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Notary not authorized to perform marriage or grant divorce: MP High Court

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“The job of the Notary is defined under the Notary Act. He is not supposed to perform the marriage by executing documents. Neither the Notary is authorized to perform the marriage nor competent to execute the divorce deed.”

The Madhya Pradesh High Court made the above observation recently while calling for strict guidelines, “to be issued to the notaries and oath commissioners for not executing such type of deed, failing which their license would be terminated”.

The single bench of Justice Vivek Rusia was hearing a regular bail plea filed by the applicant Mukesh, who was arrested for offences punishable under Section 420, 467 and 468/34 of the IPC.

The complainant, Jitendra, submitted a written complaint in Police Station Jaora City on September 16, 2020 against Gayatribai, Nageshwar, and Omprakash alleging that with the common intention, they performed Jitendra’s marriage with Gayatribai, but after 5-6 days of marriage, Gayatribai fled from his house with all her belongings. Jitendra gave Rs 1,50,000 to the applicant for the marriage and when he enquired about Gayatribai from the applicant, the applicant threatened to falsely implicate him in a rape case.

During the investigation, the police recovered stamp papers and arrested Gayatribai, Nageshwar and Omprakash and recorded their statements u/s. 27 of the Evidence Act.

The counsel for the applicant submitted that the applicant has been falsely implicated in the case. The applicant is in custody since September 16, 2020 and he had only introduced Gayatribai to the complainant for marriage and thereafter, he does not know whereabouts of Gayatribai. Applicant not aware of the past antecedents of Gayatribai, hence the applicant is entitled to bail, claimed the counsel.

The State Counsel stated that the applicant took Rs 1,50,000 from the complainant through notary who is not authorized to perform the marriage. The applicant has signed on the marriage agreement as a witness therefore he is not entitled to bail.

The Court noted,

“Had he (applicant) properly guided and refused to execute the marriage agreement to the complainant, then the present offence would not have been committed. The Law Department of the State is required to look into these matters as to how Notaries and Oath Commissioners are involving themselves in executing the document in respect of the marriage, divorce, etc, which are not permissible under the law.”

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The Court remarked, “Not only the accused persons who conspired in performing the forged marriage of the complainant, but the notary who executed the marriage agreement is also equally responsible in this case, ” while granting bail to the applicant upon furnishing a personal bond of the sum of Rs 50,000 with one surety of the like amount.

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