SC: Verify All Unverified Pre-Paid Mobile Phone Subscribers

SC: Verify All Unverified Pre-Paid Mobile Phone Subscribers

The Supreme Court on Monday suggested to the government that all unverified pre-paid mobile phone subscribers must be subjected to a proper verification process to ensure that such numbers are not misused for criminal or terrorist activities.A bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar said it could be done in a phased manner or such subscribers could be given six months for verification, failing which they should not be allowed any recharge facility.

The top court’s suggestion came after a PIL petitioner, Lokniti Foundation, pointed out that almost five crore pre-paid subscribers were using their mobile phones without proper verification.Expressing serious concern over the possibility of misuse of unverified cell numbers, the bench said such subscribers could be given an opportunity to get them verified at the time of recharge.

The court disposed of the PIL after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the government would complete the verification process within a year.During the hearing, Rohatgi submitted that it’s a complicated matter as 90 per cent of the mobile subscribers were pre-paid who get their phone recharged at lakhs of kiosks spread across the country.He, however, clarified that all new cellphone subscribers were being subjected to an ‘Aadhaar-based e-KYC’ process.Lok Niti foundation had filed the PIL in July 2016 seeking the court’s intervention to check misuse of unverified SIM cards in mobile phones.

The top court had on January 23 given two weeks to the Centre to put in place a mechanism to ensure proper verification of all mobile phone subscribers while issuing SIM cards.CJI Khehar had said it was important to remove fictitious subscribers for a crackdown on fraudulent activities.Highlighting the dangers poses by unverified SIM cards, the petitioner had said it was a grave risk to the national security and the government must act expeditiously.

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