A common method for verifying the validity and integrity of a digital message or any digital document is the employment of a digital signature. It was developed with the goal of developing an impenetrable solution to the problem of impersonation and tampering with digital documents and communications.
DIGITAL SIGNATURE CERTIFICATE:-
Technophiles frequently use the terms "digital signature" and "digital signature certificates" interchangeably, albeit there is little distinction between the two. In general, any third party may issue a digital signature certificate, however the bulk of them are typically governmental agencies and offices.
A digitally secured key is embedded in a digital signature certificate, which is more like to an identification card and serves as a witness for the certificate's owner. It is provided electronically to access information or services online and to digitally sign papers.
When should an electronic signature not be used?
According to the IT Act of 2000, e-signatures cannot be used in all classes of documents in India, and there are some circumstances where traditional wet/physical signatures are required. The following are the instances in which e-signature statutes are deemed illegal
- In the case of any contract for the sale of immovable property in India, or any contract, interest, or conveyance in such property, e-signing laws are null and void, and wet signings are legal.
- According to the laws governing e-signing in India, electronic signatures cannot be used in the event of power of attorney, as stated in Section 1A of the Powers of Attorney Act, 1882.
- A will and/or testament disposition as defined in Section 2(h) of the Indian Succession Act of 1925 cannot be authorized using e-signatures in accordance with the e-signing guidelines.
- According to Section 13 of the Negotiable Instruments Act of 1881, e-signature cannot be used on a negotiable instrument such as a promissory note or bills of exchange other than a cheque.
- A trust deed shall not be signed using electronic signatures under Indian e-signing legislation, according to Section 3 of the Indian Trusts Act, 1882.
DIGITAL SIGNATURE CERTIFICATE APPLICATION:-
- Online applications can be submitted in order to obtain a digital signature certificate. Or
- Interested parties can submit an application for a digital signature certificate at method with original, self-attested accompanying documentation.
- A certificate issued by a banking institution that includes the applicant's personal information; the information must already be in the institution's database, and the management of the bank should provide the certificate.
- An alternative way to obtain a digital signature certificate is to provide verifiable identification and address documentation, such as the applicant's Aadhar Card.
REQUIREMENTS FOR OBTAINING A DIGITAL SIGNATURE:-
A request for a digital signature certificate must be made to the certifying authority. There are very few documents needed for the full application process. The Controller of Certification Agencies selects and appoints the offices with the power to issue a digital signature certificate.
A DIGITAL SIGNATURE'S VALIDITY:-
The certificates' validity is typically good for two years, but after that time, they may be renewed by paying a price that is determined by the central government authority. At least one week before the digital signature certificate's validity expires, the request to renew it must be submitted.
A digital signature certificate, which is a secure digital key that verifies the identity of the certificate holder, gives a firm security. As a result, trustworthiness is protected when managing digital documents as effectively as possible.
The Information Technology Act of 2000's provisions allow for the production of the Digital Signatures and Digital Signature certifications before a court of law, and they are enforceable throughout the entire country of India.
ADVANTAGES OF DIGITAL SIGNATURE:-
AFFORDABLE AND TIME-SAVING:-
By allowing the user to sign papers digitally rather than physically or manually, having a digital signature certificate saves time. The presenter might effectively email the documents to the appropriate recipient after digitally signing them. The certification allows the user to sign any document from anywhere in the world without the certification holder having to be physically present to perform or authorize commercial activities.
One of the most lauded advantages of having and possessing a digital signature certificate is data integrity. With the use of a digital signature certificate, documents can be digitally signed so that the data is protected and cannot be changed, edited, or amended. The likelihood and plausibility of documents being falsely signed is drastically reduced by the use of a digital signature. Pins, passwords, and codes are given to a registered user of the Digital Signature Certificate to verify their identity and authorize the signature.
A time stamp on the owner's digital signatures ensures the recipient that all the data and information were presented to the owner of the digital signature certificate before they signed the documents, adding to the security and making it nearly impossible for anyone to tamper with the documents that have been digitally signed.
Convenience in doing business:-
Prior to the period of Digital Signatures and Certificates, individuals had to physically run to their location to have documents signed by them. This frequently resulted in delays in time-bound corporate transactions, resulting in a loss of energy and time.
Digital Signatures save time, energy, and money while allowing the user to track progress, resulting in far better and more effective operational planning. Digital Signatures promote the use of conducting business online and assures that the owner of the Digital Signature Certificate benefits more from conducting business online rather than offline and manually.
Digital Signature Certificate Types:-
This form of Digital Signature Certificate is offered to private persons as well as commercial human resources. Class 1 certifications are generally regarded as confirmation that the information submitted by the applicant throughout the application procedure is consistent with the information in the database of the recognised certifying body. This form of Digital Signature Certificate is produced for fraudulent activities and transactions. Furthermore, Class 1 certification is required for individuals who sign manual papers while filing returns with the Registrar of Companies.
Class 2 digital signature certificate is issued to the signing authority or directors of a company. The primary reason for issuing class 2 certification is for online filing with the Registrar of Companies. It is required for those who sign documents personally, manually, and file returns with the Registrar of Companies.
Class 3 Digital Signature Certificates are commonly used for participating in online tender transactions, binding beyond India's borders, and bidding or participating in E-commerce auctions. Class 3 certification is a high insurance certificate that focuses mostly on e-commerce applications. Class 3 certification is only granted to those who physically present themselves before the authorities authorized to issue certificates, and it implies a higher level of protection for the information and data linked with it. Furthermore, suppliers and persons who frequently interact and deal with online tenders are required to possess a class 3 Digital Signature Certificate.
OBTAINING A DIGITAL SIGNATURE CERTIFICATE PROCESS:-
FILLING OF APPLICATION FORM:-
Digital Signature Certificates are issued by the Certifying Authority, which is delegated by the Government of India's Ministry of Electronics and Telecommunications. In fact, there are currently two DSC issuing offices in India. 1. Sify and 2. E-Mudra
A class 2 DSC is required for firm registration. To obtain a DSC from E-Mudra or Sify, you will need the following items:
- Address Proof for PAN Card (Voter ID/Aadhar/Passport/Driving License/Bank Statement/Electricity Bill)
- Passport-size colour pictures
- A working email address and an active mobile phone number are required for verification.
FILLING OF DETAILS:-
After downloading the required form . one must fill the details such as contact details ,residential address ,digital signature type, GST number etc .
Sending documents to the Local Registration Authority
The applicant must send the following documents to the Local Registration Authority by mail.
- The duly completed application form, complete with all required information
- The officer attests to residential and identification proof.
- A demand draught or a cheque.
Legal Consequences of Misusing a Digital Signature Certificate:-
Indian Penal Code,1860
Forgery is punishable under Section 463 of the Indian Penal Code of 1860. Forgery is committed by anyone who creates false documents or false electronic records, or parts of documents or electronic records, with the intent to cause damage or injury to the public or any person, or to support any claim or title, or to cause any person to part with property, or to enter into any express or implied contract, or with the intent to commit fraud or the possibility of fraud.
Information Technology Act ,2000:-
66C Section - Penalty for identity theft. A person who acts fraudulently or dishonestly and uses another person's electronic signature, password, or any other unique identification feature shall be punished with imprisonment of either kind for a term of up to three years, as well as a fine of up to one lakh rupees.
Section 71 Misrepresentation or suppression of material fact to obtain any license or electronic signature. –
It is appropriate in the following circumstances:
- If a person lies to the controller or the certifying authority, he or she will be held accountable.
- If a person withholds any material truth from the controller or the certifying body, the individual is in violation of the law.
Misrepresentation or suppression of material fact with the sole goal of obtaining a licence or electronic certificate from the controller or the certifying authority is punished by imprisonment for up to two years and a fine of up to one lakh rupees. The information submitted to the controller or certifying body must be correct and complete. Section 71 of the act makes it an offence to present inaccurate, erroneous, or false information.