In a latest drive against misuse of SIM cards, the Supreme Court has asked the union government to register ID details of all mobile subscribers in the country. It has further asked that Aadhaar details should be added along with phone number within a year. The directive comes in light of the increased use of mobile phones for banking-related activities post demonetization.
The ruling for a system of verification of pre-paid mobile users comes after NGO Lok Niti Foundation filed a petition arguing mobile phones could be used for anti-national and criminal activities in the absence of a 100 percent verification method, GadgetsNow reports. According to the petition, there were about 5.25 crore unverified mobile phone subscribers in the country. The NGO demanded that mobile phones be linked to Aadhaar Card numbers to prevent the misuse of telecom services and a verification system would check user identities and addresses.
A bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice N V Ramana expressed their satisfaction that the verification plea was “substantially dealt” with and an “effective process” would be in place. The verification mechanism would apply for both existing and fresh subscribers, said Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi. ALSO READ: Recharge outlets in UP are selling mobile numbers of girls, pricing them based on their looks: Report
Other than posing a threat to the country’s security, unverified SIM cards also make it difficult for law enforcement authorities to nab criminals. Last week, we came across an appalling scheme where recharge outlets in the state of Uttar Pradesh were illegally issuing people SIM cards under fake identity to contact or harass women clients who visit their shops for recharge. These outlets were found to be stealthily capturing pictures of girls who come for a recharge and then passing on their numbers to customers seeking ‘harmless fun’. With fake SIM cards or unverified mobile numbers, authorities are unable to track personal details of the individual.
Currently, the norms are not stringent enough even for mobile recharger agent who needs to fill up a form and deposit a security amount with an agency that mediates between the individual and the mobile service operator. The latest ruling is expected to bring in more accountability across the chain including mobile operators, mobile subscribers, and recharge facilities.