Misuse of unverified SIM cards is not new, and there are many instances where people went through several harassments for it. The misuse of such numbers is also catered to the criminal and anti-social activities as well. And this has compelled to bring an effective identification mechanism soon by the court. It was NGO Lok Niti Foundation that brought this idea first by filing a petition. It was said in the petition that without proper verification system of the user’s address and identities, it associates a huge risk. The risk can be of various types starting from criminal activities, financial fraud, etc. And finally, a great step has been taken in response to this petition by the NGO.
As per the Supreme Court’s instruction, the Telecom Department has informed the Apex Court that prepaid mobile subscribers will be needed to go through some verification process now on to recharge their mobile. And Centre has already informed Supreme Court on Monday that a strict verification mechanism will be put in place within a year. This mechanism will definitely prove the identity of the mobile subscribers through their identity proof such as Aadhar card details.
The question might arise for e-recharges. However, this mechanism will be applicable for both e-recharge and ordinary recharge. It is assumed that an extra field will be added for Aadhar card details or any other identity proof details next to the other fields for e-recharging.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi completed this submission before J.S. Khehar and Justice N.V. Ramana, a Bench of Chief Justice. The AG has sought for a mechanism to ensure no fake or unverified identities are being accepted for issuing a SIM card. He also went on to say to the bench that the new subscribers should fill up an e-KYC form. And as for the existing subscribers, considering 90% are prepaid customers, a mechanism will soon be developed within a year.
As per a statistics, most of the Indians prefer to go for prepaid connection rather than the postpaid ones. There are only 10% post-paid subscribers while the remaining that is 90% subscribers are prepaid. The reason is, owning a prepaid SIM card involves less hassle while the availability is also easier. But when it comes to tracking the owners of the SIM card, things are much difficult for prepaid SIM holders rather than the Postpaid subscribers.
However, it is to mention that this step adopted by Centre is really appreciable that can effectively curb various fraud and criminal activities. Demonetization was another thing that made this directive by Supreme Court much needed. Because people started using their mobile phone in an increased way for banking related activities after that Demonetization. Also, people started to live a cashless life while the use of digital payment apps and mobile wallets is enhanced a lot. All these procedures require the mobile number of users which is associated with their bank accounts. And it can definitely lead to various types of financial frauds through the unverified mobile numbers.
Along with these criminal, anti-social and fraud activities, this step by the Supreme Court will be able to eliminate various other issues as well certainly.