Digital Signature Certificates (DSC) are the digital equivalent (i.e. electronic format) of physical or paper certificates. Certificates serve as proof of identity of an individual for a certain purpose, such as to access information or services on the Internet or to sign documents digitally.
Digital Signatures are legally admissible in a Court of Law, as provided under the provisions of Information Technology Act, 2000.
DSC are basically required for digitally signing the documents, for example: Filing e-forms for incorporation of companies; LLP incorporation; and many more.
A licensed Certifying Authority (CA) issues the digital signature. Certifying Authority (CA) means a person who has been granted a license to issue a digital signature certificate under Section 24 of the Indian IT-Act 2000.
Process of obtaining DSC from Certifying Authorities
- When supporting documents are required?
(DSC) Applicants can directly approach Certifying Authorities (CAs)
*documents shall be self-attested
- When supporting documents not required?
DSCs can also be obtainedusing Aadhar e-KYC based authentication.
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Types of Digital Signature Certificates
- Class 1:These are issued to individual/private subscribers and are used to confirm that the user’s name and email contact details from the clearly defined subject lie within the database of the certifying authority.
- Class 2:In this, the identity of a person is verified against a trusted, pre-verified database.
- Class 3: This is the highest level where the person needs to present himself in front of a Registration Authority (RA) and prove his/ her identity, this could be done physically or electronically (i.e. through video).
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A digital signature is an electronic method of signing an electronic document, whereas a Digital Signature Certificate is a computer based record that:
- Identifies the Certifying Authority issuing it.
- Has the name and other details that can identify the subscriber.
- Contains the subscriber’s public key.
- Is digitally signed by the Certifying Authority issuing it.
- Is valid for either one year or two years.
Following are the requirements for Applying for Digital Signature Certificate:
- Submission of DSC Application form duly filled in by the applicant
- Producing Photo ID proof
- Producing Address proof
Benefits of a digital signature certificate
Digital Signature Certificates are helpful in authenticating the personal information details of the individual holder when conducting business online.
- Reduced cost and time: Instead of signing the hard copy documents physically and scanning them to send them via e-mail, you can digitally sign the PDF files and send them much more quickly.
The Digital Signature certificate holder does not have to be physically present to conduct or authorize a business
- Data integrity: 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.
- Authenticity of documents:Digitally signed documents give confidence to the receiver to be assured of the signer’s authenticity. They can take action on the basis of such documents without getting worried about the documents being forged.
DSC Providing Agencies
- (n) code Solutions Ltd., (A division of Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilisers Company Ltd.)
- E-Mudhra CA
- National Informatics Centre
- Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.
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