Signature means a sign or mark which is impressed upon anything, a stamp or a mark or the name of the person written by him either in full or by initials. Signature helps in identifying the document to be authentic. Each and every person’s signature is unique and varies from one another.
Signature is one of the most important proofs of an individual’s identity. Signatures are used as solid evidence in cases. Considering the amount of significance it carries, signatures should be carefully affixed and a person must always try to replicate the same in all the documents as differing signatures may lead to the certain confusions.
Procedure to change signatures:
In India, there are neither any laws to govern the handwritten or physical signatures nor any procedures that are required to be followed in case of changing the signature. In such a case, any person who wishes to change his signature in official documents shall draft an affidavit which must be affixed with both the old and the new signatures.
The affidavit has to be printed in the non judicial stamp paper and must be notarised by a notary and it must contain an attachment that contains both old and new signatures.[i]
The change of signature need not be notified to the public through newspaper as it may lead the forgers to use the signature to forge any documents.[ii]
Changing signature in Passport:
In case if any person wishes to change his signature in the existing passport, then he can apply for reissue of passport with the Regional Passport Office or online in the official website (Passport Seva Kendra).
When such an appointment is made with the passport office, the applicant has to carry with him/ her an affidavit with the specimen of the old and new signatures which has been notarised along with other essential documents that includes the old passport, address proof and so on.
When all the documents are verified by the authorities, then a fresh passport with a validity period of 10 years will be issued with the changed signature.
Changing signatures in PAN card:
PAN card is one of the most important identification documents whose information will be greatly relied upon for all other verification purposes. The procedure for changing the signature in the PAN card is as followed:
- When any person wishes to carry out this procedure online[iii], he has to visit the NSDL website and submit the PAN change request form which is available in the category of the applicant.
- The box corresponding to the ‘signature mismatch’ has to be checked out.
- The applicant has to provide with the correct communication address where the new and the updated PAN has to be delivered and such an address will be updated in the Income Tax Department as well.
- For the new signature any applicant can upload the photo of the changed signature or can upload the digital signature certificate as well.
- The submit button can be pressed after uploading all the essential documents.[iv]
Changing signature for bank accounts:
Most of the banks issue a separate form which has to be filled out in order to change the signature. However, a requisition letter can be given to the bank stating the applicant’s bank account and the both old and new signatures shall be affixed in the letter.
The applicant can submit the copy of his/ her passbook, valid proof of identity like driver’s license or voter id for reference.
In order to change the signature, any government document which is duly attested that contains the new signature has to be submitted as a proof for verification.[v]
Evidentiary value of signatures:
To find out if documents contains forged signature or not, the court depends on the expert opinion given regarding that particular fact in issue. Expert opinion means any opinion made by the experts of any particular field. These expert opinions are valid under Indian Evidence Act, 1872.[vi] The section states that any opinion made by the experts pertaining to identification of handwriting is admissible in court as valid evidence. In the case of State of Maharashtra V Sukhdeo Singh, the court opined that the genuineness of the specimen handwriting of the accused and the competency and the reliability of the handwriting expert must be proved beyond the reasonable doubt.[vii]
Signatures are one of the most authentic proofs for an individual’s identity. Such signatures need to be clear and unambiguous and constant changing such signatures will lead to confusions.
Edited by Pragash Boopal
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
[vi] Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act,1872
[vii] 1992 AIR 2100