In a report by the Times of India, this order comes in the wake of the Lok Niti Foundation case, where the SC, according to a previous report, is said to have made the linking mandatory. The apex court had also said that linking should be completed by 6 February. Failing to do so may lead to deactivation of the SIM card. This effort is to ensure that terrorists and fraudsters cannot be issued SIM cards.
The Centre further added that the 12-digit number and the mobile number must be linked within the stipulated time frame since a decision like extending the deadline cannot be extended unilaterally.
Decisions taken by the Centre becomes crucial in the light of the privacy order passed by the SC in August. However, as per another report, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had said that the Supreme Court’s ruling will have no effect until the Department of Telecom (DoT) makes any changes to it.
The order has also said that the mobile operators cannot store biometric information from the user and neither can they use it. During the UIDAI authentication, the biometric information collected has to be encrypted and sent to the UIDAI immediately. And as per the Aadhaar Act, 2016, if any operator is found to be storing biometric information, it will be punishable with up to three years of jail time.
It must be noted that the Supreme Court is yet to hear a petition regarding the linking of the Aadhaar card number with mobile numbers. The Supreme Court has set up a bench comprising of Chief Justice Deepak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud. The petition would be heard, according to TOI, on 6 November.
Those who wish to get their mobile numbers linked to their Aadhaar number can do so in three ways, as directed by the DoT. It can be linked through one time password or OTP, Aadhaar app, or the IVRS facility.