Who is a Notary?

  • According to the Indian Law, a Notary Public or Notary is a person who is authorized to carry out certain legal formalities/activities. This would include drawing up and/or validating contracts, deeds and other such legal documents.
  • The primary role of a Notary Public is to act as an impartial witness while discharging fraud deterrent activities related to legal documents. Such an act is usually referred to as notarization.

Duties Of A Notary Public

Under the Notaries Act, 1952, the Central or State Govt. may appoint one Notary Public for a region or for the whole country or a whole state or a part of the state.

Duties of a Notary public are governed by the Notaries Act, 1952, and they are-

  • Certify, attest or authenticate any instrument.
  • Administer oaths or witness swearing by deponents for affidavits
  • To carry out translations and verify such translations of legal documents from one language to another
  • To record proof/evidence in criminal or civil trials and to act as commissioner if so directed
  • To perform the function of an arbitrator, counselor or mediator

Significance Of Notarization

  • Rule 12 of the Notary Rules, 1956 prescribes that every notary shall use a plain circular seal of a diameter of 5 c.m. bearing his name, the jurisdictional area in which he has been appointed to exercise his functions, the registration number, expiry date and the circumscription ‘NOTARY’, and also the name of the Government which appointed him.
  • The Notarial Seal acts as a seal of verification meaning that the facts mentioned and the signatures on the document are indeed authentic. It also acts as validation for the fact that the identities of the people signing the document have been verified. It helps prevent forgery and is one of the foremost ways used to avoid frauds in legal documents.
  • In any legal proceeding, a Notary seal, if present on a document, will act as confirmation for the courts that the signatures were placed by a genuine person and not forged or fabricated. It also acts as proof that the individual was not forced into signing it. As one of the many functions of a Notary Public is to witness the document being signed, notarization renders a document authentic, true and voluntarily drafted in many senses.
  • Rental agreements are one of the most common legal documents made in our country. Ever wondered whether a rental agreement or a lease requires notarization?

Consequences Of Not Notarizing A Document

  • The law does not mandate that all legal documents be notarized. However, for some, it is mandatory. For those documents where notarization is mandatory, lack of it can lead to the document being declared legally unenforceable or invalid.
  • If you do not notarize your documents, you are robbing it of a layer of authenticity which could potentially get your document rejected in court cases or similar scenarios. Rules and therefore, consequences relating to notarization or the lack of it vary from state to state in India. But the summary is that if you do not notarize a document, its legally validity and authenticity will be doubtful.