Digital Signature Services in India
Efficient, expert, and economical support services for obtaining all three categories of Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs) come under the rich gamut of our ancillary legal and advisory services. Our Delhi-based and internationally famous law firm extends almost all legal and consultancy services to companies and firms active in all economic sectors in India related with all legal Acts and Statutes of their concern, and all major categories of intellectual property. This webpage contains exclusive information about how to get digital signature certificate (DSC), besides necessary information about the digital signature certificate and uses of the various DSCs coming under three broad classes in India.
Electronic documents such as e-Forms, are signed digitally using a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC), to prove one's identity and ensure the authenticity of the documents filed electronically (Documents cannot be altered or edited after being signed digitally using DSC). A digital signature is thus, a physical signature in electronic format, created using cryptographic algorithms. In general, DSCs are now-a-days inevitably used for authenticating one's identity, for getting access to specific information/services on the internet, and for signing all documents digitally for the purposes of electronic filing/transaction. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs [MCA21 e-Governance Programme] has mandated to use DSCs pertaining to the Class-II and above category, by all companies while filing electronically with it all relevant reports and documents, forms, and diverse applications. The digital signature certificates (DSCs) are also used for Income Tax e-filings, e-Tenders, and for participation in e-Auctions. The pieces of information contained by a digital signature certificate (DSC) are the User's Name & Identity, PIN Code, Country, Email Address, Date of Issuance of the DSC, and name of the licensed Certifying Authority (CA).
Classes of Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)
In India, there are three classes of DSCs issued by the duly authorized Certifying Authorities; these three classes of digital signature certificate (DSC) are elucidated below. The Office of the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA), functioning under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India, issues certificates only to the Certifying Authorities (CAs), and CAs issue DSCs to the end-users. A Certifying Authority is a person or entity which has been granted a license by the CCA to issue DSCs in strict accordance with the Section 24 of the Indian IT Act of 2000. Our digital signature services in India help people and economic entities in obtaining all three classes of DSCs.
Class-1: This class of DSC is issued to individuals and private subscribers, and confirms the identity and other details (maintained in the database of the concerned CA) of the user/sender. Thus, this class of DSC is mainly used for securing email communications.
Class-2: This class of DSC is issued to the directors and other signatory authorities of diverse companies, mainly for the purposes of e-filings with ROC, MCA, Income Tax Department, and other regulatory bodies concerned. In this case, the identity of a person stands verified against a pre-verified and trusted database.
Class-3: This is the highest category of DSC, issued to a person after his/her personal presence before the Registration Authority (RA), besides proving his/her identity. This class of DSC is necessary for those people who wish to participate in online tenders and bidding in e-auctions, conducted anywhere in entire India.
How to get Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)
Any specific class of DSC is decided by the type of applicant and the purpose for which the DSC will be used. Again, for obtaining the desired class of DSC, the applicant is required to contact directly with any duly licensed Certifying Authority, such as eMudhra, National Informatics Centre, Sify, etc. The various documents and pieces of information needed for this purpose, in general, are listed below. The extensive list of duly licensed Certifying Authorities located in India is readily available on MCA Portal, along with their contact information.In general, the pieces of information and documentation required for obtaining a DSC (particularly of class-2) are the following:
- A self-attested copy of the PAN Card
- Proof of Identity
- Passport-sized colored photographs
- Proof of Address (Any Utility Bill/Aadhar Card/Passport/Driving License/Bank Statement)
- Mobile Number and Email ID of the applicant
- A duly signed signature on the application form, and also on the subscriber's agreement
- A Demand Draft/Cheque (payable at the mentioned location) bearing the specified amount of fee/service charge
- And, other necessary/demanded documents.
There is no requirement of presenting DIN/DPIN for applying for DSC. The validity of a DSC is of one year or for two years, on expiry of the same, punctual renewal shall be necessary. The digital signature price or cost may differ from one CA to another. Lastly, the time taken by a CA for issuing the desired class of DSC generally varies from three to seven days. However, upon fulfilment of the specified terms & conditions, a DSC may also be issued on the same day, based on eKYC for Aadhar holders.