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Telecom companies should follow SC’s order and not pursue mandatory Aadhaar-linking

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NewDehli:-The Supreme Court’s clarification on Wednesday that it had never asked for linking of Aadhaar with mobile phone numbers seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Besides continuing with the pesky calls and spam text messages, mobile phone retailers are refusing to issue new SIM cards to people without Aadhaar, the biometric-based 12-digit unique identity number. It has affected most Indians, but especially inter-state migrant professionals, labourers, senior citizens and visiting Non-Resident Indians.
What’s lamentable is that the apex court’s clarification itself indicates that its judgments are either lost in translation or are disregarded willfully by both the government and the telecom companies, that too, without any consequences or penalties in India. The government, in its over-zealousness to exercise its powers and expand the role of the state in private life of citizens, misinterpreted the court’s directive, which had held that the verification of mobile phone users was in the interest of national security. Million of consumers have been subjected to harassment through calls and messages and unnecessary inconvenience by sending them in droves and long queues to mobile provider retail centers.
It is lamentable that this continues to happen though it has been over a month since the Supreme Court ruled that the Aadhaar linkage should not be pursued until a Constitution bench decides on the matter.
The telecom companies have absolved themselves of all responsibility by saying that they have simply been complying with the government’s orders and the court did not direct them to abandon the linking process. This is preposterous because the apex court’s instruction is an unambiguous binding not only on the government but corporations too. The Union telecom ministry should urgently withdraw its earlier diktat and Indian telecom companies immediately need to stop badgering consumers with annoying calls and text messages for Aadhaar linking.

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