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Key Takeaways

  • Notarizing legal documents helps to avoid fraud by ensuring that transactions are conducted appropriately.
  • The Notaries Act of 1952, as well as the Rules promulgated under it, govern the profession of notary in India.
  • A Notary is a government official who has the ability to sign deeds and other legal papers.
  • The process of becoming a notary is simple, albeit the criteria change from state to state.
  • Notaries all around the country are being known for their sloppy attitude towards their jobs.
  • This article elaborately discusses the various aspects of notary including the procedure, requirements and duties to become a notary officer.

Introduction

Notarizing legal papers ensures that transactions are completed correctly and helps to prevent fraud. Notaries are obligated to identify signatories to a document while certifying its authenticity in order to filter out impostors and guarantee that parties enter into an agreement willingly and knowingly. Government authorities like a Court or a State government or a regulating organisation, such as a faculty of notaries public, appoint notaries. Despite the fact that notaries are government employees, they are self-employed and earn money by charging fees for services done.

Notary

The Notaries Act, 1952, and the Rules made under it (Notaries Rules, 1956) control the profession of Notaries in India.A Notary is a Public Officer appointed by the Central Government for the entire country of India or any part of it, or by the State Government (for the entire state or any part of it), as the case may be. A Notary is a person who has the authority to execute deeds and other legal documents. Notaries are legal specialists who are publicly authorised to draw up or attest contracts or other comparable papers, challenge bills of exchange, and perform other official tasks.

Notaries are divided into two categories: common-law notaries and civil-law notaries. A common-law notary is not a lawyer, and he or she is not permitted to give legal advice. Civil-law notaries, on the other hand, are lawyers who have passed the bar and can provide legal advice.

The use of a notary's official seal is required. The shape and design of the seal to be used are specified in the Notaries Rules of 1956. It must be a plain circular seal with a diameter of 5 cm. It must include the notary's name, the jurisdictional region in which he has been appointed to exercise his powers, the registration number, and the name of the authority that appointed him. On every document, the notary must apply his or her office seal. The Evidence Act also requires the courts to take judicial note of the notary's seal. The document has no evidentiary value if the notary's seal is missing.

Before performing any notarial act, the notary must ensure that the correct stamp duty has been paid; if it has not, he may impound the document under Section 33(1) of the Stamp Act. Apart from standard stamp duty, the act of notary entails additional stamp duty under Article 42 of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899, and the applicable sections of the State Act.

Duty

A notary's primary responsibility is to ensure the authenticity of legal papers and to provide a secure environment for parties to a contract. To be notarized, the legal documents must meet the minimal standards. A declared commitment, original signatures from all parties participating in the agreement, and photo identification of the signatories are just a few of the prerequisites.

The Notaries Act of 1952 governs the primary tasks of a notary public. When a notary is satisfied that the document fits all of the standards, he issues a notarial certificate and places the notary's seal on it. A notary may refuse to verify a legal document if it does not fit the standards or if the identity of the parties involved is unknown.

1. To testify the execution of any instrument by verifying, authenticating, certifying, or attesting it.

2. To take an affidavit or give an oath to anybody.

3. To convert any document from one language to another and to double-check the translation.

4. If the court or authority so orders, act as commissioner and record evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding.

5. If necessary, act as an arbitrator, mediator, or conciliator.

6. Detecting deception

7. Affirming the mental status of the participants

8. Verifying and documenting participants' identities

9. All documents must have a notarial certificate.

10. Providing evidence of documents or things in a safe deposit box

11. Keeping a notary journal is a good idea.

12. Taking and administering oaths

13. Taking Affidavits and statutory declarations.

14. Taking care of loan documents, contracts, marriage certificates, and other legal paperwork

Qualifications

The procedure of becoming a notary is straightforward, and prospective applicants must often pass a background check and an online exam. The requirements differ from one state to the next. The prerequisites for becoming a notary public in the state of residence can be found online.Some states require a notary public to have E&O insurance, pass a background check, or obtain training from an approved vendor. To become a notary signing agent, the notary signing agent may be required to pay additional fees and undergo background checks. Notaries can also continue their education through online lectures, conferences, and seminars sponsored by local colleges and the National Notary Association.

A notary must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the state in which they are licenced to practise. They should also not have a history of misdemeanour and/or felony convictions.An individual who has been practising law for at least ten years, or a person from a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes and other backward classes who has been practising law for at least seven years, or a woman who has been practising law for at least seven years, or The individual has to be a member of the Indian Legal Services under the Central Govt., or After enrolment as an advocate, the individual has served in the Judicial Service for at least ten years, or has held an office under the Central Government or a State Government requiring special knowledge of law, or has served in the Department of Judge Advocate General or the Legal Department of the Armed Forces.

Selection Procedure

The appropriate authority evaluates each application received by him and rejects it if the application's conditions are not met, or if the applicant's prior application for appointment as a notary was denied within six months of the application's date, and notifies the applicant accordingly. He may also, if he thinks it is necessary, obtain information from any Bar Council, Bar Association, Incorporated Law Society, or other authority in the area where the applicant intends to practise, including any objections to the applicant's appointment as notary, which must be submitted within the time limit set for the purpose.

In the form of a memorial, a person may request appointment as a notary. The memorial of a person who has practised for at least ten (10) years shall be in accordance with Form I, the memorial of a person referred to in clauses (b) and (c) of Rule 4 shall be in accordance with Form II, and the memorial of a person referred to in clause (a) of Rule 3 shall be signed by the applicant and countersigned by a Magistrate, a nationalised bank's manager, a merchant and two notable residents of the community where the applicant plans to practise as a notary public.

The Applicant must apply for appointment as a notary through the concerned District Judge or the Presiding Officer of the Court or Tribunal where he practises as an Advocate, in the form of a memorial addressed to the Competent Authority of the appropriate Government as that Government may designate in this regard by notification in the Official Gazette.

The appropriate authority evaluates each application received by him and rejects it if the application's conditions are not met, or if the applicant's prior application for appointment as a notary was denied within 6 months of the applications date, and notifies the applicant.He may get information from any Bar Council, Bar Association, Incorporated Law Society, or other body in the area where the applicant intends to practise. Any objections to the applicant's appointment as a notary must be made within the time limit set. He shall make a report to the appropriate government, recommending either that the application be allowed for the whole or any part of the area to which the application relates, or that it be rejected, after conducting such inquiry as he deems necessary and after giving the applicant an opportunity to make representations against the objections.

If the application is approved, the appropriate government will appoint the applicant as a notary and direct his name to be entered in the Register of Notaries maintained by that government under section 4 of the Act, as well as issue him a certificate authorising him to practise in the area to which the application relates, or in such part thereof as the appropriate government deems appropriate.

Notarized Document

A notarized document is a document which has been verified and certified by a notary public. To prevent incidents of fraud or coercion, the notary must verify that all signatures on a document are valid. When notarizing legal papers, the notary confirms a few items, including:

1. Identity of those appearing in front of the notary

The notary must confirm the identities of those signing the legal document, either by personal acquaintance or through the use of identification documents such as a driver's licence.The parties involved are documented in the notarial register, also known as a protocol, after they have been validated.

2. Sound mind

Before and during the signing of the documents, the notary should ensure that all parties involved understand what they are signing and that they are of sound mind. The signer should not be inebriated, medicated, or in any other situation that could impair their judgement.

3. Age of the Participant

The notary shall confirm that the individual signing the document is at least 18 years old and capable of entering into a legally binding agreement. The notary will not be able to notarize the document if some of the participants are minors.

4. Willing Signatory

The notary should make sure that the signers are willing and competent of signing legal documents, and that no coercion is present. If one of the parties does not sign the paper of their own free choice, it could be a hint that the individual is being coerced to sign it.

Notarial Fees

Fees paid to a notary service provider to have a document notarized are known as notarial fees. To be deemed authentic, legal documents like property deeds, loan papers, powers of attorney, contracts, and affidavits frequently require signatures in the presence of a notary public. The notary validates the parties' identities while also guaranteeing that they are of sound mind and are signing the document voluntarily and without compulsion.

The cost for each sort of act is set forth in the Notarial Rules of 1956. The fee to be collected by the notary is referred to in Rule 10. He should post his fee rates in a prominent location both inside and outside his chamber or office. In addition to the price, the notary may impose a Rs. 5 per km travel allowance by rail or road.

Conclusion

Notaries all around the country are known for taking a shabby approach to their profession. In comparison, the current situation is bleak, as documents are stamped, sealed, and certified without even a cursory examination. The profession is only as excellent as the people who do it. This field, like any other in the administration of justice, is critical to the legal system. As a result, the Notary has a responsibility to perform his obligations effectively and ethically. Notary is as important as evidence is to a case and if the notaries do not change their approach then the balance in the judicial system would be disturbed.


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