In the wake of the Supreme Court order extending the last date for linking Aadhaar with banks and mobile numbers, the Department of Telecommunications has issued a circular notifying service providers of the same.

The letter, addressed to “All Unified Licencees (having Access Service Authorization) /  Unified Access Services Licencees / Cellular Mobile Telephone Service Licencees” with the subject “Re-verification of mobile subscribers through Aadhaar E-KYC process regarding extension of last date of re-verification” cites the Supreme Court order and quotes the specific lines relevant to their direction as follows:

“…… we direct that the interim order passed on 15.12.2017 shall stand extended till the matter is finally heard and the judgment is pronounced. That apart, the directions issued in the interim order shall apply as stated in the paragraphs 11 to 13 in the said order….”

The letter directs that “any communications/voice messages / SMSes, which are to be sent by the Licensees to their mobile subscribers regarding re-verification of their mobile connections through Aadhaar based E-KYC process, shall not contain any last date for re-verification.”

Aakriti adds:

DoT’s order comes as publications report lack of awareness about the Court’s order among the general public. Amid this, mobile and bank companies continue to push for Aadhaar linkage despite the deferred deadline.

As the government pushed for Aadhaar through the last year, linking of Aadhaar numbers was declared mandatory for multiple key services: mobile numbers, bank accounts, tax returns, insurance, welfare schemes, among others. Such announcements continued to be made even as the Supreme Court was hearing a case on the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar.