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August 2, 2018
All Articles by: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN       View Profile
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Digital Signature Certificate

Digital Signature Certificates ‘(DSC’ for short) are the digital equivalent (that is electronic format) of physical or paper certificates. Few Examples of physical certificates are drivers' licenses, passports or membership cards. Certificates serve as proof of identity of an individual for a certain purpose; for example, a driver's license identifies someone who can legally drive in a particular country. Likewise, a digital certificate can be presented electronically to prove one’s identity, to access information or services on the Internet or to sign certain documents digitally.

Physical documents are signed manually, similarly, electronic documents, for example e-forms are required to be signed digitally using a Digital Signature Certificate.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 has provisions for use of Digital Signatures on the documents submitted in electronic form in order to ensure the security and authenticity of the documents filed electronically. This is secure and authentic way to submit a document electronically. As such, all filings done by the companies/LLPs under MCA21 e-Governance programme are required to be filed using Digital Signatures by the person authorized to sign the documents.

Types of digital signature

The following are the types of digital signatures valid for MCA 21 program-

  • Class 2: Here, the identity of a person is verified against a trusted, pre-verified database.
  • Class 3: This is the highest level where the person needs to present himself or herself in front of a Registration Authority (RA) and prove his/ her identity.

DSC of either Class 2 or Class 3 signing certificate category issued by a licensed Certifying Authority (CA) needs to be obtained for e-Filing on the MCA Portal.

Certification agencies

Certification Agencies are appointed by the office of the Controller of Certification Agencies (CCA) under the provisions of IT Act, 2000. There are a total of seven Certification Agencies authorized by the CCA to issue Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs).  The following are the licensed certification agencies-

  • Safescrypt;
  • IDRBT;
  • GNFC;
  • e-Mudra CA;
  • CDAC CA;
  • Capricorn CA;
  • NSDL e-gov CA.

Procedure for obtaining digital signature

The procedure for obtaining digital signature is as follows-

  •  Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) Applicants can directly approach Certifying Authorities (CAs) with original supporting documents, and self-attested copies will be sufficient in this case
  •  DSCs can also be obtained, wherever offered by CA, using Aadhar eKYC based authentication, and supporting documents are not required in this case
  • A letter/certificate issued by a Bank containing the DSC applicant’s information as retained in the Bank database can be accepted. Such letter/certificate should be certified by the Bank Manager.

Director Identification Number is not required to  apply for DSC.

Time taken

The time generally taken by CAs to issue a DSC may vary from three to seven working days. Also on fulfillment of terms and conditions DSC is issued by some CA’s on same day based on eKYC for Aadhaar Holders.


The DSCs are typically issued with one year validity and two year validity. These are renewable on expiry of the period of initial issue.


It includes the cost of-

  • medium (a UBS token which is a onetime cost), the cost of issuance of DSC; and
  • the renewal cost after the period of validity.

The company representatives and professionals required to obtain DSCs are free to procure the same from any one of the approved Certification Agencies as per the MCA portal.

Legal status

Digital Signatures are legally admissible in a Court of Law, as provided under the provisions of IT Act, 2000.

Legal warning

One can use only the valid Digital Signatures issued to him. It is illegal to use Digital Signatures of anybody other than the one to whom it is issued.

Validity unknown

If the digital certificate carries the message ‘validity unknown’ in the digital signature of RoC with a question mark, the following should be followed-

  • Download the Certificate corresponding to approved SRN from the FO portal..
  • Open the certificate and check whether the signature is validated or not, if DSC marked as “?” then we need to validate the same.
  • Right click on the signature and click on “Show Signature Properties”.
  •  Click on “Show Certificate” tab.
  • One will find 6 tabs in a single row, click on “Trust” tab.
  • Click on “Add to Trusted Identities” tab
  • Now a dialogue box will appear for the acrobat security on clicking the “Add to Trusted Identities” tab, click on “ok”.
  • Check all check boxes as shown below under Trust Tab. Click on “Ok” button.
  • Click on the “Validate Signature” tab and check the Validity Summary points mentioned under Summary tab will change to green colored and warning sign
  • Close the signature properties.
  • The Signature is authenticated then the certificate DSC marked as “?” will turn into green colored tick mark as shown below. If signature is not valid then user has to raise ticket to get the valid signature.

Registering DSC for bank officials

When a Bank Official logs in the MCA21 portal for the first time, the system prompts the Bank Official to register a DSC before proceeding further. The Bank official can then register the DSC during first time login.  MCA system verifies that the person signing as a charge holder already having any DSC registered in the system with entered PAN. If any DSC is found but DSC affixed in the form is different then error will be thrown.

The Bank Nodal Administrator creates and updates the bank official in the MCA system. The bank official serves as the charge holder.   When the Bank Nodal Administrator logs into, he will be shown the 'Enter/Update Bank/Financial-institution details' service on left hand side.  On the service page the 'Add link will let the Bank Nodal Administrator to create a bank official.

Any stakeholder can update his DSC in MCA system using the 'Update DSC' service on the 'Update DSC for Bank Official/Nodal Administrator' link shown on the 'Update DSC' service page.

In case charge holder has registered the DSC once with PAN using the 'Associate DSC' service on, then new DSC can be updated with the same service.   If the person is having DIN issued, then update the DSC under director role using same 'Associate DSC' service on

System requirement

The following are the system requirement-

  • Desktop Browser: Internet Explorer 10+/ Chrome 49+ or Firefox 45+
  • Valid class 2 or class 3 Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) obtained from a DSC provider.



By: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN - August 2, 2018



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