The Supreme Court (SC) of Nepal has issued an interim order directing toward stopping the sale and purchase of recycled SIM cards. Telcos have been recycling and re-selling SIM cards that have been inactive for more than 6 months. This has caused problems such as taking over the previous user’s mobile banking, social media password, and so on. Let’s learn more about Supreme Court’s Interim Order to stop selling recycled SIM cards.
Supreme Court’s Interim Order To Stop Selling Recycled SIM cards
On December 23, Advocate Sapna Bhandari submitted a writ to the Supreme Court. The writ mentioned the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology, NTA, Nepal telecom, and Ncell as opponents. Today on the 4th of January, the single bench of Sushmalata Mathema issued an interim order against the sale and distribution of recycled SIM cards. The hearing was witnessed by honorable advocates Subhash Pathak, Sapna Bhandari, Pravin Subedi, Arun Satyal, and Avesh Adhikari.
The Supreme Court has also asked about the matter and reasons for recycled SIMs by the operators. The interim order also directs the telcos to submit a written answer with valid proof along with a copy of the order and tender within 15 days. While the court has also directed the Ministry to submit an answer via the office of the Attorney General within 15 days.
On the other hand, advocates have stated their demands in addition to fundamental rights related to the confidentiality of SIM recycling and selling without information. It goes against direction number 31 issued in Bhadra 2077 by NTA as well. Furthermore, the Right to Privacy under Article 28 of the Nepalese constitution 2072 also stands as valid proof as per advocate Sapna Bhandari.
“Telcos recycling the inactive SIM cards after 6 months hinder the fundamental right to privacy of the Nepalese citizens. That’s why I submitted this writ.”, says advocate Sapna Bhandari.
Telcos have been recycling and re-selling inactive SIM cards for several years. As per NTA’s decision of Chaitra 2nd, 2077, the operators can dismiss SIM cards not active for more than 6 months. While NTA also issued a consolidated statement in Bhadra 2077. The statement mentioned a provision to notify the users for re-registration for SIM cards inactive for 6 months. And the SIM cards inactive for more than 6 months should be dismissed as per NTA’s statement. But, the operators have been recycling the SIM cards and selling it to new users.
As known, digital payment has taken over the world. Nepal has also done noticeable progress in recent years. With the rise in the number of mobile banking and digital wallet users, cashless payments have taken a storm. And for registering an account on any e-wallet or mobile banking, there comes a requirement of a SIM card. Hence, SIM cards play a prominent role here.
In the scenario of SIM recycling, the new user can easily tamper with the bank account and digital wallets of the previous users. There have been many instances of theft of money and misuse of funds by the new owners.
An OTP sent to the SIM can easily change the password, and provide access to new devices without many hassles. Likewise, it can also change PINs. Not only this but the social media accounts of the previous owners are also at risk.
On the other note, the present range starting with 98 is also ending as it has reached 50 million mark for Nepal Telecom. It has decided to shut down CDMA srvice in favour of GSM, transfering the 97 range into new GSM SIM number.
So, what do you think of the Interim Order issued by the Supreme Court to stop the distribution of recycled SIM Cards? Do you think the issue should be solved permanently? Do share us your views and opinions in the comment section below.