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Overview

Digital Signatures certificate (DSC) is a digital certificate establishes the identity of the holder. A digital signature is a type of asymmetric cryptography used to simulate the security properties of a handwritten signature on paper. It is like a PAN card or a passport and enables the holder to prove his identity. 

Usage: A Class 3 DSC is issued by a Certifying Authority (CA) after thorough verification of the user’s identity and provides higher level of assurance to the relying party (generally the receiver of such digitally signed document). Class 3 DSC is used for filing electronic documents and electronic submissions of tenders and auctions, e-bidding, e-auctioning, Patents Filing , logos Filing and for Registrar of corporations E-filing, VAT return e-filing, TDS return  E-filing,  Income tax E-filing, sign a word or PDF and more.

There are different types of SCs DSCs. Class 3 DSCs are with the highest level of cryptographic security requirements and can be issued in the name of individuals as well as companies / organisations.

Assurance Level: This certificate can be issued to individuals as well as organizations. These are high assurance certificates, primarily interested for e-commerce applications, so they should be issued to individuals only on their personal (physical) appearance before the Certifying Authorities.

Documents

For Indian

1. Application Form – Duly Filled, Signed and applicant photo with across signature of applicant.

2. Authorization Letter from Organization.

3. Proof of identification – The following documents are accepted as a proof of identification:

  • Passport
  • PAN Card of the applicant
  • Driving License
  • Photo ID card issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs of Centre/State Governments
  • Any Government-issued photo ID card bearing the signature of the applicant

4. Proof of Address – The following documents can be submitted as a proof of address:

  • AADHAAR Card
  • Voter ID Card
  • Driving License (DL)/Registration Certificate (RC)
  • Water Bill (Not older than 3 Months).
  • Electricity Bill (Not older than 3 Months)

5. Attestation of all Supporting Documents, Application Form. 

For Foreign National

1. Application Form – Duly Filled, Signed and applicant photo with across signature of applicant.

2. Authorization Letter from Organization.

3. Proof of Identity (All given below)

  • Copy of passport.
  • Copy of VISA (If applicants are not living in their native country)
  • Copy of Resident Permit Certificate (if applicant is presently in India)

Note: Attested copy of PAN is mandatory if applicant has a PAN.

4. Proof of Address (Choose from options below)

  • Copy of passport (with address included).
  • Copy of any other Government/Bank issued documents.

5. Attestation of all Supporting Documents, Application Form.

Types of Certificates

  • Sign – Sign DSC can only be used for signing documents. The most popular usage of is signing the PDF file for Tax Returns, MCA and other websites. Signing via DSC gives the assurance of not only the integrity of the signer but also the data. It is proof of untampered and unaltered data.
  • Encrypt – Encrypt DSC can only be used to encrypt a document it is popularly used in the tender portal, to help companies encrypt the documents and upload. You could also use the certificate to encrypt and send classified information. Encrypt DSC is fit for e-commerce documents, legal documentation and sharing documents that are highly confidential and contains information that needs to be protected.
  • Sign & Encrypt – Sign & Encrypt DSC can be used for both signing and encrypting. It is convenient for users who need to authenticate and maintain the confidentiality of the information shared. Its usage includes filing government form and application.

Validity of the Certificate: The certificates can be bought with a validity upto three years. Validity if the certificate is controlled by law and one cannot buy certificate more than 3 years and less that 1 year validity.

Process for issuing DSC: The certificates can be issued to both an individual and an organization (Indian and Foreign). 

Class 3 DSC can be given to Foreign National after accommodation of required documents and by following appropriate validation. Digital Signature for Foreign Organization can be given to any representative who is residing in India and working for the concerned association. Citizens of different nations or their organizations, as well as Indian nationals abroad, can apply for a digital signature to securely transact in the nation.

Procedure

A person can obtain DSC by applying to any Indian Certifying Authority (CA) authorized vendors to the certifying authority like TaxUpp. The vendors further provide general or customer-oriented information regarding obtaining a DSC.

Licensed CA issues the digital signature. CA means the authority that has been granted a license to issue a digital signature certificate under Section 24 of the Indian IT-Act 2000.

How does DSC works?

Digital Signature Certificate, in simple terms, is a file created by a Licensed Certifying Authority through encryption and is then issued to you, in the USB eToken. When signing any particular document this file is accessed, which acts like a ‘key’ (Private Key) and locks & secures the document being signed (through encryption). [This is similar to using a key in a physical lock to secure your valuables in a bank locker – a lock can only be opened by its own key.

In addition to locking the document being signed, this file also adds a Digital Certificate to it containing your identity details, viz. name, Organization’s name, email ID, etc.

It also adds a key code (known as public key) which is the same key that resides in the certifying authority server, thereby allowing the other party to validate the authenticity of your DSC. Contrary to popular myth, the DSC does NOT contain a scanned copy of your physical signature.

Benefits

DSC helps authenticate the personal information details of an individual when conducting business online. However, some of the amazing benefits of the digital signature certificate are as follows.

  • Reduces cost and time

The digital signature certificate saves a lot of time. Instead of signing the hard copy of documents physically, one can digitally sign the PDF files and send them quickly. The DSC holder does not have to be present physically on the spot to authorize or conduct business. Therefore, documents can be signed instantly, from anywhere in the world.

  • Data integrity

The documents that are signed digitally cannot be edited or altered once it is signed. It makes the data secure and safe. Online digital signature reduces the risk of duplication of the documents. It ensures that the signature is verified and legitimate. All the signers are provided with passwords, pins, and codes that can verify the identity and approve their signatures. Also, time-stamping provides the date and time of the signature. Thus, minimizing the risk of tampering. However, all government agencies often ask for these certificates to cross-check and verify the business transactions.

  • Workflow efficiency

The digital signature ensures better efficiency in a workflow. You can manage and track documents easily with less effort and time involved. There are many features of digital signature that help up the work process. For example, email notifications can help to remind a person to sign. Whereas, status tracking helps to know at which stage the document is at.

  • Customer experience

Digital signatures provide the convenience of signing important documents wherever the customers are located. Salespeople do not have to wait for their customers to come to the office or bank. The documents can be signed off at the doorstep. This is suitable, especially in the remote areas and small towns providing personalized and improved services. The customers have the freedom to be anywhere and be engaged with the company by making business and services easy, quick and user-friendly.

Disclaimer

The contents of this article are for information purposes only and do not constitute an advice or a legal opinion and are personal views of the author. It is based upon relevant law and/or facts available at that point of time and prepared with due accuracy & reliability. Readers are requested to check and refer relevant provisions of statute, latest judicial pronouncements, circulars, clarifications etc before acting on the basis of the above write up.  The possibility of other views on the subject matter cannot be ruled out. 

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Helpful resources

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Digital Signature Certificate – Procedures, Benefits, Documents, DSC Classes 1, 2 & 3

The Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is the digital key issued by the certifying authority.... Read More

30 Aug, 2021

By Taxupp Admin

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