A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is a protected digital key that verifies the identity of the holder, served by a Certifying Authority (CA). It normally includes your identity (name, country, email, APNIC account name and your public key). Digital Certificates apply Public Key Infrastructure signifying data that has been signed digitally or encrypted by a private key can be decrypted only by its related public key. A digital certificate includes an electronic "credit card" that includes your credentials while doing business or other transactions on the Web.
The Information Technology Act, 2000 is having provisions for use of Digital Signatures on the documents submitted in electronic format. This is authentic and safe way for submitting a document electronically. All filings are performed by the companies/LLPs under MCA21 e-Governance programme need to be filed using Digital Signatures by the individual authorised for signing the documents.
Legal Warning - Only the valid Digital Signatures served to you can be used. It is illegitimate to use Digital Signatures of anybody except the one to whom it is served.
Certification Agencies - Under the provisions of IT Act, 2000, Certification Agencies are employed by the office of the Controller of Certification Agencies (CCA). There are a total of 8 Certification Agencies authorised by the CCA to serve Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs).
Class of Digital Signature Certificates - The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has fixed a Class-II or above category signing certificate for e-Filings under MCA21. An individual who already possesses the particular Digital Signature Certificate for any other application can use the same for filings under MCA21 and is not needed to get a new Digital Signature Certificate.
Validity of Digital Signatures - The Digital Signature Certificates are usually issued with 1 year and 2 year validity. Once the time of initial issue is expired, these can be renewed.
Pricing of Digital Signatures - It involves the cost of medium (a UBS token which is a onetime cost), the cost of issue of DSC and the renewal cost after the time of validity. The company representatives and experts are needed to get Digital Signature Certificate. This is free to obtain the same from any one of the approved Certification Agencies according to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs portal. The cost of issue regarding each agency differs and this is changed with market.
Although for the direction of stakeholders, the Ministry has acquired the costs of issuing Digital Signature Certificates at the consumer end from the Certification Agencies.
Applicants can approach directly to Certifying Authorities (CAs) with original and relevant documents. Self-attested copies will be enough in this case
Digital Signature Certificates can also be obtained where offered by CA, using Aadhaar eKYC based verification and supporting documents are not necessary in this circumstance
A letter/certificate served by a Bank including the information as sustained in the Bank database can be accepted. Such certificate/ letter should be certified by the Bank Manager
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Digital Signature Certificates (DSC) are known as the digital counterpart (which is electronic format) of physical or paper certificates. Few instances of physical certificates are passports, drivers' licenses or membership cards. Certificates act as proof of identity of a person for a certain reason. For example, a driver's license can recognize someone who is legally permitted to drive in a country. Similarly, a digital certificate can be electronically offered to prove identity of a person to obtain information or services on the Internet or to digitally sign certain documents.
Physical documents can be signed manually, likewise, electronic documents. For instance e-forms are needed to be signed digitally using a Digital Signature Certificate.
Applicants of Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) can approach Certifying Authorities (CAs) directly with original and relevant documents and self-attested copies will be enough in this regard.
Digital Signature Certificates can also be acquired, wherever presented by CA, using Aadhaar eKYC depending on authentication and supporting documents are not needed in this situation.
A letter/certificate served by a Bank including the applicant's information regarding Digital Signature Certificate as stored in the Bank database can be accepted. Such certificate /letter must be certified by the Bank Manager.
Digital signature is served by a licensed Certifying Authority (CA). Certifying Authority (CA) denotes an individual who has been approved a license for issuing a digital signature certificates under Section 24 of the Indian IT-Act 2000.
The kinds of Digital Signature Certificates are as follows :
Class 2: Here, the identity of an individual is confirmed against a pre-verified and reliable database.
Class 3: This is the highest level where the individual requires presenting himself or herself before a Registration Authority (RA) and establish his/ her identity.
Digital Signature Certificate of Class 2 and Class 3 category served by a licensed Certifying Authority (CA) requires to be received for e-Filing on the website of Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
The cost of getting a digital signature certificate may differ since there are a lot of units serving Digital Signature Certificates and their charges may vary.
The Certifying Authorities are approved to serve a Digital Signature Certificate with a validity of 1 or 2 years.
Digital Signatures are accepted legally in a Court of Law, under the provisions of IT Act, 2000.