Article-1 | PracticeLeague
Transition into a paperless work environment through E-signing and Electronic Franking

E-contracts have made negotiations easier and faster while the e-franking and e-stamping have altered the current landscape of the execution of contracts. Read about how it has brought about efficiency to legal service delivery, ensuring completion of Contract Lifecycle Management

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The penultimate stage of execution of contracts is a crucial step leading to the culmination of contracts as well as to the extent that it pronounces the validity and sanctity of any document in question. This step necessarily involves signing, stamping and franking. The standard practice is "ink and sign" method where stamp papers are fetched, contracts sent back and forth between the parties, while also making rounds at the registration offices until formally, physically sealed with wet ink. The necessity to adapt to technology in the wake of the COVID19 situation has seen a manifold increase in the commercial transactions conducted through electronic means and concluded through the process of electronic stamping and franking.

E-execution of contracts for business transactions

E-contracts have made negotiations easier and faster while the e-franking and e-stamping have altered the current landscape of the execution of contracts. Nonetheless, it has brought about efficiency to legal service delivery, ensuring completion of Contract Lifecycle Management even during the time of crisis. The process of e-stamping is a three-way process involves:

  • Consent: both parties should be willing to execute with e-signing and e-franking option. Upon finalizing the draft, via e-mail, you request for stamp papers for specific states across India.
  • Payment of stamp duty online by using E-SBTR (Online Stamping facility provided by Nationalized banks). The party paying the stamp duty shall then scan the receipt of payment and share it with the other party. This stage takes care of the e-franking process.
  • Upon finalization, users can instantly sign their contracts and documents electronically through a host of e-signing options, like digital Aadhaar based e-signature, DSC signatures.

The documents now stored in your document repository is available for viewing. It also enables you to receive an audit trail for authenticity

Convenience, Continuation, Culmination

The present pandemic has thrown several operational challenges for businesses and has pushed lawyers towards adopting digitization of work processes. While electronic contracts and agreements have changed the manner in which documents and contracts are administered, facilitating E-stamping and E-franking is considered a necessary step and a viable option towards complete execution of documents. It is more than just about a necessity here. Electronic platforms for stamping rule out any possibility of forging, fraud and inconsistency with the stamp duty levy on documents. Much to the benefit of the end- users, the practice of e-stamping ushers a tamper-proof, paperless and efficient system that renders meaning to end-to-end Contract Lifecycle Management.

FACT CHECK: E-Stamping

  • E-stamping facility is available through Stock Holding Corporation of India (SHCIL), Secure Banking Treasury Receipt System- The e-SBTR in 24 states across India, including the states of Delhi, Maharashtra. Karnataka, Gujrat, Tamil Nadu, among others
  • Section 10A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 recognizes the enforceability of contracts that occur through electronic form. The subsequent IT (Amendment) Act, 2008, has substituted a digital signature with "Electronic Signature.
  • e-Signatures/E-franking is under the purview of Section 65-A of Indian Evidence Act, 1872
  • All Instruments with an exception of Negotiable instruments, Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust Deeds, Contract for Sale or Transfer of Immovable Property may be e-stamped