Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)
DSC is a method for authenticating an electronic document or record using an asymmetric cryptosystem. The statute governing the usage of DSC is the Information Technology Act, 2000. If you are incorporating a company or an LLP or filing your tax returns, it is mandatory for you to have a DSC.
Simply put, to ensure the authenticity and security of any documents submitted electronically. To make regulatory filings with the Income Tax Department, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) or to submit the bid for government tenders, you must have a DSC. They can also be used for entering into electronic contracts.
Types of DSC
There are three types of DSC, viz.
- Class 1 DSC,
- Class 2 DSC and
- Class 3 DSC.
Class 1 DSC can only be used for appending emails.
Class 2 or above DSCs are required for incorporating LLPs and Companies for e-Filings under MCA21 as per MCA rules.
Class 3 DSC is required for electronic tender process for government tenders.
Validity of DSC and Procurement Cost
DSCs generally have validity from one to two years, but they can be renewed on the expiration of the initial issue.
The cost of DSC includes a one time fee of the medium (which is a UBS token), the issuing cost, and thereafter renewal cost once its validity expires. The cost of issuing varies across agencies and is market-driven.
Documents Required for DSC
- Identity proof like passport, PAN card, driving license, passbook;
- Address proof like AADHAAR. Voter ID, driving license, water or electricity bill (not more than 3 months old).
Self-attested copies of both these documents are needed. Also, if the Certifying Agency provides the option, it can also be done using Aadhar eKYC based authentication. In this case, no other document is necessary. A bank letter/ certificate containing applicant’s information as retained in the Bank database is also accepted but such document should be certified by the Bank Manager.
Issuing Body for DSC
Controllers of Certification Agencies (CCA) officially appointed eight Certification Agencies only have the permission to issue DSC in India. These agencies are:
Please note that one is allowed to only use the valid DSC issued to him / her and it is illegal to use DSCs of someone else. The fraudulent use of DSC is punishable by INR 1 lakh or 3 years of imprisonment or both.
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