Role of the Notary Public in India

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Who is a Notary?

A Notary is person appointed by the Central Government or state government under the Notaries Act, 1952. The Central Government may appoint a notary for the whole or any part of the country. Likewise, the state government may appoint a notary for the entire or for any part of the state. A Notary is a public officer.


What are the functions of a notary?

The chief functions of a notary public are governed by the Notaries Act, 1952 which provides:


Notaries Act, 1952


8. Functions of notaries

(1) A notary may do all or any of the following acts by virtue of his office, namely,-

(a) verify, authenticate, certify or attest the execution of any instrument;

(b) present any promissory note, hundi or bill of exchange for acceptance or payment or demand better security;

(c) note or protest the dishonor by non-acceptance or non-payment of any promissory note,hundi or bill of exchange or protest for better security or prepare acts of honor under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (XXVI of 1881) or serve notice of such note or protest;

(d) note and draw up ship’s protest, boat’s protest or protest relating to demurrage and other commercial matters;

(e) administer oath to, or take affidavit from, any person;

(f) prepare bottomry and respondentia bonds, charter parties and other mercantile documents;

(g) prepare, attest or authenticate any instrument intended to take effect in any country or place, outside India in such form and language as may conform to the law of the place where such deed is entitled to operate;

(h) translate and verify the translation of, any document from, one language into another;

6[(ha) act as a Commissioner to record evidence in any civil or criminal trial if so directed by any court or authority;

(hb) act as an arbitrator, mediator or conciliator, if so required;]

(i) any other act, which may be prescribed.

(2) No act specified in sub-section (1) shall be deemed to be a notarial act except when it is done by a notary under his signature and official seal.


In more common parlance, the function of the Notary Public in India can be said to be:

1.   To verify, authenticate, certify or attest the execution of any instrument. The word instrument is defined in the Act as every document by which any right or liability is or purports to be, created, transferred, modified, limited, extended, suspended, extinguished or recorded. So every document is not an instrument, unless it confers a right or records a liability. Each word namely verify, authenticate, certify and attest has a different meaning. ‘Verify’ means checking with the facts and proof/evidence produced. ‘Authenticate’ means, the notary has assured himself of the identity of the person who has signed the instrument as well as to the fact of execution. ‘Certify’ means to confirm through a formal statement that the instrument executed possesses certain qualifications or meeting the accepted minimum standards relevant to the contents of the same. Notary is bound to make entry of the notarial act of certifying the copy of the document as a true copy of its original. ‘Attest’ means to affirm to be correct, true or genuine.

2.   To administer oath to or take an affidavit from any person.

3.   To translate and verify the translation, of any document from one language into another.

4.   To act as commissioner, to record evidence in any civil or criminal trial if so directed by the court or authority.

5.   To act as arbitrator, mediator, or conciliator if so required.

As a common law jurisdiction, the role and function of the Notary Public in India is similar to that of Ontario.

The Indian Consulate offers an Attestation Services on the following terms:



  • The Consulate General of India has no Agents for rendering these services and applicants should approach the Consulate directly, either in person or through mail.

  • This service is available at the Consulate General of India, 365 Bloor Street East, 7th floor, Toronto ON M4W 3L4.

  • There is no need to take an appointment. Applicants could visit the Consulate on any working day between 0900-1130 hrs (not on Saturdays/Sundays and closed holidays). The service will be on first come first serve basis.

  • The attested documents are delivered the same day between 1500-1600 hrs.

  • The Consulate reserves the right to reject attestation of documents the contents of which are objectionable or contrary to the Rules.

The Indian Consulate Office should be consulted with respect to any document which is intended for use in India.