Many people have asked Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) on Twitter whether Aadhaar based KYC/EKYC verification, re-verification or authentication is mandatory for existing and future pre paid and post paid connections. The simple answer to this question is NO.
Aadhaar is “Absolutely Optional for KYC and EKYC”. You can give it as a KYC document or you can give other documents for KYC purposes. It is absolutely your wish/option and Indian government and telecom service providers cannot force you for Aadhaar based KYC or Aadhaar based EKYC.
Before we proceed further, let us make clear that Aadhaar is absolutely optional till the Constitution Bench of Supreme Court decides the matter one way or the other. This is the current legal position even after the passage of Aadhaar Act and Finance Act as these Acts have not annulled the interim orders of Constitution Bench of Supreme Court.
Now let us come back to the answer to the question raised by many mobile users of India. Aadhaar based EKYC verification, re-verification or authentication is not at all mandatory for existing and future pre paid and post paid connections. This is clear by virtue of the order of Supreme Court in the case of Lokniti Foundation v. U.O.I, Writ Petition (C) No. 607 of 2016, dated 06-02-2017.
The petitioner in Lokniti case approached Supreme Court and prayed that there should be a definite mobile phone subscriber verification scheme, to ensure 100% verification of the subscriber. The petitioner prayed that the identity of each subscriber, as also, his/her address should be verified, so that no fake or unverified phone subscriber, can misuse a mobile phone.
A counter affidavit was filed by the U.O.I that made certain unverified averments, the veracity and authenticity of which was not verified by the Supreme Court. The affidavit claimed that as on 31.01.2017, 111.31 Crores Aadhaar card has been issued which represent 87.09% of populations. Now this is clearly over exaggeration and data fudging as we have no independent constitutional authority that can verify this claim. In fact, it would be prudent to say that if we remove duplicates, illegal and fake Aadhaar, UIDAI would not have even 50% Aadhaar enrollment.
For instance, in the month of October 2016, U.O.I was claiming that Aadhaar enrollment has reached at 96% of Indian population. However, in its affidavit filed in Supreme Court U.O.I agreed that Aadhaar enrollment is 87.09% of Indian population as on 31.01.2017. So U.O.I was telling white lies to Indians and Supreme Court. It is still lying as Aadhaar is not more than 50% enrolled till the month of May 2017 if we remove data fudging. Attorney General also lied to Supreme Court regarding issues of FATCA, data breaches, cyber security, etc in Section 139AA hearing. So the entire stand of U.O.I regarding Aadhaar is based on lies, coercion, arm twisting and violation of fundamental rights and rule of law.
U.O.I is so blatantly lying that in many states Aadhaar enrollment has exceeded the population of many states. But Supreme Court is not willing to take note of many lies that U.O.I is openly telling to it. We need a Constitutional Body to come up with exact figures so that govt cannot fool us with 99% figure. We must also remove the percentage of the people who have already died and those who have been delisted from UIDAI database from this 99% figure.
In Lokniti case U.O.I and Supreme Court also wrongly presumed that those who have Aadhaar card/number normally use the same for obtaining a new telephone connection using E-KYC process. This is completely false and highly misleading. Just like other lies and misinformation that U.O.I is using in Supreme Court, this assertion is also absolutely false.
People are not at all using Aadhaar based EKYC and it is not used to get a new connection. Traditional KYC requirements are complied with while purchasing new connections by using KYC documents like driving license, voter ID, ration card, etc. Subsequently, the user is verified when he calls a particular number of telecom service provider and confirms the details of the documents submitted by him at the time of connection.
This is the present KYC mechanism in operation in India for buying new mobile connections in 99% of the cases. As to re-verification also, paper based documents are submitted at regular interval to verify the pre paid connections. Nobody is using Aadhaar based EKYC for this purpose and U.O.I is simply telling lies.
It was submitted by the Attorney General in Lokniti case that the procedure now being adopted, will be sufficient to alleviate the fears, projected in the writ petition. This statement pertained to verification, re-verification and authentication of existing and new customers using traditional KYC documents and Aadhaar based EKY, wherever applicable for 1% of Indian population. U.O.I clearly agreed that both KYC and EKYC would constitute the verification, re-verification and authentication system of telecom service providers.
So Supreme Court was just satisfied that the prayers made in the writ petition have been substantially dealt with, and an effective process has been evolved to ensure identity verification, as well as, the addresses of all mobile phone subscribers for new subscribers. The Supreme Court was actually talking about the present KYC mechanism in operation in India that is used by 99% of the Indians for buying new mobile connections and their corresponding verification and re-verification. Supreme Court nowhere relied upon Aadhaar based EKYC for verification, re-verification or purchasing of new connections as that is not used by even 1% of Indian population.
Supreme Court also observed that in the near future, and more particularly, within one year from today, a similar verification will be completed, in the case of existing subscribers. The verification that Supreme Court is talking about here is mandatory KYC verification and optional Aadhaar based EKYC verification. So those who are not interested in Aadhaar based EKYC can simply refuse and give other KYC documents. Neither Indian government nor your telecom service provider can force you to use Aadhaar based EKYC even if you are an Aadhaar holder. For those who do not have an Aadhaar, they have just one option, i.e. traditional KYC documents.
However, no telecom service provider can suspend, cancel or in any other way dilute your services for the simple reason that you have refused or failed to go for an Aadhaar based EKYC verification, re-verification or authentication. Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) hopes that this article would clear the doubts of all stakeholders and would result in a proper and legal verification, re-verification and authentication drive in India.