5 unanswered questions about linking Aadhaar and SIM cards

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issued a circular on 23 Mar 2017 instructing mobile operators to re-verify all existing customers using Aadhaar e-KYC. This was based on a Supreme Court order issued on 6 Feb 2017. The deadline is a year from the Court’s order: 6 Feb 2018.

A petition challenging the DoT circular will be heard in court in the coming weeks.

We dug around and are confused about a few things. Here are 5 of our top questions. Does anyone have the answers?

  1. Is there a verification process for those without an Aadhaar given that Aadhaar is voluntary and saturation isn’t 100%?
  2. What happens in case of a genuine individual facing an authentication failure because one’s fingerprints have worn out or other technical issues?
  3. The SC’s order and the DoT’s circular are only for existing An older DoT circular (16 Aug 2016) says that Aadhaar e-KYC is optional for new subscribers. Isn’t it incompatible to make e-KYC mandatory for existing subscribers but optional for new subscribers?
  4. The SC’s order is ambiguous on whether it applies to pre-paid users or also includes post-paid users (see paragraph 4 vs. 5). How and why did the DoT interpret it as applicable for all users? 
  1. On 11 Aug 2015, the SC issued an order that Aadhaar only be used for PDS, LPG, etc. Isn’t the SC order on re-verification of mobile users in direct contradiction then? 

Sources:

Notifications dated 6 Aug 2016 and 23 Mar 2017, Department of Telecommunications

Supreme Court orders dated 6 Feb 2017 and 11 Aug 2015