The High court dismissed a case where the Uganda Human Rights Network (HRN) and Legal Brains Trust had dragged Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to court over the Sim card registration exercise.
High court Judge Yasin Nyanzi, while delivering his judgment on Friday, said the petitioners had failed to prove how the status quo would be maintained should court accept their petition.
"... there are criminals and like-minded people who would not like to register their Simcards irrespective of the circumstances," the judge said.
The petitioners had argued that UCC had no right to switch off people who will have failed to register their cards. UCC's deadline for registration ended on Saturday, with more than one million unregistered cards expected to be switched off.
According to UCC, the number of registered SIM card owners had reached 92 per cent as of August 30, an increase from 70 per cent five months ago. To start registering cards, UCC used the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act, 2010.
SIM card registration in Uganda is part of the regional exercise. Under the umbrella body called the East Africa Communications Organisation (EACO), the East Africa region set mid 2012 as the deadline to have all existing SIM cards registered.
Reacting to the case, UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi said he was not surprised by the outcome of the petition since UCC was acting within the ambit of the law. He said UCC would not give more extensions; whoever hasn't registered will have their Sim cards switched off.
According to UCC, at least 8 per cent of the estimated 17 million mobile phone subscribers have not yet registered their Simcards.