NEW DELHI: In a bid to end the increasing number of fake mobile phone subscribers in India, the Supreme Court on Monday told the Centre to implement an effective and stringent mechanism within a year to ensure 100% verification of mobile users with regard to their identities and ensure that no fake or unverified identities be accepted while issuing SIM cards.
Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi informed the bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar that the Centre has prepared an application form which has to be filled up by new mobile subscribers through e-KYC process. The Attorney General assured the bench that the entire process will be completed within a year.
The bench suggested that the entire process should be done in a phased manner or such subscribers be given six months for verification, failing which they should not be allowed any recharge facility.
“It is submitted that an effective system will be put in place and the process of scrutiny will be completed in one year... We are satisfied that the prayers made in the writ petition have been substantially dealt with," the bench said and hoped that the process would be completed soon, and hopefully before the completion of one year.
The court was hearing a PIL by Lokniti foundation in 2016 which said that terrorists, criminals and anti-social elements routinely use SIM cards obtained on the basis of forged/stolen documents to commit heinous crimes like kidnappings, extortion and other organised crimes in all parts of the country.
Expressing serious concern over the possibility of misuse of unverified cell numbers, the bench said subscribers should be given an opportunity to get them verified at the time of recharge.
AG Rohatgi also informed the bench that the matter is complicated as 90 percent of the mobile subscribers have prepaid SIM cards which they can recharge at infinite kiosks spread across the country.
The Supreme 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.