The Information Technology Act, 2000, stipulates use of digital signatures to ensure security and authenticity of the documents shared electronically via the internet. Under the Ministry of Company Affairs e-governance programme, all MCA21 e-filings submitted by organisations are required to be signed with digital signatures. The signature has to be by the person authorised by the organisation to sign the documents.
For MCA21 e-filing, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has specified a class 2 digital signature certificate or class 3 digital signature certificate. With a class 2 DSC, the identity of the user is verified against a trusted database. Class 3 DSC ensures the highest level of security. The person who wishes to obtain this certificate, needs to be present at the Registration Authority (RA) to prove his/ her identity. A user who already has a valid certificate, of the above mentioned category, for any other application can use the same for MCA21 e-filing.
Under section 24 of the Indian Information Technology Act, 2000, a licensed certifying authority can issue digital signature certificates for e-procurement in India and online tenders. As per the provisions of IT Act, 2000, the Controller of Certification Agencies (CCA) chooses certification agencies. Sify SafeScrpyt is a certifying authority. Our company is the registration authority for Sify. E-sign is authorised to sell class 3 and class 2 digital signature certificates online to individuals, companies and government and banking institutions – located across the world – for participating in online tenders in India. Through e-sign, vendors can buy digital signature certificates online in India.
E-sign issues digital signature certificates from TCS with a validity period of one year and two years. A certifying authority takes three to seven days to issue a fresh digital signature certificate. The certificates are renewable on expiry. The vendors should ensure the validity when applying for Ministry of Company Affairs e-filing.
Digital signature certificate (DSC) for Ministry of Company Affairs e-filing is the electronic equivalent of physical certificates. Just like physical certificates such as drivers’ licenses, passports, PAN card, etc. verify an individual’s identity, digital signatures verify the identity of an individual on the internet. A digital certificate can be shared via the internet to prove the user’s identity. It is used to access information on e-tendering portals and sign tender-related documents. The certificate may also be used to access other services on the internet. Just like important documents are signed manually, electronic documents, such as e-forms need to be signed digitally to prove the identity of the person. A director identification number (DIN) is not a requisite to apply for DSC.
The pricing of digital signatures for Ministry of Company Affairs e-filing includes the cost of medium which is a USB token. The certificate is stored in the USB token. Digital signatures are legally valid and admissible in a Court of Law, under the provisions of Information Technology Act, 2000. Users can only use valid digital signatures issued to them. It is illegal to use DSC issued to someone else.