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Orissa High Court Orders Biannual Audits of Notaries Over Unlawful Marriage Certificates

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The Orissa High Court has issued an order for a biannual audit of notaries due to the illegal issuance of marriage certificates. In response to a petition regarding a marriage certificate issued by a notary in the Simulia area of Balasore, the Court expressed concern over notaries engaging in unauthorized activities. The Court believes that notaries might be involved in this illegal practice, either knowingly or unknowingly.

Consequently, the Orissa High Court has mandated that the Odisha government conduct an awareness program for all notaries in the state. Moreover, the Court has directed the government to conduct regular document audits of notaries at least twice a year.

It’s important to note that this action was prompted by a marriage certificate issued by a notary in violation of Section 8(1) of the Notaries Act, 1952, despite a prior directive from the State Law Department in 2009. Notaries have been reminded that they lack the legal authority to issue marriage certificates, and various courts across the country have consistently affirmed this.

In light of notaries’ continued issuance of legally invalid marriage certificates, the Orissa High Court has emphasized the need for them to be aware of their limitations and responsibilities, prompting the government to take action through an awareness campaign for notaries across the state. According to advocate Chittaranjan Swain, notaries have been found engaging in unlawful activities related to marriage agreements and declarations, actions that fall outside the scope of their authority under the Notaries Act, 1952.

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