Everything has become digitized in this new era and e-signing is no exception. Digital Signature is an electronic form of a signature. Just as one authenticates a document with a handwritten signature, electronic documents are authenticated by digital signatures. It's the digital equivalent of a handwritten signature or stamped seal, but it offers far more inherent security, and also the technology makes sure the process of signing documents digitally is easy and hassle-free.
In many countries, including India, digital signature certificates are considered legally binding in the same way as traditional handwritten document signatures. For all the documents filed by companies, LLPs that come under MCA need to file various documents using digital signatures. Such a signature must be affixed by the person who is authorized to do so. Applicants can directly approach Certifying Authorities (CAs) with original supporting documents, and self-attested copies in order to get their DSC issued.
A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) can be presented electronically to prove identity, access services on the internet, or sign certain documents digitally. It can provide evidence of the origin, identity, and status of electronic documents, transactions, or digital messages. It is a secure digital key that gives a high level of online security by ensuring absolute privacy of information exchanged using a DSC. In this article, we’ll discuss DSC, its application process, and the benefits it brings.
How to get Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)
For ensuring the security or authenticity of documents filed electronically the information act 2000 demands a valid digital signature on the documents submitted electronically. This is the only and safest way that one can submit their documents electronically. The digital signature certificate is very important for new company registration and should be acquired by only those agencies which are appointed by the controller of certification agencies (CCA). One should not use DSC given by any other agency which is not approved and it’s illegal to use another's DSC as yours or the false one. The applicants can approach the certifying authorities with original supporting documents and self-attested copies either offline or online.
Depending upon the type of applicant, the documents required to obtain DSC will differ
Documents required by Indian Residents for DSC
➭ ID Proof, PAN Card of the Applicant
➭ Bank Account Passbook & Bank Statements signed by the bank (should not be older than 3 Months)
➭ Address Proof, Passport & Driving License
➭ Registration Certificate
➭ Post Office ID Card
➭ Voter ID Card and Aadhar Card
➭ A photo ID card (Issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs of State/Central Government)
➭ Any Government-issued photo ID card which bears the applicant’s signature
➭ Electricity Bill & Water Bill (should not be older than 3 Months)
➭ Sales/Service/VAT Tax registration certificate
➭ Municipal Corporation/Property Tax Receipt
Documents required by Foreign Nationals for DSC
➭ ID Proof
➭ Attested copy of Applicant Passport & VISA
➭ Address Proof
➭ Attested copy of any other Address proof issued by the Government
➭ Attested copy of Resident Permit certificate
Validity of Digital Signature
Agencies issue DSCs with one or two-year validity. However, after expiry, you can renew it by paying a certain prescribed amount of fees for it to the central government. Also, the request for the renewal of the certificate should be made at least 7 days before the expiry of the validity period for the digital certificate.
Advantages of Digital Signatures
Digital signature certificates ensure that businesses save on cost and time with documents and contracts signed off with a click of a button. There are huge savings in cost and time especially when the person is required to sign from a different place. Be it a tablet, phone, or computer, DSC can seamlessly ensure this otherwise tedious task is wrapped up in just a few minutes.
When signing digitally, the signers identify themselves as it can provide evidence of origin, identity, and status of electronic documents, transactions, or digital messages. This acts as a trustworthy means of identification.
Instead of physically visiting your branch, office, or store, they can sign from anywhere, on any device, and at their own pace. And besides resulting in faster turnarounds, this better experience translates into higher satisfaction. This results in benefiting you, your clients, partners, and stakeholders.
Digital signatures provide authenticity and verification. This can stand in any court of law like any other signed paper document. Time stamping and the ability to track and easily archive documents improve and simplify audit and compliance.
Digital signatures create an audit trail that makes internal record-keeping easier for businesses. With everything recorded and stored digitally, there are fewer opportunities for a manual signee or record-keeper to make a mistake or misplace something.
Documents that are signed digitally cannot be altered or edited after signing, which makes the data safe and secure. The government agencies often ask for these certificates to cross-check and verify the business transaction.
Type of DSC Certificates
Basically, there are 3 types of Digital Signature Certificates Class-1, Class-2 & Class-3 each having different levels of security.
Class 1 DSC
It is issued by the certifying authorities to an individual or Private subscriber. It carries the name and email id of the DSC holder.
Class 2 DSC
It is issued by the certifying authorities to the persons who have signing authorities which includes CEOs. and Directors. Class 2 DSC can be used by them for Income Tax Returns (ITR), GST Returns (GSTR), and other government e-forms.
Class 3 DSC
It is issued by the certifying authorities to a person or entity who wants to participate in the e-auction and online tenders.
Digital signatures have become a great technology in today's time. This technology has also speeded up which serves to validate the authenticity of signatures. A Digital Certificate or signature provides people strong proof that the invoice was created by an authenticated sender as well as the information was not changed on the way as well. Once you receive a DSC, you can do away with manual physical documents and can normally start entering into contracts with various business establishments using DSC.