In India, notaries are appointed by the central government for the different parts of the state. Notaries can also be appointed by the state government to serve the state. Any individual who has practiced law for a minimum of ten years can apply to the federal or state government for the position of a notary. If the applicant does not have a law degree, then he should have held a relevant office with the central government or belong to the Indian Legal Service group.
Notary has become an all-time necessity in India because of the exodus of persons from one place to another and a clear change in the living pattern of the people. The demand of the services of a notary has increased over the years and this has made the career of a notary very attractive and lucrative.
WHO IS A NOTARY?
Notary which is also called Notary Public is an experienced law practitioner who is appointed by the Central or State government following the recommendations of the Judicial Authorities and in accordance with the provisions of the 1952 Notaries Act LII; with the responsibility of administering oath to persons, authenticate documents like affidavits and contracts by affixing his stamp or seal on those documents before charging a prescribed fee.
WHO ARE THE PERSONS REQUIRING THE SERVICES OF THE NOTARY?
Notaries serve those who:
- Lack of any proof of residence but need government’s utility services like voters’ card, electricity, domestic gas cylinder, and ration card.
- Wants to continue their education after a voluntary break in studies.
- Want to change his or her name.
- Wants to provide a proof of the authenticity of a property sale deed, financial or an academic document.
WHAT ARE THE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR BECOMING A NOTARY?
To become a notary in India, you must have:
- Practiced as a professional advocate for ten years or seven years in the case of a special category or a woman.
- Belong to the Indian Legal Services.
- Served under the State or Central government and had acquired special law skills as an advocate.
- Served as an officer in the Judge’s department of the advocate general or in the military.
WHAT ARE THE SKILLS REQUIRED FOR A NOTARY?
A notary should have:
- Sense of responsibility
- Alertness in the mind and hardworking.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS FOR YOU TO BECOME A NOTARY?
To become a notary, you must take the following steps:
You must possess an LLB degree. Note that all the candidates that are qualified for an LLB degree must first pass the entrance exams which are conducted by the institution’s department of law. The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is the first step at a law career.
This examination is conducted annually as one of the entry requirements in studying a 5-year law course in the University or other Law schools.
You are sure to find questions from topics like legal aptitude, English comprehension, General Knowledge/Current affairs, logical reasoning and elementary mathematics in the CLAT exams.
On getting the Degree after completing the course successfully, you are required to complete a one-year compulsory internship or as may be decided by the institution.
You must be enrolled as an advocate in any of the State’s Bar Council. This will be after you must have successfully completed your one-year internship. Your enrollment as an advocate will equip you with the necessary experience and qualification to apply for the license of a notary based on the provisions of the Advocates Act 1961.
You must practice as an advocate for a minimum of 10 years or 7 years for women or persons in the special category to qualify to be appointed as a notary. If you are not a legal practitioner, then you must belong to the Indian Legal Services or have served under the State or Central government in a portfolio that required special law skills. Note that this is only possible after you must have been enrolled as an advocate or held an office in the Judge’s department of the armed forces or in the Advocate General’s office.
STEP V (HOW CAN YOU OBTAIN THE NOTARY LICENSE)
You will submit your application in a memorial form to the competent authority of the government based on the provisions of the law. If the application is approved, you will be issued a certificate of practice which will authorize you to become a notary. This will be published in one of the government’s owned gazette and your name will be filed in the notary register which is maintained by the government.
WHAT ARE THE FEES PAID FOR OBTAINING AND RENEWAL OF THE NOTARY LICENSE?
You will be charged with a minimum of Rs. 1000 for the first appointment as a notary which will last for 5 years before a renewal. On renewal of the license, you will be charged a fee of Rs. 500. It is possible for you to apply for an extension of your area of jurisdiction which will attract a fee of Rs. 750.
WHAT ARE THE POINTS OF CONSIDERATION FOR AN AUTHORITY THAT IS APPOINTING A NOTARY?
Before you are appointed as a notary public the government will have to make the following considerations:
- If you are residing in the area you are intending to practice as a notary
- The existing number of notaries operating in the area
- The need for more notaries in the jurisdiction based on its commercial viability
- The extent of the applicant’s experience and knowledge of the law
- The extent or duration of practice for applicants who are legal practitioners
- If the applicant is a member of a legal group.
- The number of notaries in each legal firm and the expediency in appointing an additional notary from the same firm.
- The number of pending applications from the same area.
- The level of qualifications of the applicants and their suitability for the appointment
- The government shall consider the reports for the respective area and will make its decision for or against the applicants.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR SERVICES OF A NOTARY PUBLIC?
The services of a notary are:
- To verify, certify, authenticate or attest for the execution an instrument.
- To present a promissory note or bill of exchange to serve as a guarantee for payment
- He is to take notes or protest any dishonor following the non-acceptance or non-payment of a promissory note or bill of exchange. He will protest for a better security, prepare the legal documents based on the rules of negotiable instruments in backing up of the protest or notice of protest.
- It is the duty of the notary officer to draw up boat’s protest, ship’s protest and other protests that are relative to demurrage and other commercials.
- He is to administer an oath or take an affidavit from an individual.
- To prepare respondentia and bottomry bonds and other business documents.
- To prepare or authenticate any financial or business instrument that is required in another country and in the form and language that will be acceptable in the country of interest.
- He is to translate and verify the documents’ language translation.
- To record the evidence presented in the court during a civil or criminal trial as may be directed by the authority or the court.
- He can act as an arbitrator or a counselor as may be the case and any other describable duty.
WHAT ARE THE CAREER PROSPECTS OF A NOTARY?
Notaries can work in a courthouse, law offices or a courtroom. He can decide to take up the business of an independent notary where he can sign and affix stamp and seals to documents as may be required. In addition to this, there are mobile notaries who can travel from one area to another to serve the needs of the clients from those areas. Itinerant notaries can be assessed by calls or can be hired on a part-time basis by an individual or an organization.
WHAT IS THE SALARY OF A NOTARY?
The success of a notary in terms of his ability to earn more income from the practice depends on his level of knowledge, skills, and experience in the job as well as his relationship with the public. In most cases, a notary can earn up to Rs. 1000 or more in a day.
WHAT ARE THE DOCUMENTS THAT ARE A MUST TO BE NOTARIZED BY LAW?
The notarization of these documents is compulsory in India. These are:
- An application form that is duly filled.
- All originals and photocopies of documents
- All Covering letters
- Original and photocopy of Applicant’s and agent’s passport.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF NOTARIZATION OF DOCUMENTS IN INDIA?
The seal of the notary is for verification, which implies that the facts that appear on the documents are authentic. It also implies that the owner of the document and the signature is real. The seal of the notary can be tendered as an evidence in court during a legal proceeding. This will prove that the documents were signed by the original owner and not forged.
It is the responsibility of the notary to own his seal which is plain and circular of about 5cm bearing his name, area of jurisdiction, reg. no, expiry date and the ‘NOTARY’ inscription and the government by which he was appointed.
WHAT IF YOU FAIL TO NOTARIZE YOUR DOCUMENT?
It is not all the legal documents that should be notarized. However, there are some documents that must be notarized and if you fail to get them notarized, it will become invalid or legally unenforceable. Failure to notarize such documents will increase its doubts of validity and can cause it to be rejected during a court proceeding.
CAN AN AFFIDAVIT THAT HAS BEEN NOTARIZED BE ADMITTED?
Based on the provisions of Section 139 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP), 1908; all affidavits that have been verified and notarized can be admitted in the court as an evidence. In addition to this, Section 297 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 makes adequate provisions for the admissibility of a notarized and verified affidavit.
SHOULD A STAMP DUTY BE PAID?
As a matter of fact, the notary must ensure that the payment for stamp duty has been made before he continues with his services. On the failure to do so, he may be punished under Section 33 of the 1899 Indian Stamp Act.