Form 16 Signing Software

Digital Signature Certificate


A Digital Signature Certificate [DSC] also termed as Digital Signature, authenticates electronic documents in a similar manner a handwritten signature authenticates printed documents. This signature cannot be forged and it asserts that a named person wrote or otherwise agreed to the document to which the signature is attached. Digital Signatures also enables the "authentication" and “non-repudiation” of digital messages, assuring the recipient of a digital message of both the identity of the sender and the integrity of the message.

Under the provisions of Section 3 of Information Technology Act, "Digital Signature" means authentication of any electronic record by a subscriber by means of an electronic method, by the use of asymmetric crypto system and hash function which envelop and transform the initial electronic record into another electronic record. In general terms, Digital Signature contains, Owner's public key, the Owner's name, Expiration date of the public key, the Name of the issuer (the CA that issued the Digital ID), Serial number of the digital signature, and the digital signature of the issuer, for the purpose of signing the document.

If a Document is Signed Digitally and modified later, the Signature becomes INVALID and shows with a Red Alert. Also, A document should not be signed at more than ONE place, as the we apply the second Signature, first applied will be treated as INVALID [as there is modification in the document of applying additional sign].

Expiry date of a Digital Signature is a validity key for Signing (and not for viewing). Eg: A Document Digitally signed on 10/01/2009, signed through a DSC expiring on 12/01/2009 stays valid for life-time, as the signing date is less than expiry date.

History of Digital Signatures in India

The Information Technology Act, 2000 provides for the use of Digital Signatures on the documents submitted in electronic form. Under the provision of IT Act, 2000, the office of Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) appoints the Certifying Authorities (CA) by issuing Certificates for the same. These CA will issue the Digital Signature to the End Users either Directly or through the Registration Authorities (RA) /Local Registration Authorities (LRA).

These Digital Signatures were initially deployed in Banking Industry where the transactions through various electronic methods were authenticated. Later, the usage spread to various industries from Ticket Booking [Eg: IRCTC] to electronic Tenders to Electronic Returns/Statutory Documents [Eg: MCA-ROC Returns, Income Tax Returns, TDS Certificates, TDS Returns, etc] to Distrubated documents in corporate / private Industry [Eg: Balance Sheets, Purchase Orders, Quotations, etc].

Process Flow
Digital Signature Distribution Chain
Available Formats

Digital Signature can be given in either of 3 Formats namely USB token, .pfx file or .p12 file. Any one of these 3 format can be used for the authentication along with the password. By default Certifying Authority will be providing a USB Token. For ease of usage, user can export the signature from USB Token to *.PFX format, so that he can feel handy to access it anywhere.

Usually, user can maintain *.PFX file in his/her computer or over the online location[ say email account] and access it easily. Note that, all the 3 formats can be used only after providing the PASSWORD authentication.

Classes in Digital Signature Certificate
  1. Class 0 : Issued for demonstration/test purpose.
  2. Class 1: Issued to Individuals/private subscribers. This class of certificate will authenticate only the User name and E-mail address.
  3. Class 2: Issued to both business personal and private individuals. This class of certificates confirms the information provided by the subscriber.
  4. Class 3: Issued to Individuals as well as Organizations. This class of certificate is used in the E-commerce application wherein high assurance of the certificates are required. This certificate is issued to an individual only on their personal appearance before the CA.
Common Deliverables with Digital Signatures
  1. USB Token : Digital Signature allotted to the User/Subscriber.
  2. Password : Password required to access the Digital Signature signing functionality.
  3. Driver Software : Software required connect Digital Signature to the computer, generally for Microsoft Windows.
  4. Interface Software : Software which enables the user to use the Digital Signature, functionalities, such as, password change, Single Document Signing [SDS], Export to PFX format, etc.
Bulk Signing

Generally, when documents are signed to be in bulk/multiples, such as TDS Certificates, Office Documents, etc, the interface software provided by the vendor may not support, as it typically comes with Single Document Signing. So, in such case, Saral Sign is one of the best sollution, which can sign documents with one-time authentication and deliver it either via out put to user's hard disk or as email attachments to the intended recepient.

Bulk Form 16 signing

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