Despite SC and government's orders, sellers still refusing SIM without-Aadhaar
What does one do if establishments blatantly refuse to heed the Supreme Court's (SC) orders?
Citizens across India are struggling to find an answer as telecom retailers continue demanding Aadhaar for new connections.
This, despite an SC order two months ago indefinitely extending the deadline for Aadhaar-SIM linking, and despite a government notification 10 days ago ruling Aadhaar isn't mandatory for new connections.
Despite orders from top, citizens struggling for SIM
Pune citizens tell nightmarish tales of living without SIM
Mohan Saxena of Pune needed a new SIM for his son, but stores refused to provide one without Aadhaar. "I'll collect copies about the rules and approach them again," the retired government employee said.
Anandita Bagchi has a similar story: "I shifted from the US and was trying my son's admission to school. I am yet to get Aadhaar, but retailers aren't issuing me a SIM."
In Gurugram, seven of nine retailers refuse SIM without Aadhaar
The situation was the same in Gurugram. TOI visited nine stores in different areas; seven directly refused to provide a SIM without Aadhaar, while two others accepted other ID proof, but said activation will need more time.
Airtel, Jio and Vodafone spokespersons told the publication they are in the process of contacting retailers, but added it will take some time.
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Subscribers have been constantly harassed since months for linking
Since months, the ministry and telcos have reiterated that SIM cards must be linked to Aadhaar to ensure uninterrupted service.
The order was based on the 2017 Lokniti Foundation judgment, where the NGO had sought a mechanism to ensure verification of all mobile phone users.
Consequently, most operators started sending messages and calls to subscribers constantly, urging them to link the two.
SC slams Center for "misinterpreting" order
On April 26, the SC revealed it had never ordered mandatory SIM-Aadhaar linking, as the government's circular cited.
"There was no such direction from the SC, but you...used it as a tool to make Aadhaar mandatory for mobile-users," it said, while hearing the ongoing case against Aadhaar.
Earlier this month, the telecom ministry asked telcos to issue new SIM cards with other documents too.
Here's what you can legally submit to get a SIM
According to the telecom ministry's recent notification, citizens can now get a SIM by submitting any government-issued identification and address proof, like driving license, passport and voter ID.
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