Notary Public

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Notary Public a public officer or a person publicly authorised to draw up or certify contracts, deeds, etc, to protect bills of exchange and discharge other legal duties or matters of a formal character. The executive or other appointing authority appoints Notary Public under the laws of the land.

The word 'notary' which is a common ellipsis of notary public consists of two morphemes 'note' and 'ary' the former being a root and the latter an affix which came from Latin 'nota+arius' meaning short hand writer, clerk etc.

The Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 define the law relating to promissory notes, bill of exchange and cheques which were enacted and came into force on the first day of March 1882. Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act empowered the government to appoint any person by name or by virtue of his office to be a notary public under this Act.

The Notarial Ordinance 1961 and the Notarial Rules 1964, promulgated by the Pakistan Government, are mostly followed in appointment of notary public, ascertaining their powers, functions, remunerations etc. Before the promulgation of Notarial ordinance, there were notaries public who were appointed by the Master of Faculties in England.

The Government may appoint any legal practitioners or other persons who possess such qualification as may be prescribed, as notaries for the whole or any part of Bangladesh. The person should have professional experience for at least five years. There is no system of examinations to appoint notaries in Bangladesh, and any qualified person can make an application to that end in prescribed form. Such memorial addressing the competent authority should be countersigned by at least ten persons such as representatives of the magistrates, bankers, merchants and dignitaries of the areas in which the applicant deserves to practice as notary. However, to be a qualified person to get appointment of notaries in Europe and in America, someone needs to pass competitive examination. Lawyers, pharmacists, doctors etc are competent to contest to get appointment as notaries. Generally, the Notaries are appointed for three years and a certificate is issued to him on payment of prescribed fees and authorising him to practice in the specific area. A notary, who is already in possession of a certificate of practice in respect of a paticular area, may for sufficient reasons apply to the government for extension of his area of practice. In every year government publish a list of the notary public in official gazette. Every notary shall have and use a seal of such form and design as may be prescribed by the government.

Function of notaries A notary may do all or any of the following acts by virtue of his office: i) verify, authenticate, certify or attest the execution of any instrument; ii)present any promissory note, hundi or bill of exchange for acceptance or payment or demand better security; iii)note or protest the dishonour by non-acceptance or non-payment of any promissory note hundi or bill of exchange or protest for better security or prepare acts of honour under the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 (Act XXVI of 1881), or serve notice of such note or protest; iv) note and draw up ship's protest, boat's protest or protest relating to demurrage and other commercial matters; v) administer oath to or take affidavit from any person; vi) prepare bottomry and respondantia bonds, charter parties and other mercantile documents; vii) prepare, attest or authenticate any instrument intended to take effect in any country or place outside Bangladesh in such form and language as may conform to the law of the place where such deed is intended to operate; viii) translate and verify the translation of any document from one language into another; ix) any other act which may be prescribed. [Abu Muhammad Shafi-uz-Zaman]