Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)

Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)

A. What is Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)

Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is a legally recognised method of signing documents electronically. A digital signature is a type of asymmetric cryptography used to simulate the security properties of a handwritten signature on paper. Digital signature schemes normally give two algorithms, one for signing that involves the user's secret or private key, and one for verifying signatures that involves the user's public key. The output of the signature process is called digital signature.

Digital signature certificates are used by programs on the Internet and local machines to confirm the identity of a third party. The digital signatures are now accepted at par with handwritten signatures and the electronic documents that have been digitally signed are treated at par with paper documents.

Digital signatures have often confused with scanned copies of a physical written signature, which do not have any legal backing for authentication of electronic documents.

B. Types of Digital Signatures

There are different types of Digital Signature Certificate that are used for different purposes.

1. Class 1 Digital Signature: 

Class 1 Digital Signatures are used for authentication of email communications.

2. Class 2 Digital Signature: 

Class 2 DSC Digital Signature Certificates are generally used for Company Registration, LLP Registration, filing authenticating electronic documents with Registrar of Companies, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), Filing Income Tax Return, Registration under Goods and Service Tax and Filing of Returns, Registration under Provident Funds and Filing of Returns etc.

3. Class 3 Digital Signature

Class 3 Digital Signatures are used for e-tendering and auctions and also for certain specific purposed as may be stipulated. 

C. The Information Technology Act, 2000

The Information Technology Act, 2000 provides the legislative backup to the digital signatures based on asymmetric cryptosystems.

Office of Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) is the Regulatory Authority in India that regulates issue and sues Certificate only to Certifying Authorities(CAs). Information Technology Act has established the Controller of Certifying Authorities(CCA) to license and regulate the working of Certifying Authorities. The Certifying Authorities (CAs) issue digital signature certificates for electronic authentication of users.

The Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) has established the Root Certifying Authority (RCAI) of India under the IT Act to digitally sign the public keys of Certifying Authorities (CA) in the country. The CCA certifies the public keys of CAs using its own private key, which enables users in the cyberspace to verify that a given certificate is issued by a licensed CA. The CCA also maintains the Repository of Digital Certificates, which contains all the certificates issued to the CAs in the country.

D. Certifying Authorities (CAs) in India

Certifying Authorities (CAs) in India who issue Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)

Name of Certifying Authority (CA)


Safescrypt CA

(n)Code Solutions CA

e Mudhra CA

Capricorn CA