What is a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)?

The IT (Information Technology) provides for use of Digital Signatures on the documents submitted in electronic form in order to ensure the security and authenticity of the documents filed electronically. This is the most secure and authentic way that a document can be submitted electronically. As such, all filings done by the companies under MCA21 e-Governance program are required to be filed with the use of Digital Signatures by the person authorized to sign the documents.

Why do I need a Digital Certificate?

A Digital Signature Certificate provides an electronic which is alternative means of proving your identity. It also provides you with a high level of security for your online transactions. You can use certificates to encrypt information to keep it secure, such that only the intended recipient can read it. You can digitally sign information to provide assurance to the recipient that it has not been changed in transit, and enable verification that you actually sent the message

Who needs a Digital Signature Certificate?

Under MCA21 Every person who is required to sign manual documents and returns filed with ROC is required to obtain a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC). Accordingly following have to obtain Digital Signature Certificate:

  • Company Directors
  • Auditors
  • Company Secretary – Whether in practice or in job
  • Bank Officials – for Registration and Satisfaction of Charges
  • Other Authorized Signatories

Types of Digital Signature Certificate?

There are 3 types of Digital Signature Certificates, having different security levels, namely:

  • Class 1
  • Class 2
  • Class 3

Who needs a Digital Signature Certificate? Where you need Class-2 & Class-3?

As e-filing is made compulsory in ROC, every director / signing authority needs to have their Digital Signature Certificate. It’s now mandatory to obtain Class-2 or Class-2 with PAN Digital Signature Certificate for any person who is required to sign manual documents and returns filed with ROC as per MCA21. Also an Individual is required to obtain Class-2 DSC with PAN for e-filing his return with Income Tax, India. Thus, Digital Signature Certificate to be obtained by:

  • Individual
  • Auditors
  • Directors
  • Company Secretary – in practice or on job.
  • Other Authorized Signatories.
  • Bank Officials.

Class-3 / Class-3B / Class-3C / Class-2B / Class-3 Authorized Individual Digital Signature Certificate is required to be obtained in order to participate in E-Tendering, E-Procurement of Orders, for Online Vendor Registration, Travel Agents, Railway Agents, IFFCO, HPCL, NTPC, MCL, GAIL, IOCL, WBSRDA, North Frontier Railways, Indian Railways, Air India, ONGC, Northern Railway, Southern Railway, Railway Tenders, Online e-Tenders, etc.
Authorized Individual Class 3 Digital Certificate in India is required by Government Officials, Municipal Authorities, Army Chiefs, Government Chief Secretaries, Army Engineers, Army Zonal Head / Chief, etc

Why USB e-token is needed for a Digital Signature Certificate ?

A Digital Signature certificate (DSC) is kept in internet explorer of computer system (PC) but keeping DSC on your computer system has following draw backs:

It can be misused by anyone who is having access to your computer system.

DSC is lost if computer system is formatted or internet explorer is changed

Accordingly, safe and proper method is to keep DSC on e-token, a small USB port devise, which is password protected. The said e-token is a small hardware device and can be plugged to USB port of any system to digitally sign the documents and when not in use can be kept in safe custody.

Where can I purchase a Digital Signature Certificate?

Officially valid Digital Signature Certificates are issued only through a Chain of Certifying Authorities (CCA), Govt. of India, licensed Certifying Authorities (CA), such as E Sign India Pvt. Ltd. – Licensed Registration Authority (LRA) of Sify ‘Safe Scrypt’ a Certifying Authority (CA).

Where can I use Digital Signature Certificates?

You can use Digital Signature Certificates for the following:

  • Class 2 Certificates : for IT filing, ROC, MCA 21 e-filing
  • Class 3 Certificates : for e-Procurement, e-Tendering, Online Tender
  • DGFT Certificates  : for Import and Export
  • SSL Certificates : Secure your website and application

How does a Digital Signature Certificate work?

One of the major challenges facing consultants today is maintaining a level of hign security of leading and emerging technologies, beyond the superficial or buzzword level. We need to develop a level of understanding that allows us to communicate effectively.

A Digital Signature Certificate explicitly associates the identity of an individual/device with a pair of electronic keys – public and private keys – and this association is endorsed by the CA. The certificate contains information about a user’s identity.

These public and private keys complement each other in that one does not function in the absence of the other. They are used by browsers and servers to encrypt and decrypt information regarding the identity of the certificate user during information exchange processes. The private key is stored on the user’s computer hard disk or on an external device such as a token. The user retains control of the private key; it can only be used with the issued password.

The public key is disseminated with the encrypted information. The authentication process fails if either one of these keys in not available or do not match. This means that the encrypted data cannot be decrypted and therefore, is inaccessible to unauthorized parties.

What is difference between Class 2, Class 3, DGFT Certificates?

  • Class 2 Certificates : for IT filing, ROC, MCA 21 e-filing
  • Class 3 Certificates : for e-Procurement, e-Tendering, Online Tender
  • DGFT Certificates  : for Import and Export

What are the Documents required for Class 2 Digital Signature Certificate?

  • Applicant’s self attested passport-size photograph
  • Pan Card photocopy
  • Address proof (Voter ID or Passport or Driving License or BSNL Telephone Bill-Latest 3 Months or Bank Statement with Bank Manager Seal Signature-Latest 3 Months)

What are the Documents required for Class 3 Individual/NGO Digital Signature Certificate?

  • Contractor License Copy for Individuals | Registration Copy for NGO
  • Applicant’s self attested passport-size photograph
  • Pan Card photocopy
  • Address proof (Voter ID or Passport or Driving License or BSNL Telephone Bill-Latest 3 Months or Bank Statement with Bank Manager Seal Signature-Latest 3 Months)

What are the Documents required for Class 3 Organization Digital Signature Certificate for Sole Proprietorship/Partnership/Company?

  • Applicant’s self attested passport-size photograph
  • Pan Card photocopy
  • Address proof (Voter ID or Passport or Driving License or BSNL Telephone Bill-Latest 3 Months or Bank Statement with Bank Manager Seal Signature-Latest 3 Months)
  • Self Attested Vat Copy( for Proprietorship concern)
  • Self Attested partnership deed (for Partnership Firm)
  • Company Pan (for Partnership and Private Ltd. Company)
  • Self Attested Certificate of Incorporation (for Pvt. Ltd. Company)

What are the Documents required for Renewal of Class 3 Certificate?

  • Individual/Company PAN Card copy
  • Address proof (Voter ID or Passport or Driving License or BSNL Telephone Bill-Latest 3 Months or Bank Statement with Bank Manager Seal Signature-Latest 3 Months)
  • Self signature on the renewal application form
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