Digitization has allowed many SMEs in India to operate and conduct their businesses online. Especially after the COVID-19 struck the world, the need for digital solutions increased rapidly, and most businesses were quick to adapt to these changing needs. The eSignature solution has been one of the most wide-spread technology solutions in the Indian business sector.
The smart eSignature solutions have not only made life easy, but also saved plenty of time and money for businesses across all sectors – allowing them to drive all focus on conducting business. In India, an eSignature is given the same status as traditional wet ink signatures, and is fully legally binding and enforceable.
India has accepted eSignature as fully legally binding since the year 2000, after passing the Information Technology Act. In fact, the government of India has been very encouraging, and has promoted the usage of digital technologies both for citizens and businesses across India. This led to a rapid adoption of eSignatures in the Indian business space. This blog is an overview of everything you must know about eSignatures in India:
Can eSignatures be used for all businesses in India?
eSignatures can be used for almost all businesses in India, with an exception of the following businesses which require other proofs to establish validity and enforceability. The following nature of agreements or documents will still require traditional wet ink signatures in order to make them legally enforceable:
- Power of Attorney
- Promissory Notes
- Trust Deeds
- Real Estate Sales and Contracts
Are eSignatures admissible in the court of law in India?
Yes, eSignatures are fully admissible, and legally valid and enforceable in the court of law in India. They can be produced as a proof of evidence in Indian court settings.
Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 and eSignatures in India
The Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 states that contracts or records cannot be considered invalid solely because they are conducted electronically. It recognizes two types of legally valid signatures:
- An electronic signature which uses an Aadhar identification number and an electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) method. An Aadhar identification number is a unique 12 digit number that is alloyed to citizens of India by the government. For verification, this might include an OTP or a PIN that will be sent to registered phone numbers for a two-factor authentication.
- A digital signature which is created by using an asymmetric crypto-system and hash function. In this case, a signer obtains a digital certificate to verify a digital signature. These digital certificates are issued by Certifying Authority (CA) recognized by the Controller of Certifying Authorities, as appointed by the Information Technology (IT) Act. These digital certificates typically include the user’s name, the public key, details of
expiration date of the certificate, and all other relevant information about the user. For highly confidential documents, the users might also be issued a unique USB token which contains the digital-certificate-based ID, and a personal PIN or OTP to sign a document.
Additionally, for every eSignature to be fully legally binding and enforceable, the following requirements needs to be met:
- The eSignatures must be linked uniquely to the person signing the document. To meet this condition, a digital-certificate based digital ID is issued to the users of eSignature, which is unique for each user.
- The signer of the document must have full control over the data that is used to generate the eSignature. To meet this requirement, most eSignature solution providers allow signers to directly eSign on the documents.
- Any alterations or changes made to the document which has been eSigned must be traceable and easily detectable. This protects the interests of all parties involved, preventing any kind of abuse or misuse of the eSigned documents. To meet this requirement, documents are often encrypted with a tamper-evident seal – which helps in
clear detection of any alterations made to the document.
- A clear audit-trail must be present which clearly outlines each step of the signing process. Every action must be traceable. Everything from the signer’s email ID, IP address of the device used while signed, date and place of the sign are recorded and stored in the audit-trail.
- The digital signature certificates which are generated in some cases, need to be issued by the Certifying Authority (CA) recognized by the Controller of Certifying Authorities, as appointed by the Information Technology (IT) Act.
Signulu’s smart integrated eSignature solutions complies with the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 and other relevant laws around eSignatures in India. Thus, your eSignatures are fully valid and legally enforceable. Our platform is a one place destination that takes care of all your signing needs – from signing on the go, keeping an audit trail of the documents, creating and using reusable templates, and tracking the status of your eSignatures in real-time, while meeting all the legal requirements of your eSignatures.
Be a part of our large number of users in India and take your business to the next level by adopting our integrated eSignature Solutions. Check out our FREE 14-day trial and explore how Signulu can take care of your electronic signature needs.