orissa high court

Orissa High Court: While hearing a criminal petition filed by a husband (petitioner), wherein the husband was alleging that his wife’s parents (opposite parties) had confined his wife and were not allowing her to meet him, the Division Bench of S.K. Sahoo and Sibo Sankar Mishra, JJ. noted that a marriage declaration document was prepared by a Notary Public, signed by both the husband and wife on 19-04-2023. The Bench was vexed that Notaries are issuing marriage declaration documents outside the ambit of their powers.

The Court found that the marriage declaration document had mentioned that the petitioner had married his wife on 19-04-2023 in the presence of friends, relatives and well-wishers and place of marriage was also mentioned. The said document also mentioned that both the parties to the marriage were leading a very happy and peaceful conjugal life after the marriage. The Court also noted that there was no legal document or other valid proof of marriage.

The Court stated that “time and again the Courts across the country have echoed it in identical voice that Notaries are neither authorized to issue marriage certificates 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 referred to Rohit Kumar Behera v. State of Odisha, 2021 SCC OnLine Ori 1482, wherein a marriage certificate issued by a Notary was rejected from being accepted. Further, the Court referred to Mukesh v. State of M.P.1, wherein, took serious note of illegal practices by the Notaries and directed the Principal Secretary, Department of Law to issue necessary directions to restrain the Notaries from issuing marriage certificates.

The Court observed that the Notaries were not abstaining themselves from issuing marriage certificates, and these certificates have absolutely no value in the eyes of law and without any valid proof of marriage, they are allowing execution of declaration of marriage between the parties which have far-reaching consequences. Further, the Court said that due to such extra-legal and dishonest arrangements by the Notaries, parties are made to believe that they are legally married when in fact their marriage does not have even the slightest of legal sanctity.

Therefore, the Court directed the Inspector-in-charge, Balasore Town Police Station to intimate the Notary Public, Simulia, Balasore, who issued the marriage document, in writing to appear before the Court in person on 26-09-2023 and apprise the Court as to on what basis he allowed the execution of marriage declaration document before him and under what authority he has attested such document.

[Partha Sarathi Das v. State of Odisha, 2023 SCC OnLine Ori 5657, Order Dated: 14-09-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the petitioner: Advocate P.C. Dash

For the respondent: Additional Government Advocate Saswata Patnaik

*Deeksha Dabas, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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