The IT and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that total penalty of Rs.2,179.41 crore was imposed on telecom service providers till September 30th for violation of customer verification guidelines. “A total penalty of about Rs 2,179.41 crore has been imposed since the inception till September 30, 2014 on telecom operators for violations of verification guidelines,” said the minister. He said that the department of telecom has issued instructions August 9, 2012 on subscriber verification to Lok Sabha members.
“The verification of identity of mobile phone users is mandatory and the DoT has been issuing instructions from time to time for verification of mobile phone users,” he adds. “These instructions contain procedures for verification of identity of mobile subscribers which stipulate that mobile connection should be issued on the basis of documents as proof of identity and proof of address,” he said.
However, the list of applicable documents as proof of identity and proof of address in the country except in Jammu and Kashmir, northeast and Assam service areas are: passport, arms license, driving licence, Election Commission ID card, income tax PAN card and many more.
On the other hand, the department has found from the audit of customer application forms (CAF) that only about four percent of CAF were non-complaint to the subscriber verification guidelines during the last year 2013-14.
“By invoking licence conditions, the government has prescribed penalties to be imposed in telecom service providers who, during audit, are found non-complaint to the licence conditions and instructions issued by the government on the subject of CAF verification,” he added.
Plus, the maximum penalty has been imposed on Aircel at Rs.486.48 crore followed by Reliance Communications at Rs.454.62 crore. BSNL was imposed a fine of Rs.329.14 crore, Bharti Airtel Rs.309.87 crore, Vodafone Rs.211.85 crore and Idea Cellular Rs.123.44 crore for violation of norms.
Further, Tata Teleservices has been imposed a penalty of Rs.172.80 crore, Sistema Shyam Teleservices Rs.52.31 crore, Uninor Rs.11.65 crore, MTNL Rs.11.17 crore and STel Rs.10.92 crore.
Nevertheless, the Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (Term) Cells, under Department of Telecommunications, carries out monthly sample verification of CAFs along with supporting documents to cross check the compliance on photo, identity, address (PIA) basis.
However, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued new guidelines for verification of new mobile subscribers which are in place since November 9, 2012. Under the new rules, in cases where forged documents are submitted by the subscriber and originals are also forged, police complaint or FIR shall be lodged by the franchisee against the subscriber within 15 days of bringing this to the notice of the franchisee.
In case the franchisee fails to lodge a complaint, the licensee (telecom operator) should lodge complaint against the subscriber and franchisee within further three days. Going ahead, If the licensee does not take action against the subscriber, TERM Cell shall lodge complaint against the licensee.
Besides, the law enforcement agencies can suo-motto register a FIR in case they find that forged documents have been submitted for obtaining mobile SIM under relevant provisions of IPC.