Aadhaar eSign was given legal sanctity through its inclusion in the second schedule of the IT Act via Gazette Notification No. 2015 Jan – GSR 61(E) (the Aadhaar eSign Notification), dated January 27, 2015, entitled “Electronic Signature or Electronic Authentication Technique and Procedure Rules, 2015”. It is a recognised electronic signature under the Second Schedule of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
The underlying technology behind Aadhaar eSign is somewhat similar to the one behind DSC tokens - which ensures that the eSigned document cannot be tampered with once the Aadhaar eSign has been affixed. The biggest difference between the two is in terms of how the identity of the signer is authenticated. DSC Tokens rely on a laborious one time KYC process, while Aadhaar eSign verifies the identity of the signer on the fly, using UIDAI powered Aadhaar authentication.
The policy imperative that drove Aadhaar eSign was quite simple – to enable a mode of electronic signature that could be used scalably by 1 billion + individuals on a regular basis. Before Aadhaar eSign, the most commonly used form of “electronic signature” was the DSC Token. However, the DSC token system relied upon a laborious purchase, KYC, delivery and usage process. It was impossible to drive mass usage with such a system. Aadhaar eSign, on the other hand, was super-easy – and far easier to drive mass usage in a 1b+ country like India.
So what makes Aadhaar eSign so convenient?
For Aadhaar eSign, all that signers need is:
1) A valid Aadhaar number
2) Linkage between Aadhaar number and phone/email or biometrics
3) Access to their registered phone/email ID or to a biometrics device
And the actual process of signing? Even easier:
1) Opening and viewing the document
2) Giving Consent to Aadhaar eSign
3) Authenticating Aadhaar with an OTP or Biometrics
Let’s see how easy it is to actually eSign a document using Aadhaar eSign:
Step 1: Based on your contact information available with the person sending the document to you for signing, you will receive a signing link on your email and/or phone. The email invite looks like the picture above.
Step 2: Once you have clicked on the ‘Sign’ button (for an email invite) or the signing link (for a mobile invite) you will be redirected to the Leegality Gateway. Here you can review the entire document - go through the contents, look at the placement of the signatures etc. Once satisfied, click on Proceed.
Step 3: Enter the OTP received on your email and/or phone and click on Proceed.
Step 4: Choose the form of authentication you want to use for your Aadhaar eSign (in this post we will be covering authentication through OTP). Once chosen, click Proceed.
Step 5: The next step is to give your consent for your Aadhaar eSign to be used to authenticate the document. Check the consent box and click on ‘Sign Document’.
Step 6: You will be redirected to the NSDL eSign page. Here you will have to check the consent box (indicating your consent permitting NSDL to use your Aadhaar number for authentication purposes) and enter your Aadhaar number. Click on ‘Send OTP’ once done.
Step 7: Upon doing so you will receive an OTP (One Time Password) on your registered email/mobile number. Enter the OTP you receive here and click on ‘Verify OTP’.
Voila! You have successfully eSigned your document.
You can view the signed document once all the signatories have signed. A copy of the completed document along with the audit trail is sent instantly to the sender and all the signatories.