NOTARIES Ordinance

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

2. Appointment of notary by warrant of the Minister.

3. Attorneys-at-Law, qualified for admission as notaries.

4. Qualifications of other persons for notarial appointment.

4A. Notaries practicing in Judicial division deemed to practice in judicial zone.

5. Condition to be fulfilled before notary authorised to practice in one language can practice in another language.

6. Number of articled clerks how determined.

7. Admission of articled clerks and notaries.

8. The Minister may make regulations for admission of articled clerks and notaries.

9. Notary bound to have his office within his jurisdiction.

10. Number and situation of notary's offices.

11. Minister's power to change the zone within which a notary is authorised, to practice.

12. Notary to make declaration and give security.

13. Penalty for practicing as notary without warrant.

14. Discharge of Insurance corporation.

15. Omitted.

16. When notary to furnish fresh security.

17. Enrolling of notaries in the High Court.

18. List of notaries to be posted in the courts.

19. Suspension of notary from office.

20. Cancellation of notary s warrant.

21. Inquiry into notary misconduct or incapacity.

22. Resignation of office.

23. Certificate of cancellation or suspension of warrant to be transmitted to and posted in the local courts.

24. Penalty on notary practicing after notice of suspension.

25. Minister may revoke cancellation of warrant.

26. Restoration to or insertion in, the roll of notaries of the notary's name.

27. Certificates to be granted yearly to notaries by Registrar of the high court.

28. Notaries applying for certificates to make declaration.

29. On refusal by Registrar to grant any certificate, application to be made to the High Court.

30. Penalty on notaries practicing without certificate.

31. Rules to be observed by notaries.

32. Provisions as to application of rules in section 31 in special cases.

33. Instruments not to be invalid for non-compliance in any matter of form.

34. Penalty for beaches of rules in section 31.

35. Power to compound offences.

36. Powers to make rules.

37. Notary to use diligence in registering deeds.

38. Notary to try ascertain true consideration.

39. Penalty on notary acting fraudulently.

40. Fees of notaries.

41. Delivery to registrar of documents of notary dying.

42. Notary to deliver to the registrar lists of duplicate deeds filed.

43. Interpretation.

SCHEDULES

1 of 1907,

27 of 1909,

18 of 1910,

31 of 1917,

22 of 1919,

24 of 1927,

10 of 1934,

10 of 1936,

7 of 1943,

59 of 1943,

51 of 1944,

48 of 1947,

24 of 1973,

20 of 1976,

23 of 1978,

6 of 1951,

12 of 2005,

47 of 2011,

13 of 2013.

AN ORDINANCE to amend the law relating to Notaries and to make further provision for the proper qualification of notaries and for the more efficient and faithful discharge of the duties appertaining to the office of a Notary and consolidate the law relative thereto.

[Date of Commencement: 27th March, 1907]

1. Short title.

This Ordinance may be cited for all purposes as the Notaries Ordinance.

2. Appointment of notary by warrant of the Minister.

Every appointment to the office of notary shall be by warrant granted by the Minister, and shall specify the area within which, and the language or languages in which, the person appointed is authorised to practice.

3. Attorneys-at-Law, qualified for admission as notaries.

Every Attorney-at-Law who has passed the prescribed examination in convincing either before or after his admission as such Attorney-at-Law or has been admitted without examination in virtue of a legal qualification in the United Kingdom or elsewhere, requiring a pass in convincing shall be entitled, on application, to a warrant authorising him to practice as a notary in the language in which he has passed the examination in convincing within the judicial zone in which he resides.

[S 3 subs by s 3 of Law 20 of 1976.]

4. Qualifications of other persons for notarial appointment.

(1) The Minister may appoint as notaries persons other than Attorneys-at-Law:

Provided that such persons—

(a) are of good character and repute;

(b) are of the age of twenty years;

(c) have been articled clerks, licensed as hereinafter provided, of an Attorney-at-Law and have duly served as such for two years; and

(d) have passed an examination prescribed by the Minister and are reported to be duly qualified by the Registrar- General.

[S 4(1) subs by s 2 of Law 24 of 1973.]

(2) Every notary appointed under subsection (1) on or after the 1st day of May, 1951, shall be entitled to practice within the judicial zone in which he resides.

4A. Notaries practicing in Judicial division deemed to practice in judicial zone.

Every warrant issued to a notary under the provisions of section 31 or section 41 authorising him to practice as a notary in any judicial division in which he resides, shall be deemed to authorize him to practice as a notary in the judicial zone in which he resides.

[S 4A ins by s 4 of Law 20 of 1976.]

5. Condition to be fulfilled before notary authorised to practice in one language can practice in another language.

A notary, who is authorised by warrant to practice in any particular language, shall be entitled, on passing such examination in any other language as may be prescribed by the Minister, to a warrant authorising him to practice in that other language.

6. Number of articled clerks how determined.

The number of articled clerks to be licensed for and in each district shall be limited and determined by an Order to be issued from time to time by the Minister.

7. Admission of articled clerks and notaries.

The admission of persons to be articled clerks and notaries shall be subject to the regulations in the First Schedule, which shall be in force until revoked, amended, or altered by regulations made under section 8.

8. The Minister may make regulations for admission of articled clerks and notaries.

The Minister may from time to time revoke, amend, or alter such regulations, or may make new regulations. All regulations so made, and any revocation, amendment, or alteration of a regulation shall be published in the Gazette.

9. Notary bound to have his office within his jurisdiction.

Every notary shall be bound to have his office within the area specified in his warrant; and any notary infringing this provision shall be liable to have his warrant withdrawn by the Minister.

10. Number and situation of notary's offices.

(1) No notary shall have more than two offices.

(2) —

(a) No notary who is an Attorney-at-Law shall, for the purposes of his profession as a notary, have any office at any place other than—

(i) his residence; or

(ii) an office maintained and used by him for the purposes of his profession as an Attorney-at-Law.

(b) Where any notary who is an Attorney-at-Law has two offices for the purposes of his profession as a notary, one of such offices shall be at his residence:

Provided, however, that any such notary may, if authorised in that behalf in writing under the hand of the Registrar-General, have both such offices at places described in paragraph (a)(ii) of this subsection

11. Minister's power to change the zone within which a notary is authorised, to practice.

The Minister may on application made in that behalf grant to a notary, having a warrant authorising him to practice within a judicial zone, a fresh warrant authorising him to practice within another judicial zone.

[S 11 subs by s 5 of Law 20 of 1976.]

12. Notary to make declaration and give security.

(1) Every person to whom a warrant has been granted to practice as a notary shall before commencing to practice—

(a) make and sign before the High Court Judge having jurisdiction over the area specified in the warrant a declaration in the form C in the Second Schedule;

(b) execute a bond in favour of the Republic in the amount of two thousand rupees, conditioned for the due and faithful discharge of his duties as a notary, which amount shall be secured either by the hypothecation of immovable property or by the deposit of movable property (such immovable or movable property being property belonging to himself or some other person), or by the guarantee of the Insurance Corporation2; and

(c) file in the High Court in such zone an attested copy of his warrant.

(2) Every bond referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) shall be signed in the presence of the High Court Judge having jurisdiction over the area specified in the warrant of the notary:

Provided that the guarantee of the Insurance Corporation2 may be signed on behalf of the Corporation in the registered office of the Corporation.

13. Penalty for practicing as notary without warrant.

If any person shall practice or act as or exercise the office or functions of a notary without having obtained such warrant as aforesaid, or without having made and signed such declaration and given such bond and security as aforesaid, or without having filed an attested copy of his warrant, every such person shall be guilty of an offence, and liable on conviction thereof to a fine not less than ten thousand rupees and not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, or to simple or rigorous imprisonment for any period not exceeding three years, or to such fine as well as such imprisonment.

[S 13 am by s 5 of Act 12 of 2005.]

14. Discharge of Insurance Corporation.

(1) Any person who has given security on behalf of a notary by the hypothecation of immovable property or by the deposit of movable property, or the Insurance Corporation bound as surety to a notary, may apply to the High Court Judge having jurisdiction over the area specified in such notary's warrant to be discharged from any liability incurred by such person or such Corporation under section 12.

(2) The High Court Judge to whom any person or such Corporation applies under subsection (1) for a discharge of such person's or such Corporation's liability may, if he is satisfied that such person or such Corporation has given six weeks' notice to the notary of his or its intention to make such application and that such person or such Corporation has good cause for claiming such discharge, endorse on the bond an order discharging such person or such Corporation from any liability in respect of any act of the notary done after the date of the order.

15. .

[S 15 omitted by s 2(d) of Act 4 of 1968.]

16. When notary to furnish fresh security.

(1) If at any time the security given by or on behalf of any notary shall perish or is lost or if any person who has given security by the hypothecation of immovable property or by the deposit of movable property or the Insurance Corporation bound as surety is discharged under section 14(2) from liability, the notary shall execute a fresh bond in accordance with the provisions of section 12.

(2) If in any case to which subsection (1) applies any notary shall practice or act as a notary without having executed a fresh bond as provided in that subsection, he shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction thereof to the punishment provided in section 13.

17. Enrolling of notaries in the High Court.

Upon a notary making and signing the declaration and giving the security required by section 12 the High Court Judge shall, without fee or reward, enroll his name and the date of his admission as a notary in a roll or book to be provided and kept for that purpose in the High Court holden in the relevant zone, and shall file the said declaration and bond, together with an attested copy of such warrant, of record in the said court.

183. List of notaries to be posted in the courts.

(1) A list of all persons authorised to act as notaries within any zone shall be kept at all times posted in some conspicuous place at the High Court Holden in the zone for general information.

(2) The Registrar of the court shall from time to time, as occasion may require, correct the said list by striking therefrom the names of any notaries who have died or been struck off the roll of notaries, or have left the said zone, or ceased to practice as notaries therein.

(3) The Registrar shall on the thirtieth day of June and the thirty-first day of December in each year forward to the Registrar-General a copy of such list corrected up to date, and to each of the several District Courts, Family Courts and Primary Courts within the zone a corrected list of notaries entitled to practice within the jurisdiction of such District Courts, Family Courts and Primary Courts respectively.

(4) Each District Judge, Judge of the Family Court and Judge of the Primary Court shall cause the list so received by him to be affixed to some conspicuous place on the wall of his court.

[S 18 subs by s 6 of law 20 of 1976.]

19. Suspension of notary from office.

(1) Where a notary has been indicted before the High Court, the Minister may, on the application of the Attorney-General, suspend him from the office of notary pending his trial. If the notary shall be acquitted, or shall not be brought to trial within six months after his suspension, the same shall cease to be in force and shall be deemed to be removed.

(2) Where a notary, who is an Attorney-at-Law, has been suspended from his office as Attorney-at-Law, he shall during the period of the suspension be disqualified from discharging the duties of a notary.

[S 19 subs by s 7 of Law 20 of 1976.]

20. Cancellation of notary s warrant.

If any notary shall be lawfully convicted of any offence which, in the opinion of the Minister, renders him unfit to be entrusted with any responsible office, or if any such person, being an Attorney-at-Law, shall be duly removed from the office of Attorney-at-Law, every such person shall become disqualified for the office of notary, and the warrant granted to him shall be cancelled.

21. Inquiry into notary misconduct or incapacity.

(1) It shall be the duty of the High Court Judge within whose jurisdiction a notary resides, upon being satisfied, after due inquiry, that such notary—

(a) has been guilty of any offence, whether in his capacity of notary or otherwise, which in the opinion of the High Court Judge renders him unfit to be entrusted with the duties of a notary; or

(b) has grossly misconduct himself in the discharge of the duties of his office; or

(c) has so conducted himself by repeated breaches of any of the rules made by or under this Ordinance that he ought not to be any longer entrusted with the performance of the said duties; or

(d) has been convicted three times or oftener for a violation or disregard of or neglect to observe the provisions of rule (26) in section 31; or

(e) has proved himself by reason of incompetence, age, physical or mental infirmity, or otherwise, incapable of discharging the duties of his office with advantage to the public,

to report the same in writing to the Minister with the evidence taken at the inquiry.

(2) Where the report is to the effect that the notary has been guilty of any such offence or misconduct as is mentioned in clauses (a), (b), (c), or (d) of the last preceding subsection, the Minister may cancel the warrant of such notary, or may suspend him from office for such period as may appear just. Where the report is to the effect that the notary is incapable of discharging his duties with advantage to the public, the Minister may cancel his warrant or may require him to resign his office within a specified time, and in default of such resignation may cancel his warrant.

(3) For the purposes of such inquiry the High Court Judge shall have power to require the attendance before himself of the notary and of any witnesses, and the production of any document that the High Court Judge may deem material, and to examine such witnesses on oath or affirmation, and to examine such notary without oath or affirmation.

(4) Any person required to attend and be examined or to produce a document as aforesaid, who shall without reasonable cause fail to comply with such requirement, shall be guilty of an offence, and liable on conviction to a fine not less than two thousand five hundred rupees and not exceeding fifty thousand rupees.

[S 21(4) am by s 5 of Act 12 of 2005.]

(5) No statement made by the notary at the inquiry shall be used in any criminal prosecution instituted against him.

22. Resignation of office.

(1) If a notary applies to the Resignation of Registrar-General in writing to resign from office. and to cease to act in the office of notary, the Registrar-General shall forthwith forward the application to the Minister who may accept such resignation as from the date desired by the notary.

(2) When a notary has resigned under this section his warrant shall be deemed to be cancelled for the purposes of sections 23, 24, 25 and 26.

(3) Notwithstanding such resignation a notary shall continue to remain subject to the provisions of this Ordinance and all rules contained therein or made thereunder in respect of all things done or omitted by him in the exercise of his functions as notary prior to the resignation.

23. Certificate of cancellation or suspension of warrant to be transmitted to and posted in the local courts.

(1) Whenever a notary's warrant has been cancelled or a notary has been suspended from office, notice thereof shall be given in the Gazette, and a certificate that such warrant has been cancelled or notary suspended shall be transmitted, by the Secretary to the Ministry, to the courts. Registrar-General and to the High Court Judge and several District Judges, Judges of the Family Courts and Judges of the Primary Courts within whose jurisdiction such notary shall have been authorised to act.

(2) The High Court Judge of the court in which the name of such notary is enrolled shall in the case of the cancellation of the notary's warrant cause his name to be immediately struck off the roll of notaries, and in the case of the notary's suspension from office, shall note the fact in the roll opposite his name.

(3) A copy of such certificate, with a translation in the Tamil and English languages subjoined thereto, shall be kept posted in some conspicuous place at every such High Court, District Court. Family Court and Primary Court for such period as the court may direct.

[S 23 subs by s 8 of Law 20 of 1976.]

24. Penalty on notary practicing after notice of suspension.

If any person shall act as or exercise the office or functions of a notary after having received notice of any such suspension as aforesaid, and before the same shall have been removed, or after having been convicted of any offence disqualifying him for the said office, or after having been removed from the office of Attorney-at-Law as hereinbefore mentioned, or after having received notice that the warrant granted to him has been cancelled or withdrawn as aforesaid, he shall be guilty of an offence, and be liable on conviction thereof to a fine not less than ten thousand rupees and not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, or to imprisonment, simple or rigorous, for any period not exceeding three years, or to such fine as well as such imprisonment.

[S 24 am by s 5 of Act 12 of 2005.]

25. Minister may revoke cancellation of warrant.

(1) In any case in which a notary's warrant shall have been withdrawn or cancelled under the provisions of this Ordinance, the Minister may make an order revoking such withdrawal or cancellation, and issue a fresh warrant authorising him to practice within the area in which he was practicing immediately preceding such withdrawal or cancellation or within some other area.

(2) Notice of revocation—

Notice of such order shall be given in the Gazette, and a copy thereof shall be transmitted, by the Secretary to the Ministry, to the High Court Judge having jurisdiction over the area specified in the fresh warrant issued under subsection (1) of this section, and to the several District Judges, Judges of the Family Courts and the Judges of the Primary Courts having jurisdiction within the said area and to the Registrar-General.

[S 25(2) subs by s 9 of Law 20 of 1976.]

26. Restoration to or insertion in, the roll of notaries of the notary's name.

(1) Upon receipt of a notice transmitted under section 25(2) by a High Court Judge, he shall, if the notary's fresh warrant is produced before him, restore to, or insert in, the roll of notaries such notary's name.

(2) The High Court Judge restoring to, or inserting in, the roll of notaries the name of a notary shall require fresh security to be provided by such notary in terms of section 12.

(3) Every notary, whose name has been restored to, or inserted in, the roll of notaries under subsection (1) of this section and who has furnished fresh security in terms of section 12 shall be entitled to execute the office of a notary in conformity with the authority given to him by his fresh warrant.

27. Certificates to be granted yearly to notaries by Registrar of the high court.

(1) It shall be the duty of every Registrar of the High Court in every zone, on the application of any person entitled to practice as a notary within the jurisdiction of such court, to issue to him a certificate that such person is a notary and duly authorised to practice as such therein.

(2) All such certificates shall be applied for and granted on or before the first day of March in every year, and shall be in force for one year and no longer:

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