Difference between Class 2 and Class 3 Digital Signature Certificates

In this day and age of technology, physical signatures are increasingly being converted to digital media for security reasons. Digital Signature Certificates, (DSC) are simply the electronic equivalent of physical or paper certificates such as identity proofs, driver’s licenses, passports or PAN cards. These certificates can prove to be helpful for many online transactions that require digital proof of identities and to receive and send information on the web safely.

Organizations and firms, today require digital signature certificate to better facilitate communication and transactions between them and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. For companies that have a turnover of more than INR 60 Lakhs have to apply for these certifications mandatorily, and it is considered a legally admissible instrument. Besides, it is always wise to get a digital signature as it offers a high level of security for online transactions by ensuring absolute privacy of the information exchanged. These certificates can also be useful for encrypting information that only the intended recipient can have access to. You can digitally sign information to assure the recipient that it has not been changed in transit, and also verify your identity as the sender of the message.

There are two main types of Digital Signature Certificates – Class 2 Certificates and Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate. A Class 2 Digital Signature Certificate is used by individuals and is available for download after verification based on a trusted and pre-verified database. A Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate, on the other hand, is of the highest level as it is issued only after the registrant’s identity verification has been carried out by a Registration Authority.

Class 2 Digital Signature Certificates are generally used for filing documents Income Tax, Registrar of Companies and VAT, whereas Class 3 Digital Signature Certificates are needed for e-tendering, which is a procurement process that is conducted online. The aspects where this comes into play include:

  • Contract download
  • Evaluation of tenders (May or may not involve e-auctions)
  • Supplier registration/expression of interest
  • Submission of bid document.

The Ministry of Company Affairs, Government of India (GoI) has initiated MCA21 program, for easy and secure access to its services in a manner that best suits the businesses and citizens. The MCA21 application is designed to support Class 2 & 3 Digital Signature Certificates (DSC) issued by licensed Certifying Authority under Controller of Certifying Authorities. The pricing of these digital certificates varies, but you can get the best price by calling DigiExcel, an official digital signature provider in gurgaon, Delhi, NCR at +91 9718145900 or +91 9810607755. Service Tax of 12.36% is applicable for Digital Signature Certificate and VAT of 5.5% is also applicable on the token.

Who Needs a Digital Signature Certificate?

According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, every individual that is required to sign manual documents and returns filed with ROC is required to obtain a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC). These include:

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

The Certifying Authorities are authorized to issue a Digital Signature Certificate with a validity of at least one year. A DSC is unique to each individual. If a professional has obtained a DSC, he/ she can use the same for e-filing of forms for multiple companies, provided he/ she has been authorized to do so by the respective companies. Digital Signatures are legally admissible as per IT ACT 2000 and are password protected and cannot be copied from a digitally signed document.

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