What is Digital Signature Certificate?

''In the age of technology, the physical signatures are being converted in the form of digital for security purposes.''



Digital Signature Certificate is an electronic form of signature just like one authenticates the document with the handwritten signature. Electronic documents can be authenticated by the digital signature. It provides certain kind of identity while accessing on the internet and signing certain documents digitally. DSC provides high level of security during online transaction; the absolute information will be received at the destination with the higher value of privacy.

This contains the information of the user’s identity such as name, country, email address, pin code, the name of the certifying authority and the date in which the certificate issued.

DSC intended to solve the problems like impersonation and tampering during digital communication. It provides the added assurance as identity, origin, transaction or message and status of electronic documents.

Digital signature is the one which is signed or encrypted by the private key and in the receiver side the information will be decrypted by the relevant public key. It is also can be called as an electronic credit card which establishes the credential when doing the business or any transaction carried on the web.

Most modern email programs support the use of digital certificates and the digital signatures. It makes to sign the outgoing emails easily and can validate the digitally signed incoming messages. It is extensively been used for integrity, authenticity, and non-repudiation of communications and transactions over the internet.

DSC explicitly associates with two keys. One is private key and other one is public key. These keys would not work in the absence of other. They are used by the browsers and the servers to encrypt and decrypt the information regarding the identity of the certificate user. The private key is stored in the external devices such as USB token or in the computer hard disk. The user retains the control of the key with the issued password. In the receiving side the encrypted information will be disseminated and can obtain the original information by using the public key which has been associated with that private key. The authentication process may fail only if the information is lost or it doesn’t match up with the relevant information. Thus the data cannot be decrypted at the end and it is inaccessible to the unauthorised parties.

Uses and the classification of the Digital Signature Certificate:

  • To carry out secured web-based transaction.
  • For sending and receiving the encrypted and digitally signed documents and mails.
  • For signing the documents like PDF, MS Excel, and MS Word.

DSC can be classified into three different classes such as class I, Class II and class III.

Class I DSC:

It can be used by the employers which are used to communicate with the employees through mail. It can be issued to individual or private subscribers. This will check the user name and the email address of the applicant with the database of certified authority.

Class 2 DSC:

It can be used for both the business personnel and for private individual use. This certificate will confirm that the information provided by the subscriber in the application should not conflict with the well-recognised consumer’s database.

It is used for sales tax returns, e-filing of income tax returns, Registrar of companies and VAT.

Class 3 DSC:

This is used for individual as well as organisations. It is a very high assurance certificate mainly used for e-commerce applications. The certificate will be issued only if the particular person physically appeared before the certifying authority.

It can be used in e-tendering or e-auction organised by the public sector or government companies. Also it can be used for submission of bid documents, supplier registration or expression of interests, downloading the contract and evaluation of tenders.

Who needs a digital signature certificate?

As per the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, every individual who requires filing the returns with ROC and to sign the manual documents need to obtain the digital signature certificate. These includes

  • Auditors
  • Directors
  • Company secretary
  • Bank officials for satisfaction of charges and registration.
  • Other authorised signatories.

Documents required for Digital Signature Certificate:

Documents required for Indian citizen:

For individual:

  • Identity proof(Any one of the following documents)
    • PAN card of the applicant.
    • Driving License
    • Passport.
    • Post office ID card.
    • Bank account passbook which holds the individual photograph and the sign of an individual along with the attestation of bank’s official.
    • Any government issued photo identity of an individual with the signature.
  • Address Proof (Produce any one of the following documents listed below :)
    • Voter ID card.
    • Aadhar Card.
    • Electricity bill (not older than 2 months).
    • Water bill (not older than 2 months).
    • Driving License.
    • Bank d0cuments signed by the bank.
    • Property tax/municipal corporation receipt.
  • Passport sized photograph of an individual

For organisation:

Documents required for a company:

  • Copy of pay slip/letter from the organisation/applicant’s organisational ID card.
  • Copy of organisational PAN card.
  • First 2 pages of the bank statement copy.
  • Incorporation certificate copy of the company.
  • Copy of bye laws/MOA/AOA.
  • Copy of Audit report& annual return/last income tax return.
  • Proof of the authorised signatory.

Documents required for partnership:

  • Copy of bank statement (First two pages).
  • Applicant Organisational ID card or letter from the particular organisation or a pay-slip copy.
  • PAN card of the organisation, a copy of that need to be produced.
  • Copy of the trust deed/Partnership deed/LLP agreement which contains the signature of the partners.
  • Income tax returns, annual returns and audit report.
  • Copy of the Organisational ID card of the authorised signatory.

Documents required for proprietorship:

  • Copy of business registration certificate.
  • Bank statement copy need to be produced.
  • Copy of annual returns, and last income tax returns.
  • Applicant’s ID card which has been issued from the organisation or payslip or the letter from the particular organisation.
  • The ID card copy of the authorised signatory in the organisation.

Documents required for LLP:

  • Copy of income tax returns and annual report.
  • The ID card copy of the authorised signatory of the organisation.
  • Copy of the bank statement.
  • Copy of LLP agreement/partnership deed/trust deed which holds the signature of all the partners.
  • ID card of the applicant which has been issued from the organisation or the letter from the particular organisation or the payslip.
  • PAN card of the organisation.
  • Copy of MOA/AOA/Bye laws.
  • Incorporation certificate of the company.