With the e-commerce boom, almost all of our transactions, contracts, sending and receiving documents, have become digital. On a given day, innumerable documents are being sent and received by many persons. So, every electronic document needs a unique authentication of the sender, validated by a certifying authority. Just like a physical document needs a handwritten signature, the electronic devices need a Digital Signature certificate of the sender. These are being adopted by many government agencies and has also become a statutory requirement for most of the applications. A digital signature certificate is a secure digital key containing the sender’s name, address, email-id, and other essential information for identification. It can be used for filing income tax returns, e-tenders, or any company filings and also works as a common identity proof, just as a PAN card, passport, or an Aadhar card. Its validity ranges from 1-3 years.
Requirements to Apply for a DSC:
- A DSC application form filled up by the applicant.
- A photo ID proof.
- An address proof.
Class of the DSC- there are three classes for you to choose:
Class 1: it will only verify the name and address of the individual. Thus it cannot be used for any company work.
Class 2: this certificate is needed by companies and organizations, and for filing tax returns. It also verifies the identity of the individual from a pre-existing reliable database, like Aadhar.
Class 3: This certificate can be used for authenticating all kinds of documents and for this, the applicant must visit the registration authority. It provides the highest level of security and authentification to all documental work. The class 3 certificate can be used in auctions and tenders.
How to obtain a DSC:
- You need to visit any certifying authority’s website which is licensed to issue these certificates, and log on to it.
- After logging in, you will be directed to the ‘Digital Certification Services’ section. In this section, you need to select the type of entity for which you are obtaining the DSC i.e. for an individual or an organization.
- If you want the DSC for an individual, then click on ‘individual’, and a tab for registration opens up. Download this form onto your computer.
- Now, you need to fill in all the necessary details as required in the form:
- The validity of the certificate.
- The type of certificate- ‘Only Signed’ or ‘Signed & Encrypted’
- Applicant Name & Contact Details
- Residential Address
- GST Number and pre-existing Identity Proof documents(Aadhar/Pan)
- Document as proof of identity
- Document as proof of address
- Attestation Officer
- Payment Details
- After filling up all the information, you need to affix or upload your recent photograph and enter your signature under the Declaration. Before submitting it, check all the details thoroughly and take a printout of it and keep it with you.
- The documents that you provide as proof of your identity and address, should both be attested by an attesting officer. The sign and seal of the attestation must be visible and legible.
- You need to find the details of the Local Registration Authority in your city beforehand. You can get the information from any Certifying Authority licensed to issue Digital Certificates online. For the payment of the DSC application, a demand draft or cheque needs to be obtained in the name of the local registration authority, where you need to submit your application for verification.
- Lastly, you need to post the following documents all in an envelope:
The fully and accurately filled up, DSC Registration form, along with the supporting documents for proof of Identity and address, attested by the attesting officer.
2. The Demand Draft/Cheque for payment.
- Write down the designated address of the Local Registration Authority (LRA) on the envelope and post it for further proceedings.
On successfully posting all the required documents along with the error-free registration form, you will have completed the process of applying for a Digital signature certificate. Generally, the certifying authorities issue the certificate within three to seven days of the application. You will be getting messages or emails regarding your certificate on the registered phone number and email ID.
A DSC can be used for personal and professional purposes alike. In this digital age, having such a useful identity proof, which can also be used for encryption and safety of the online transaction of documents, is like a boon.
This Article is Authored by Shalini Koppula, 1st Year BBA LLB Student at Xavier Law School, XUB.
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