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What is Digital Signature Certificate | DSC

Updated: Apr 24

DSC also known as Digital Signature Certificate are digital equivalents of physical or paper certificates. They are used to sign documents digitally, to prove one’s identity, to access information or services digitally. Issued by Certifying Authority who have been granted license to issue a digital signature certificate under Section 24 of the Indian IT-Act 2000.

digital signature dsc process

Usage of DSC:

  • The main function of the DSC is to authenticate the details of the signer. It captures the date and time period when the signature was executed. Ensuring there is no misuse of the signature for fraudulent use.

  • Ministry of Corporate Affairs has made it mandatory for companies to file all reports, applications, and forms using a digital signature only.

  • Documents submitted to the Government including GST registration applications or documents uploaded to the GST common portal must be digitally signed.

  • e-filing of income tax returns.

  • Signing of Form 16A.

  • Activities which involves E-tendering, Patent and trademark e-filing, MCA e-filing, Customs e-filing, E-procurement, E-biding and E-auction.

In terms of legality, it is admissible under the provisions of IT Act, 2000. Sec 71 Misinterpretation is defined as anyone making any misrepresentation to, or suppresses any material fact from, the Controller or the Certifying Authority for obtaining any license or Digital Signature Certificate. Penalty of the crime is Imprisonment up to 2 years, or/and with fine up to ₹100,000.

Process for applying:

  1. One can directly approach the Certifying Authorities with the original supporting documents, the attached documents should be attested.

  2. Aadhar-based e-KYC Verification DSC is an other option which is offered by the CA this is is an easy and fastest way to make DSC.

  3. PAN and GST are the other options offered by the Certifying authorities.

Types of Digital Signature Certificates: They are three class of Digital Signature Certificates, each class of certificate is used for a different purpose.

type of digital signature

Validity of DSC:

  • Digital signatures are issued for 1 or 2 years. After their validity has expired, they need to be renewed.

FAQs about Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs) in India:

  1. What is a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) in India? A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) in India is the digital equivalent of a physical or paper certificate. It is used to digitally sign documents, prove one's identity, and access information or services online.

  2. Who issues Digital Signature Certificates in India? Digital Signature Certificates in India are issued by Certifying Authorities licensed under Section 24 of the Indian IT Act 2000. These authorities are authorised to issue DSCs after verifying the identity of the applicant.

  3. What are the main functions of a Digital Signature Certificate in India? The primary function of a DSC in India is to authenticate the details of the signer and capture the date and time when the signature was executed. This helps prevent misuse of the signature for fraudulent purposes.

  4. Where are Digital Signature Certificates used in India? DSCs are used for various purposes in India, including filing reports, applications, and forms with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, submitting documents to the Government such as for GST registration, e-filing of income tax returns, signing Form 16A, and participating in activities like e-tendering, patent and trademark e-filing, and more.

  5. Are Digital Signature Certificates legally valid in India? Yes, DSCs are legally valid in India under the provisions of the IT Act 2000. Misuse of a DSC, as defined under Section 71 of the Act, can result in penalties including imprisonment up to 2 years and/or a fine up to ₹100,000.

  6. What is the process for applying for a Digital Signature Certificate in India? There are several ways to apply for a DSC in India. One can directly approach Certifying Authorities with original supporting documents, which should be attested. Alternatively, Aadhar-based e-KYC verification DSC is offered by some CAs, which is a faster and easier way to obtain a DSC. PAN and GST-based options are also available.

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