New Telecom Act 2023: Strict Penalties for Excess SIM Cards

Beware: Be ready To Pay 2 Lakh penalty, jailtime, If You Own Excess SIM Cards than Permitted By the New Telecom Act 2023?

Beware: Be ready To Pay 2 Lakh penalty, jailtime, If You Own Excess SIM Cards than Permitted By the New Telecom Act 2023?

Share This News

Violating the SIM card limit can result in hefty fines and imprisonment under the new regulations, with the Sanchar Saathi portal aiding compliance and monitoring.

Under the new Telecommunications Act of 2023, possessing more SIM cards than the permitted limit can lead to severe penalties, including fines up to Rs 2 lakh and potential imprisonment, as experts caution. Nittin Arora from Grant Thornton Bharat highlights that the maximum limit for SIM cards is set at nine per person, with certain exceptions in regions like Jammu & Kashmir and the Northeast. 

Arora explains that the Act emphasizes existing rules on subscriber verification. Penalties for exceeding the SIM card limit escalate with repeat offenses. “The first-time offense for obtaining SIM cards beyond the prescribed limit would incur a fine of up to Rs 50,000, increasing to Rs 2 lakh for each subsequent offense,” Arora detailed. Additionally, fraudulent acquisition can lead to imprisonment or fines up to Rs 50 lakh under the Act.

DSK Legal clarified speaking to news agency, that there is no specific provision for fines or imprisonment solely for possessing more SIM cards than the limit, apart from the disconnection of excess numbers. However, obtaining SIM cards through fraud, cheating, or personation is punishable with up to 3 years of imprisonment, or a fine up to Rs 50 lakh, or both. “If someone has more than the prescribed limit of SIM cards, it is possible these may have been obtained illegally”. 

To assist in monitoring registered SIM cards, the government has introduced the ‘Sanchar Saathi’ portal. An Expert advises, “The Sanchar Saathi portal will tell you how many mobile numbers are currently registered in your name. This is not linked to Aadhaar per se, so you will not be able to enter your Aadhaar ID and check.” This portal helps verify and manage active connections under one’s name, preventing misuse.

Individuals with more than nine SIM cards before the new regulations can expect re-verification. The Department of Telecommunications issued guidelines on December 7, 2021, for surrendering, transferring, or disconnecting excess connections flagged for re-verification.

With stringent penalties now in place, adherence to SIM card limits and vigilance in monitoring registrations are essential. Regular checks on the Sanchar Saathi portal are crucial to ensure compliance and avoid legal repercussions. 

The DoT’s platform, Telecom Analytics for Fraud Management and Consumer Protection (TAF-COP), also allows users to see how many mobile numbers are linked to their Aadhaar card. This portal helps individuals ensure that their Aadhaar is not being misused by criminals for financial crimes. To purchase a SIM card, presenting a valid Aadhaar card is mandatory, but rising incidents of Aadhaar-related fraud underscore the importance of safeguarding this information.

Follow these steps to know how many SIM cards are issued on your Aadhaar Card-

• Visit the Sanchar Sathi webpage at www.sancharsathi.gov.in

• You now have two choices in front of you

• Select the option to learn about your mobile connections

• You will be sent to a new page

• Enter your ten-digit mobile phone number

• Type in the captcha code

• Enter your OTP

• You will be sent to a new page once more

• This page displays a list of mobile phones associated with your Aadhaar card

Here’s everything you need to know

E-KYC, or digital KYC, is now required for both new SIM cards and those wishing to acquire a SIM with their current number. This implies that you can no longer obtain a SIM card by just providing a copy of your ID.

The new guidelines also ban the distribution of bulk SIM cards. While persons with companies can still obtain bulk SIMs, normal consumers will be limited to up to nine SIMs on a single ID.

SIM cards that have been deactivated are prohibited for 90 days, giving consumers plenty of time to get them re-activated without fear of the SIM being provided to someone else. This is especially crucial now that a cell phone is linked to many services that can only be accessed using OTP codes

The registration of SIM cards strengthens personal privacy and national security, providing law enforcement agencies a valuable tool for investigating criminal activity, monitoring communications, and preventing potential threats.

Joyville