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How to Apply for Digital Signature Certificate in India?

How to Apply for Digital Signature Certificate in India

Digital signatures were introduced through The Information Act, 2000. The Act provides for digital signatures that ensure authenticity and extend security to the documents by way of a Digital Signature Certificate. A digital signature has proven to be a convenient way of submitting documents in an electronic way. The Digital Signature Certificate details the subscriber of the certificate. Today, filings made by companies under the MCA21 portal require the company to obtain Digital Signature Certificates for their use. In this article, we will thoroughly discuss about how to apply for Digital Signature Certificate in India.

Digital Signature Certificate in India

As the name suggests, it is the digital equivalent of the physical form of identification documents. As per Section 2(q) of the Information Act, 2000, a ‘Digital Signature Certificate’ is defined as a Digital Signature Certificate and issued under Section 35(4). Section 35 of the said Act mentions the process of generating a DSC through an application made by the applicant to the Certifying Authority with the required fee, to the satisfaction of which a DSC is issued. With the rise in the digital system, a Digital Signature provides for easier access to approaching the goal. This is supported by the Digital Signature Certificate.  The validity of such a certificate is up to two years with a minimum of one year.

The Information Act, 2000

The Act provides for the different aspects of the DSC. The ACT mentions the following:

  • DSC represents the subscriber. 
  • Digital Signature Certificate – Suspension, Revocation and Notice.
  • Duties of the subscriber of DSC.
  • Offences, Penalties, Compensation and Adjudication Related to DSC.

Process of Obtaining a Digital Signature Certificate in India

  • Applicants applying for a DSC can directly approach Certifying Authorities with the supporting documents in original form, and their self-attested copies as prescribed by the Central Government.
  • Every application has to be submitted along with the fee to the certifying authority as prescribed by the Central Government. The Central Government prescribes the fee not more than Rs. 25,000/-.
  • An applicant can also obtain a DSC, using Aadhaar e-KYC-based authentication. In this case, supporting documents are not required. 
  • A letter containing the applicant’s information as registered in the Bank database is to be issued by the bank. The said letter should be certified by the Bank Manager.

Steps to Get the DSC in India

Following are the steps given below to get the DSC in India- 

Step 1: Log into the required certifying authority website.

Step 2: Select the type of entity.

Step 3: Fill in the mentioned details such as,

  • Class, validity, type of DSC,
  • Address,
  • Documents, 
  • Fee payment,
  • Other requirements.

Step 4: Submit documents required.

Step 5: Fee payment.

Documents Required To Be Submitted Along With DSC Application Are:

  • A certification practice statement.
  • A statement mentioning the procedures for the identification of the applicant.
  • Payment of such fees,
  • Not exceeding twenty-five thousand rupees as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
  • Identification proofs and any other documents mentioned.

Types of Digital Signature Certificate

There are three different types of DSCs: Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 DSC.

  • In a class 1 category, there is only verification of the names and emails of the individuals. It is not of any use to the companies.
  • In a Class 2 category, the identity of a person is verified against a trusted, pre-verified database. It is for entities such as companies and can be used for filing taxes.
  • In a Class 3 category, the person needs to present himself or herself in front of a Registration Authority and prove his/ her identity. This is the highest category.

Need for a Digital Signature Certificate in India

  • The digital copy of one’s physical identity proof, the Digital Signature Certificate authenticates your identity electronically. 
  • It provides an encrypted form of security for online transactions, maintaining privacy.
  • Individuals and entities also require a DSC for filing their income tax returns. Furthermore, according to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, all reports, applications and forms are to be filled using digital signatures only. 

Suspension of a Digital Signature Certificate

The Certifying Authority may suspend a DSC in cases of:

  • Receiving a request for suspension from the subscriber of the DSC, 
  • Any person authorized to act on behalf of the subscriber.
  • Suspension on account of public interest.

The suspension of a DSC should not extend for a period of more than 15 days unless the subscriber has been given an opportunity of being heard in the matter. The suspension is to be communicated to the DSC subscriber by the Certifying Authority.

Certifying Authority

Appointed by the office of the Controller of Certification Agencies (CCA) under the provisions of the IT Act, a Certifying Authority is the one who upon inspection of the application, grants a DSC. Section 24 of the Act provides the Controller or the Authority the power to either grant a license or reject an application after considering the documents and application and any other related factors as deemed fit.

  • National Informatics Center (NIC)[1]  
  • IDRBT Certifying Authority  
  • CDAC  
  • NSDL, etc.

Conclusion 

The Digital Signature Certificate, like any physical document, provides information about the subscriber of the certificate. This helps the transfer of a more secure and encrypted document. Similar to a Director Identification Number and a Corporation Identification Number, a Digital Signature Certificate is also a necessity while incorporating a company. To apply for a DSC, the provisions to be followed are mentioned in the IT Act, 2000 and as prescribed by the Certifying Authority. For any further clarifications, be sure to contact Bizadvisors.

Read our article:All You Need to Know About Digital Signature Certificate

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