telecom operators to immediately discontinue the use of Aadhaar eKYC service for re-verification of existing customers. However, telcos may accept a copy of physical Aadhaar or e-Aadhaar letter “if offered voluntarily by the subscriber.”
With the new order, telecom operators will have to switch to the previous process of physical verification of customer, ending the use of biometric data obtained from Aadhaar. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had initially asked the telecom operators to submit a plan for discontinuation of the Aadhaar-based authentication system for mobile SIMs by October 15. However, operators have sought extra time.
DoT has also asked telecom service providers to submit a compliance report pertaining to discontinuation of Aadhaar service.
In a landmark judgment on September 26, the apex court had struck down certain provisions within the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 with a 4:1 majority. Striking down the part of Section 57 which allowed corporates to use Aadhaar-based authentication, the court had said, “This part of the provision which enables body corporate and individuals also to seek authentication, that too on the basis of a contract between the individual and such body corporate or person, would impinge upon the right to privacy of such individuals. This part of the Section, thus, is declared unconstitutional.”
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, PTI reported. Earlier, the department of telecommunications and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in a joint statement said that mobile phone users at their choice can seek a change of their Aadhaar-based authentication done in the past with an alternate proof of identity without any disconnection of the number.