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Digital Signature Certificate: Meaning, Types And Process

Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) unrolled a project named MCA 21 with the target to:

  • simplify forms,
  • make such forms e-centric and
  • promote online transactions

Before the implementation of this project, processes with regards to sorting, storage and retrieval of paper-based records were extremely challenging. Manual data collection and verification processes resulted in long queues outside the govt offices.

This led to the implementation of the MCA 21 Programme to cause corporate reforms, good governance and regulation. The intent behind such a programme was:

  • to enable businesses to register company and file documents digitally
  • help the public to access records easily and quickly
  • enable professionals to supply efficient services to their customers
  • help MCA to warrant effective compliance with regards to laws and company governance

Digital Signature Certificate may be a part of the MCA 21 Programme for e-governance. this text talks about the concept of DSC, sorts of DSCs and therefore the procedure to register for DSC.

What is DSC?

A Digital Signature is nothing but authentication of any electronic document by a subscriber to the document. Such authentication is completed by the way of an electronic method or process consistent with Section 3 of the knowledge Technology Act, 2000.

Thus, a digital signature certificate (DSC) may be a secure digital key that certifies the identity of the holder. A certifying authority (CA) issues these certificates. Moreover, the DSC comprises identifying information like an email address and an APNIC account name.

Digital certificates use public key infrastructure for data that has been digitally signed or encrypted by a personal key. Moreover, this certificate also works as authentication that establishes your credentials when conducting business online.

Thus, subject to the provisions of this section, any subscriber can authenticate any electronic document by affixing the Digital Signature on an equivalent.

Just as a handwritten signature is employed for signing the physical documents, Digital Signature is employed to sign electronic records like e-forms, etc.

Why is DSC Required?

The provisions with regards to the utilization of the Digital Signatures on documents submitted electronically are contained within the Information Technology Act 2000. These provisions are given so as to determine authenticity and security of all the documents that are filed digitally.

Thus, all the documents filed by companies, LLPs that come under MCA 21 e-governance project got to file documents using digital signatures. Such a signature must be affixed by the one that is permitted to try to do so.

Types of Digital Signature Certificates

The different sorts of Digital Signature Certificates that are valid for the MCA 21 Programme are as follows:

  1. Class III

Class III is that the upgraded version of the sophistication 2 digital signature. By using this certificate you’ll participate/bid in any quiet online tenders/auction across India. Therefore, to participate in the e-tendering process, every vendor is required to use a category 3 digital signature.

This is the very best level of DSC wherein the person applying for DSC must appear before the Registration Authority and prove his or her identity.

Components of a Digital Signature

  • Public Key

This is required as a part of a verification system.

  • Name and Email Address

This is required for contact information purposes and for simple identification.

  • Expiration Date of the general public Key

This part of the signature is employed to line a time period and enable the signature to be reset.

  • Name of the corporate

This section identifies the corporate that owns the signature.

  • Serial Number of the Digital ID

This part may be a unique number that’s bundled to the signature for tracking ad extra identification reasons.

Digital Signature of the Certification Authority

This is a signature that’s issued by the authority that issues the certificates.

Also, all people who are authorized as signatories that signature documents are required to get a digital signature under MCA21. Therefore, personnel like directors, auditors, company secretary, bank officials and other authorized signatories must obtain a digital signature.

Who Can Issue The Digital Signature Certificate?

Any person seeking to get DSC must apply to the Certifying Authority for the issuance of such a Certificate within the form and manner as could also be prescribed by the Central Government.

These Certification Authorities are appointed by the Office of the Controller of Certification Agencies (CCA) under the provisions of the knowledge Technology Act, 2000. Thus, CCA has given authority to eight Certification Agencies to issue DSCs to persons seeking same.

Process of Obtaining Digital Signature From Certifying Authority

  • As an applicant of Digital Signature Certificate (DSC), you would like to make an application for DSC on to the Certifying Authorities (CAs) that’s duly signed and filled.
  • Along with the appliance, you would like to supply a self-attested copy of your PAN Card and ID Proof with having photo and address of the applicant.

Validity of Digital Signatures

DSCs issued by the Certified Authorities are usually valid for one or two years. However, these are often renewed in such form and costs as could also be prescribed by the Central Government.

The request for such a renewal of DSC should be made not but 45 days before the expiry for the validity period for the DSC.