Digital signatures are an extremely important aspect of any business in India. A digital signature certificate for income tax filing is necessary. A lot of identification check & verification is required to obtain a legal digital signature. The owner receives the DSC (Digital Signature Certificate) along with 2 keys- the private key and the public key.

When the owner uploads their work online, it is encrypted with the private key and sent to the receiver. The receiver then further decrypts the work with the help of the public key they had received before-hand.

Digital signatures are very prevalent in India; as such, there are laws surrounding it.

According to Section 3 of the IT Act, any subscriber may authenticate an electronic record by affixing his digital signature

Also, in chapter 3 of the IT Act, sections 4 and 5 are relevant to digital signatures.

Section 4 made provision for legal recognition of digital signature or any other electronic records. It states if any information is available in electronic form and it can be used as a subsequent reference, then it can be used in the court of law. It will serve as a piece of potential evidence.

Also, any information on electronic nature can be authenticated by affixing a digital signature. In such a case, an electronic account of information, affixed with a personal digital signature will hold up in the court of law regardless of what may be written in it. The signature needs to be affixed in a way the Central Government has prescribed it.

Digital signatures & digital certificates

Digital signatures are different from digital certificates. Whereas digital signatures provide privacy and integrity in the virtual world, a digital certificate’s work is to authenticate the documents. This work on a dual key cryptography system as already mentioned.

Also, digital signature is an electronic signature on an electronic document while a digital certificate is a computerised record

According to section 47A, a digital signature would hold up in court as solid evidence.

But section 67A demands proof. It states that if there is a digital signature affixed to an electronic record, it has to be proved that the digital signature is the signature of the subscriber.

The Indian Penal code also has precautions against fraudulent entities who use dishonest ways to make a false document. A person is said to create a false e-record if they dishonestly or fraudulently create or share any electronic record or section of it. Or if they affix any signature on any electronic signature in an illegal manner. Also, if they fraudulently or dishonestly create a mark on the electronic record, thus hampering its authenticity. It is done with the intention of replicating the authority of another and also in the ignorance of the party whose authority they are trying to replicate.

—a person who alters a document or an electronic record or is a part of it, after its creation and affixation with the digital signature of the authenticating authority, regardless of whether the person is living or dead at the present moment.

—a person who dishonestly or fraudulently imposes fraudulent behaviour on others, in the way, that they force someone to hamper with an electronic document illegally. It is illegal if the person who is enforced upon to carry out this act of dishonesty does not know what they are doing, or is not aware of the full magnitude of the situation.