The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has broadened the scope of using digital signature certificates in executing certain documents through its notification dated September 26, 2022, amending the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“Act”).
The first schedule of the Act excludes certain transactions or documents from the Act’s purview thereby invalidating the use of digital signatures. Keeping in line with the aim of digitizing India, the government through this amendment has broadened the scope of documents or transactions which may come under the purview of the Act. The amendment excludes the following documents from the restrictions envisaged in the first schedule:
demand promissory note or a bill of exchange issued in favor of a regulated entity of the Reserve Bank of India, National Housing Bank, Securities and Exchange Board of India, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (“Regulating Authorities”);
any power of attorney that empowers a regulated entity of the Regulating Authorities to act for, on behalf of, and in the name of the person executing them; and
any contract for the sale or conveyance of immovable property or any interest in such property.
By bringing the above-mentioned documents under the Act’s purview, the government has validated and enabled the use of digital signature certificates to execute such documents. This amendment would significantly help businesses and individuals alike to authenticate, manage paperwork and execute documents in a faster and more streamlined fashion. Additionally, with the gradual increase in access to digital signature infrastructure, this amendment is a welcome move as it will ensure a secure format of executing documents for businesses and individuals alike.