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Aadhaar no longer mandatory for Mobile SIMs

The government has issued instructions to telecom operators to accept other valid forms of identification such as passport, driving licence and Voter ID, the Times of India reports. Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said telecom operators have been asked to follow the instructions immediately. This move comes in the wake of the counsel for the government being forced to admit in the Supreme Court that the government claims of the Supreme Court directing it to mandate Aadhaar-mobile linking were false, when Justice Chandrachud bluntly stated that they had provided no such order. In spite of this admission being reported widely, telecoms, going by existing government orders, continued to require Aadhaar for obtaining mobile SIMs and sending reminders to link Aadhaar with SIMs according to some posts on social media and an article by Times of India. Director General of COAI, Rajan Matthews, had explained this then as the telecom operators following the government instructions by asking people to link their Aadhaar with their SIMs without mentioning a deadline as instructed by the government. He had pointed out that the court had extended the date of linking indefinitely, not asked telecom operators to stop. In a rather ironic reversal, a senior official in the government seems to have told the ToI that such denial by retailers is "completely uncalled for" in the absence of legal basis to enforce it and warned "Such practices will not be tolerated.” It seems that the government has asked mobile companies to “take it easy” on the…

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Vidyut is a commentator on socio-political issues with a keen interest in behavioral sciences, digital rights and security and manages to engage her various proficiencies to bring an unusual perspective to issues related with the intersection of tech and people.

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