An Overview of Electronic Signatures Law in India

Electronic signatures are legally valid across many countries of the world.

  • The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) 1999 and The E-sign Act 2000, USA
  • The European Union’s Electronic Signatures Directive, Directive 1999/93/EC
  • The Information Technology Act 2008, India
  • The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 2002, South Africa
  • UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Signatures 2001

eSignature Legality Summary

Under Indian law, a written signature is not necessarily required for a valid contract – contracts are generally valid if legally competent parties reach an agreement, whether they agree verbally, electronically or in a physical paper document. The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) specifically confirms that contracts cannot be denied enforceability merely because they are concluded electronically. To prove a valid contract, parties sometimes have to present evidence in court. Leading digital transaction management solutions can provide electronic records that are admissible in evidence under Section 65B of the Evidence Act, 1872, to support the existence, authenticity and valid acceptance of a contract.

Use Cases for Standard Electronic Signature

Financial documents like Internal approvals on reimbursements forms, budgets on events, budgets on purchase of new materials, asset’s etc., Opening and Closings of Account of clients, Client PO/ Invoices approvals on Cygnature, Expense reports of months, quarter, yearly, Internal audit reports that are presented to higher management for approvals.

Legal documents like Contracts and Legal Agreements between Clients, MSA’s, Approval agreements, NDA’s between Clients and service providers, Partnership Agreements between partner companies for service and share terms, Board Resolutions written by legal department for approvals from the higher management, Joint Venture agreements between partners defining the terms and Shareholder Agreements.

Human Resource documents like The Welcome letter, Offer Letter sending and acceptance, Onboarding documents, Basic details form, Emergency contact form, Handbooks, HR background check form etc., Tax filing documents.

5 documents you cannot sign using electronic Signature in India

  • 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)

In India the acceptance of Electronic Signatures is gaining boom and organizations are going paperless for the betterment of society & technological advancement.

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