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Digital Signature Certificate - Application, Benefits, And Procedures

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Introduction: Digital Signature

Every office whether it be a corporate office or otherwise has started to deal with enormous digital data, the digital data could be anything ranging from confidential documents regarding the office or other documents necessary for the daily running and business of the office. By opting to deal with documentation digitally, every office tries to be as paperless as possible, resulting in less use of paper, which is good for the trees and betterment and easement in handling and dealing with the documents. 

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A digital Signature is a technique commonly used to validate the integrity and authenticity of a digital message or any digital document. It was created with the intent of making a foolproof method to solve the issue of impersonation and tampering with digital documents and communications.

What Is A Digital Signature Certificate? 

Digital Signature and Digital Signature Certificates are commonly used as alternatives by name and description by technophiles; the difference between them is comparable to Earth and the Moon. A digital Signature Certificate is generally issued by any third party, but most often than not, a majority of them are governmental authorities and offices. 

A Digital Signature Certificate is more like an identity card, it bears a key that is digitally secured and stands a witness to the possessor of the certificate. It is presented electronically to gain information access or, services through the internet and to sign documents digitally. 

Application For Digital Signature Certificate Application

An application for acquiring a Digital Signature Certificate application can be applied online. Or:- 

  • Interested individuals who want to acquire a Digital Signature Certificate application could approach with self-attested original supporting documents. 
  • A certificate issued by a banking institution that contains the personal information of the interested applicant; the personal information shall already be in the banking institution’s database and the certificate should be issued by the manager of the bank. 
  • A Digital Signature Certificate can be attained alternatively by submitting concrete address and identity proofs like the Adhar Card of the applicant. 

Necessities To Get A Digital Signature Certificate:

Applicants interested in obtaining a Digital Signature Certificate shall apply to the certifying authority. The entire application process requires minimal documents. Offices that have the authority to issue a Digital Signature Certificate are chosen and appointed by the Controller of Certification Agencies. 

Validity Of A Digital Signature Certificate

The validity of the certificates generally lasts for two years, however, after two years, it could be renewed after payment of a certain amount of fee which is decided by the authority of the central government. The request to renew the certificate shall be made at least a week before the expiry of the validity of the Digital Signature Certificate. 

A Digital Signature Certificate provides security to a business since it is a secure digital key that certifies the identity of the digital Signature Certificate holder. This results in the protection of credibility when dealing with handling digital documents with maximum efficiency. 

The Digital Signatures and Digital Signature certificates are legally binding in the entirety of India’s territory and could be produced before a court of law in accordance with the provisions of the Information technology Act, 2000.

Read Our Blog: Digital Signature Certificate DSC Service India

Benefits Of Digital Signature

A Digital Signature Certificate helps to authenticate an individual’s personal information when he/she indulges in a commercial business over the internet. It not only helps with the authentication of personal information but provides additional benefits which are stated below: 

  • Cost and Time Efficacy

Having a Digital Signature Certificate saves time by enabling the user to sign the documents digitally instead of signing the documentation physically or manually. The present could efficaciously sign the documents digitally and e-mail the respective recipient of the documents. The owner of the certification does not need to be physically available in order to conduct or authorize business transactions and enables the user to sign any document from anywhere in the globe. 

  • Data Integrity 

Data Integrity has been one of the most acclaimed benefits of having and owning a Digital Signature Certificate. Documents that are digitally signed with the help of a digital signature certificate cannot be altered, edited, or amended thereby, securing and safeguarding the data. The use of a digital signature immensely decreases the possibility and plausibility of documents being falsified. A registered user of the Digital Signature Certificate is provided with pins, passwords, and codes to validate their personal information and authorize the signature. 

Further security is provided by the digital signature with the help of a time stamp on the digital signatures of the owner to ensure the recipient that all the data and information were presented to the owner of the digital signature certificate before they had signed the documents, hence making it virtually impossible for anyone to meddle with the digitally signed documents. 

  • Workflow

Digital Signature promotes effective and efficient operation of the business. The documents are digitally signed, could be traced with relative ease and enables the owner to enlist a framework of procedures to help verify the tasks are completed effectively and in the correct manner. The status monitoring tool of the Digital signature allows the owner to follow the progress and get follow-ups on the tasks before and after the completion of a specific task. 

  • Easement in conducting business

Before the era of Digital Signatures and Certificates, individuals had to rush physically, to their location to get the documents signed by them, this much often than not used to result in delays in time-bound corporate transactions, which in turn resulted in a waste of energy and time. 

Digital Signatures save time, energy, and costs while enabling the user to monitor the progress, offering much better and more efficient operational planning. Digital Signatures encourages the use of conducting business online and also ensures that the owner of the Digital Signature Certificate enjoys more benefit conducting a business through the internet rather than conducting it offline and manually.  

  • Bound to the law

Digital Signature Certificates are recognized as legitimate digital signatures under the Information Technology Act of 2000. The certification could be granted, suspended, or even terminated by the certifying authorities which are governed by the Ministry of Information technology’s Controller of Certificate Authority.

  • Environment friendly 

The legitimacy of a document could be confirmed digitally and thus it eliminates the extra labor of printing multiple copies of any documents or printing documents themselves. It becomes environmentally friendly as it encourages using less paper and conducting business digitally while enjoying benefits that simply cannot be enjoyed if the business were conducted offline and manually. 

Classes Of Digital Signature Certificates

There are two classes for assigning Digital Signature Certificates. The classes are assigned depending on the applicant and the purpose and intention of the applicant’s application to apply for a Digital Signature Certificate. 

  • Class 1

This type of Digital Signature Certificate is issued for private individuals and is granted to the human resource of a business as well. Class 1 certifications are generally looked upon as a confirmation of information provided by the applicant in the application process is not in conflict with the information in the database of recognized certifying authority database. This type of Digital Signature Certificate is issued for the processes and transactions which have a threat of fraud. Moreover, Class 1 certification is mandatory for individuals involved in signing manual documents while filing returns with the Registrar of Companies. 

  • Class 2

Class 2 Digital Signature Certificate is issued to the signatory authorities of the companies or directors of the companies. The main purpose of issuance of class 2 certification is for the online filing with the Registrar of companies. It is mandatory for individuals who indulge in signing the documents personally, manually and filing for returns with the Registrar of companies. 

  • Class 3

Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate is widely used for participating in online tender transactions, binding through the territory of India, and for bidding or participation in E-commerce auctions.  Class 3 certification is considered to be a high insurance certificate, mainly focusing on e-commerce applications. Class 3 Certification is only issued to individuals who present themselves physically before the authorities authorized to issue certifications and it denotes higher security for the information and data associated with it. Moreover, the vendors and individuals who often have to collaborate and deal with online tenders are expected to hold a class 3 Digital Signature Certificate. 

Procedure For Obtaining A Digital Signature Certificate

The following procedure should be followed to obtain a Digital Signature Certificate

  • Login to the certifying authority’s website: 

The ability to issue certificates is not universal; a list of authorized certifying authorities that are licensed to issue certification has been listed on the official website of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and includes the official certifying authorities like E-Mudhra, NSDL, etc. 

For anyone to obtain a license, one must log in to the official website of certifying authority and access the digital certification services section and then choose a type i.e. whether one wants to obtain a digital signature certificate for an organization or an individual. 

  • Filling in the required details:

After downloading the chosen type of form, you shall fill in all the required details which are true and correct to your knowledge. Details asked in the form are along the lines of contact details, residential address, type of digital certificates, and, GST number of the organization (if applying for an organization), etc., and thereafter, re-check the form for any mistakes. Download the filled form. 

  • Required Proof:

A Government officer shall attest the residential proof as well as the identity proof which shall be attached to the form. The attestation and the seal of the government officer shall be clearly visible in order to avoid any form of obstruction in further procedures. 

  • Sending a hard copy of the form to the Local Registration Authority

The applicant must send a mail with the following documents to the Local Registration Authority: 

  • The duly filled application form, complete with all the necessary details. 
  • Residential and identity proof which is attested by the officer.
  • A cheque or a demand draft.

Conclusion

It is extremely important to have a digital signature certificate when indulging in incorporations and during the compliance stages. Authentication of electronic records is easier to conduct and faster one has a Digital Signature Certificate. 

The difference between Digital Signatures and Digital Signature Certification is that of security i.e. the certificate not only binds the information together but provides higher security towards the commencement of the associated business. Digital Signature Certificates are binding throughout the territory of India and are valid for two years from the date of issuance. The Certificates are mandatory to hold when dealing with online tenders and or when filing returns with the registrar of companies.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not corpseed, and have not been evaluated by corpseed for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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Author
Shamshad Alam
Experienced Digital Marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the internet industry. He likes to write about the latest technology trends, Skilled in Digital Marketing likes. Search Engine Optimization, SMO, SEM, PPC, Content Writing, and, Designing, etc.

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