Electronic Signatures in India

Learn about validity of e-signatures in India and other SAARC countries.

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Validity in India

Electronic signatures are legal, trusted and accepted now in most countries around the world. Under the Indian Government’s Digital India Initiative, the nation wants to focus on building digital infrastructure and transform India into a paperless economy. Since the India Technology Act, the economy has digitized to a great extent and has resulted in widespread acceptance of electronic records and electronically signed documents by government authorities.

Subject to a few exception, Indian Law grants electronic signatures, the same legal status as handwritten signatures. Documents and contracts can be signed using e-signatures. For the purposes of this section any electronic signature or electronic authentication technique shall be considered reliable if:

  • the signature creation data or the authentication data are, within the context in which they are used, linked to the signatory or, as the case may be, the authenticator and to no other person;
  • the signature creation data or the authentication data were, at the time of signing, under the control of the signatory or, as the case may be, the authenticator and of no other person;
  • any alteration to the electronic signature made after affixing such signature is detectable;
  • any alteration to the information made after its authentication by electronic signature is detectable; and
  • it fulfils such other conditions which may be prescribed.

Use Cases for Electronic Signatures

  • Internal documents like Bill of materials, Internal Quality test reports, Defect closure reports, Internal Compliance Documents
  • Application form
  • Claim forms
  • Supplier offer or Quotation
  • Company Policies Documents

Use cases for the Digital Signatures

  • Commercial agreements between corporate entities, including NDAs, procurement documents, sales agreements, Invoice, Purchase Orders
  • Audit reports or Certificates
  • Consumer credit contracts
  • Entry passes from authorities
  • Employment contracts
  • Rental agreement

Use Cases that are not appropriate for Electronic Signatures or Digital Transaction Management

Use cases that are specifically barred from digital or electronic processes or that include explicit requirements, such as handwritten (e.g. wet ink) signatures or formal notarial process or registration with Registrar or Sub-Registrar that are not usually compatible with electronic signatures or digital transaction management.

  • Handwritten - negotiable instrument, other than a cheque (IT Act not applicable)
  • Handwritten - power-of-attorney (IT Act not applicable)
  • Handwritten - trust deed (IT Act not applicable)
  • Handwritten - will or any other testamentary disposition (IT Act not applicable)
  • Handwritten - Any contract for the sale or conveyance of immovable property or any interest in such property (IT Act not applicable)

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Document Legality Guide

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