Supreme Court rules that telcos cannot be prevented from reissuing deactivated numbers

If users wish to stop using their number, they can do so by deactivating their WhatsApp account

The Supreme Court (SC) has stated unequivocally that it will not request that the carriers cease providing deactivated phone numbers. The fact that the number is reissued to a different individual after a predetermined period of time (90 days) when the SIM is deactivated is the source of agony for the customer in this situation. This means that another individual to whom the number was issued may be able to access the personal data linked to the deactivated number, including the data used by WhatsApp.

A petition by attorney Rajeshwari, who requested that the top court direct TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) to direct the telcos to refrain from reissuing the deactivated mobile numbers to new customers, was dismissed by a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti, reported TNN.

However, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is in charge of allocating numbering resources, according to TRAI, which represented this claim before the Supreme Court through attorney Sanjay Kapur. Moreover, it takes ninety days for the deactivated number to be reactivated. Therefore, the SC thinks it is the customer’s responsibility to take the necessary precautions to guarantee privacy is safeguarded. If users wish to stop using their number, they can do so by deactivating their WhatsApp account.

As a result, the SC would not consider Advocate Rajeshwari’s request. Moreover, resources for numbering are limited and cannot be squandered. Therefore, in order to reallocate a deactivated number to someone else, it must be brought to the market at a specific time. The DoT provides the telecoms with extra numbering resources as needed. For the purpose of openness, the list of numbers that the telcos receive is updated frequently and made public on the DoT website.

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