We have all accepted the ‘new normal in our daily lives after a very long time. Businesses are nearly dead for many people. During this crucial time of social isolation and national lockdowns, it is now mandatory for businesses to develop long-term detailed strategies to ensure uninterrupted business continuity and survival until they can pull up from where they left. One such strategy is to take recourse to the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”) for the electronic conclusion of contracts. Thus, eliminating paper-based contracts in favor of e-contracts can be a useful component of a company’s business continuity strategy. Digital Signature Certificate can be very useful in such a situation. If you reside in Kolkata, this blog can be really informative for you, if you are looking for a DSC provider in Kolkata, do check out www.alldsc.com. They provide DSC at a very modest rate and easy and reliable service.
IT Act, section 4 refers to the legal identification of electronic records. According to this enactment, any information or document that may be provided or presented in writing or in the typewritten or printed form can be contributed or made available in an electronic or digital form and be made accessible for subsequent reference. Further, Section 5 of the same Act provides that where there is a requirement for attaching signatures on a document, the requirement may be fulfilled by an electronic signature. Lastly, Section 10A of the Act states that where a contract is executed electronically or digitally, it will not be declared invalid on the ground that it was executed electronically or digitally.
Mostly registered Indian businesses already uses digital signatures for their key officers, as many filings, including those with the Income Tax Department and the MCA, already ask for digital signatures.
Electronic signatures and business continuity during the pandemic
Section 2(1) of the IT Act says, “electronic record” means data, record or data generated, image or sound stored, received or sent in an electronic form or microfilm or computer generated microfiche. Almost every registered Indian business will already have digital signatures for their important officers, as many filings – including those with the Income Tax Department and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) – already require digital signatures. This is a provision in the right direction to make sure about business continuity during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further, Schedule 2to the IT Act also lists Aadhaar E-KYC as a legally valid method for attestation of electronic documents i.e. an electronic signature. Some vendors allow end-users to generate a one-time paperless digital signature using Aadhaar OTP verification. This option may also be used by parties who have Aadhaar credentials but lack a digital signature certificate.
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