Marriage certificates issued by notary public have no value in the eyes of law: Orissa High Court

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The Orissa High Court recently reiterated that notaries are neither authorized to issue marriage certificates nor are they legally entitled to notarize any signed declaration of marriage. [Partha Sarathi Das V/s State of Orissa & others]

The bench of Justices Sangam Kumar Sahoo and Sibo Sankar Mishra explained that the issue of marriage certificates by public notaries is beyond the scope of their functions prescribed under the Notaries Act, 1952.“Time and again Courts across the country have echoed it in identical voice that Notaries are neither authorized to issue certificates of marriage nor they are legally entitled to notarize any signed declaration of marriage, which is apparently beyond the scope of their functions prescribed under section 8 of the Notaries Act, 1952”, the Court’s order said.The High Court further expressed its ire over the fact that despite authoritative judgments by the High Court on this aspect, notaries are not abstaining from issuing marriage certificates that have “absolutely no value in the eyes of law.”The Court further took critical note that such notaries are allowing the execution of “declarations of marriage” without any valid proof of marriage, which has far-reaching consequences.”Due to such extra-legal and subterfuge arrangements by the Notaries, parties are made to believe that they are legally married when in fact their marriage do not have even the slightest of legal sanctity,” the Court added.The Court made the observation while hearing a plea by a man (petitioner) who alleged that his wife was being forcefully detained by her parents.He claimed to be the woman’s legally wedded husband while relying on a marriage declaration document that was signed and sworn before a public notary in April 2023.The Court has now ordered a probe by the police to discern whether the woman is being detained against her wishes and whether any kind of marriage had taken place between her and the petitioner.Further, considering that marriage certificates issued by notaries have no legal sanctity, the Court has ordered the notary public concerned to give an explanation on how he issued the petitioner a marriage declaration.The public notary has been ordered to explain “on what basis he allowed the execution of marriage declaration document before him and under what authority he has attested such document.”The matter will be heard next on September 26.Advocate PC Dash appeared for the petitioner. Additional Government Advocate Saswata Patnaik appeared for the State government.

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