Bombay High Court notary held in contempt after signature goof up

Updated: Dec 15, 2017, 12:53 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

The Bombay High Court initiated the action after it was found that advocate Seema Nair affirmed an affidavit without the signature of the deponent

The Bombay High Court has initiated contempt proceedings against a Notary after the court had prima facie found her guilty of not complying with the rules and regulations for affirming a document under the Notary Act.

Representation pic
Representation pic 

A single bench headed by Justice K K Tated was hearing an arbitration case between L&T finance Limited (Plantiff) and Vinson P D and another (Defendants). The discrepancy came to light; during a chamber summons being heard by Justice Tated, who sought explanation from the Notary, advocate Seema Nair, who operates from Kamothe, Navi Mumbai.

Justice Tated in his order (dated November 2, 2017 - copy with this paper) stated that a counsel for Plantiff (L&T Finance Limited), advocate S I Joshi had filed an affidavit of service dated August 12, 2016, duly signed by Nair. In the said affidavit of service, it was stated that Hatim Qubbawala (Deponent), representative of the Plantiff, accepts on solemn affirmation contents of the said affidavit.

The court observed that Hatim had failed to sign the affidavit, and despite that Nair had notarised the same, stating that the deponent signed it before her. "Upon perusal of page no 3 of the said affidavit, it is crystal clear that the notary has affirmed the affidavit without signature of the deponent. This means the notary notarised a blank affidavit," the court observed.

The court further stated, "Considering these facts, it is necessary to issue a notice to the said notary calling for an explanation, as to why action should not be taken against her under the Contempt of Courts Act for notarising a blank affidavit before the Civil courts."

Yesterday the matter came up before Justice Gautam Patel and the high court website stated that the contempt notice has been issued and that the service report is awaited. The matter will be listed in due course.

Advocates speak
Advocate Mikhail Dey, who has been following the case at the Bombay High Court closely said, "It is unfortunate that the notary these days do not follow the procedures laid down as per the Notary Act, and the case is just the tip of the iceberg. The court observation will help streamline the functioning of notaries across the city."

Advocate A P Sreejit said, "It is not very uncommon these days, when the notary in good faith notarises documents without following the laid down procedure. As per the process, the person who signs the affidavit is expected to be present before the notary and sign it before him/her. He/ she has to also sign the register marinated by the notary," he said.

L&T Finance Limited
The company spokesperson said, "Since the matter is subjudice we shall not be commenting on it."

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