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Government allows Aadhaar e-KYC for Telecoms despite Supreme Court judgement striking down Section 57 of Aadhaar Act 2016

The government’s attempt to re-introduce private access to Aadhaar has been called into question on constitutional grounds.

Aadhaar, PAN Card

Telecom operators will be allowed to issue new SIM cards using Aadhaar-based e-KYC and convert prepaid connections to postpaid using just OTP verification, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) announced on September 21 in the Telecom Reforms 2021 booklet. "Contactless services in the COVID era needs to be promoted for subscriber convenience and also for ease of doing business." the Ministry of Communications said in a press release announcing the reforms. Allowing private firms to conduct Aadhaar-based KYC was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2018 when it struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act 2016. The government's decision to re-introduce Aadhaar based verifications for private telecom firms appears to be side-stepping the Supreme Court's judgement. DoT allows telecom companies to use Aadhaar for KYC: Key Points The DoT has announced several telecom sector reforms with immediate effect: Self KYC: To complete their KYC online, customers can submit documents for verification through DigiLocker, a web-based verification platform, or allow UIDAI to share their information with telecom companies. If customers use Aadhaar numbers for verification, they must declare to telecom providers that: They are voluntarily using Aadhaar based authentication to get a SIM card They consent to UIDAI sharing their KYC details with the telecom operator Point-of-sale Aadhaar KYC: If a customer opts for Aadhaar-based KYC when acquiring a SIM through a physical agent, the agent must record their biometrics to get access to their Aadhaar details from UIDAI. Customers must make two additional declarations in such cases: They have…

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