How to Become a Notary Public?

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How to Become a Notary Public?

Pursuing a career as a notary public, especially in India, can be very lucrative, as well as in increasing demand. This is due to the increasing migration of people from one state to the other, which has seen a significant change in living patterns across the country. There are several criteria that a person must fulfil to become a notary public.

In this article, we will walk you through the entire process of How to Become a Notary Public in a comprehensive and practical manner.

Criteria to become a notary

Notaries are appointed by either the state or the federal/central governments. To become a notary public, one must satisfy one or more of the following criteria;

  • Be affiliated with the Indian Legal Services group
  • Have a law degree
  • Must have practised law for a period of ten years or more
  • For women and people belonging to special categories, the minimum term is seven years
  • In the absence of a law degree, must have held similar office with the central or federal government

Role of notaries

A notary public has the following roles and responsibilities that they carry out in exchange for a fee;

  • Document authentication, such as legal contracts and affidavits
  • Administration of oaths to people as required by the law
  • Affixing a seal of approval to the documents as mentioned above

All of these above functions are per the Notaries Act LII, 1952.

Services offered by notaries

With the migration of people all across the country due to both personal and professional reasons, the services of the notaries include the following;

  • People requiring a government identification proof, such as voter ID cards, without having a residence proof in the area that they need to issue the ID from
  • Continuation of education after a prolonged gap
  • Name changing
  • Authentication of documents such as sale or gift deeds, academic papers and financial documents
  • Verification and authentication of legal and financial instruments
  • Authentication of promissory notes or a bill of exchange that guarantees payment to the parties concerned
  • Drawing protests and filing legal documentation for the same, if negotiations cannot be reached between two parties in dispute
  • Preparation of business documents such as bottomry bonds and respondentia
  • Preparing financial documents and bonds, or instruments of a transaction between parties across different countries, depending upon the acceptability of the language and authentications in question.
  • Translation of documents before verification of the same
  • Recording court proceedings in civil or criminal cases, as directed by the competent legal authorities.
  • Acting as counsellor or arbitrator in case of disputing parties, as and when directed by a court or organization
  • Administration of oaths and legal affidavits as directed by the court in case of civil or criminal proceedings

Desirable qualities of a notary public

To pursue a successful career as a notary public, there are a few desirable traits that a person should possess;

  • Be in an alert state of mind
  • Hardworking and determined
  • Disciplined and confident
  • Commitment to the career
  • Honest and maintain a sense of ethics and morality
  • Able to respect confidentiality clauses
  • Possess the stamina to work long hours

How to become a notary public?

In addition to fulfilling the criteria mentioned above, the person wishing to pursue a career as a notary public must apply for a license. Once a person satisfies all the requirements, they may fill out the memorial form and submit the application to become a notary. After the competent state or central government authorities approve the application, the person is provided with a certificate, and their name is published in the gazette. The government also maintains a register for all registered notaries across the country, where the person’s name will be enrolled. After getting the certificate, the person is free to practice as a licensed notary in any part or region of a state, as indicated by the competent government authority.

The application fee for the initial application is Rs 1000, and the license is then valid for a five-year term. At the expiration of the initial five years, the person needs to apply for a renewal, which will cost an additional Rs 500. However, in certain conditions, a person may apply for an extension of the existing license before the expiration date and will be charged a fee of Rs 750.

Career prospects

After attaining a notary license, a person may pursue one of the following career paths;

  • Working at law offices, courthouses, or individual courtrooms, as appointed by the state and central/federal authorities
  • Pursue a business as an independent notary and offer services to individuals in exchange for fees
  • Work as mobile notaries who can travel from one place to the other, depending upon the requirement or instruction of the federal or state governments.
  • Work as a part-time or full-time notary for any organization, public or private, or any individual, as an itinerant notary.

Salary and success

In India, a notary can earn over 1000 rupees a day, depending upon his skill, time spent in the office, and the influx of clients. The relationship of the notary with the general public must also be considered. It is a lucrative career with promising prospects and an increasing demand.

Documents compulsory for notarization

The following documents in India need to be compulsorily notarized, and enlisted as follows,

  • Original and photocopy of documents
  • Application forms
  • Covering letters
  • Government identity cards such as passports and voter ID cards

Significance of notarized documents

 A notarized document, by definition, is authentic, and the onus lies on the notaries themselves. A notarized document signifies that the document, its owner, and the signature are original beyond reasonable doubt. The seal of verification provided by a notary is treated as a piece of legally admissible evidence in a court of law in case of disputes or any other legal proceedings.

The notary whose seal, registration details, and signature are present on a document is solely responsible in case of any dispute or forgery if identified later and can be liable for fines, license cancellations, or other legal actions.

Failure to notarize documents

Although not all documents are required by law to be notarized, some are absolutely compulsory. Failure to notarize such documents results in legal voidance of the same and results in them being rejected as admissible evidence in a court of law. This is especially true in cases of affidavits, which are required by law to be notarized under sections of civil and criminal proceeding acts.

Stamp duties

Among other functions, a notary must ensure that the client has paid the proper stamp duty before providing a seal of approval. Failure to do so results in fines being levied on the notary in question and may lead to the cancellation of licenses in case of severe or repeated negligence.

In summary

The career of a notary public in India has been in a steady state of increasing demand and pay. However, individuals who wish to pursue it should possess certain desirable traits necessary to conduct these duties flawlessly and maintain the ethical and moral high ground regardless of the parties involved. The stamp and seal of the authority of a notary is something that one earns as a respected member of society. Thus, those who become a notary public must hold themselves to the highest standards, both in the eyes of the law and the people they serve.

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