The Centre on Friday asked telecom companies to stop using Aadhaar for electronic verification of existing mobile phone customers as well as for issuing new connections. The government asked the companies to adhere to the Supreme Court’s verdict in September restricting the use of Aadhaar by private entities.

The Department of Telecom on Friday issued instructions to the companies to discontinue the use of electronic-know your customer (e-KYC) service and report compliance by November 5. The department further said the use of physical Aadhaar card for new connections is permitted, provided the customer offers it voluntarily.

The department said its previous instructions on permitting use of e-Aadhaar as proof of identity or address from UIDAI stands withdrawn. “In addition to this, the licensee shall also delete the column of writing Aadhaar number [which was optional entry] on Customer Acquisition Forms for issuing the new mobile connections,” the order read.

The DoT noted that the telecom industry had suggested an alternate digital process for KYC of mobile subscribers allowing Customer Acquisition Forms to be submitted with live photo of the subscriber and scanned images of proof of address. This would digitise end-to-end process of issuing new connections and making it paperless. The telecom department asked all service providers to offer the proof of concept of the proposed digital process by November 5 for approval.

On September 26, the top court struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that allowed private entities to use the unique identity card data.