The Ministry of Law and Justice has notified the Draft Notaries (Amendment) Bill for stakeholders' consultation as a part of the pre-legislative consultation process.

The Draft Bill proposes to amend the Notaries Act, 1952 to restrict the overall term of Notaries for a period upto fifteen years i.e. the initial term of five years and two renewal terms of five years each.

A press release of the Ministry of Law and Justice states that "It is felt that an opportunity needs to be given to young eligible legal practitioners who are aspiring to serve as Notary Public which may help them to build up their professional excellence by which they can provide legal services in a more effective manner."

As per the existing law, the Notaries Act, 1952, the number of terms of renewal of certificates of practice of a Notary is unrestricted after the initial appointment.

The draft Bill proposes to add a proviso to Section 5 of the Notaries Act to provide that no application for renewal of the certificate of practice of any notary shall be considered for more than two terms of five years each, after the initial appointment of five years.

However, the proposed proviso clarifies that the applications received prior to coming into force of the amendment or certificates of renewal granted prior to the amendment will not be affected.

In addition to the modification of the terms of renewal, the draft Bill also proposes to amend the Act by adding Section 8A to provide for the digitalization of notarial work.

The proposed Section 8A provides that the records of notorial work undertaken by Notaries shall also be maintained by the Notary in digital format as prescribed.

The proposed Section 9A will provide for the suspension of the certificate of practice, if the Notary is involved in professional or other misconduct.

Click here to read/download the draft Notaries (Amendment) Bill, 2021