The Gazette of India or ‘Bharat ka Rajpatra’ is the official publication of the Central Government, while on the other hand, every state governments have their respective State Gazette as the official publication of that particular state. Gazetted officers are those officers whose names must be published in either the Gazette of India (when he is appointed by the President of India) or the Gazette of any state (when he is appointed by the Governor of State).
The gazetted officers are appointed by the President of India for the national-level services, while the Governor of a state appoints gazetted officers for the state-level services. Gazetted officers are the top-ranked executive officers, who enjoy the powers and authority either from the President of India or from the Governors of the States.
Before moving to the question of whether a Notary is a gazetted officer or not, let’s first have a clear understanding of who is a notary?
Notary or Notary public is a person appointed by the government to perform certain legal functions in a particular area, these functions commonly include to verify, authenticate, certify or attest the execution of any document. A Notary can also administer oaths or take affidavits from any person. Section 3 of the Notaries Act, 1952 gives power to both the Central and the State Governments to appoint notaries to perform such functions.
Who Can Be A Notary?
As per the provisions of Section 3 of the Notaries Act, 1952, The Central Government can appoint a person as the Notary for whole or any part of India, likewise, the state government too can appoint a person as the Notary for whole or any part of that particular state. However, a person must have to possess any of the following qualifications to be eligible for the appointment as a notary, as required in Section 3 of the Notaries Rules, 1956.
(a) He has been practicing as a lawyer for at least ten years. However, seven years of practicing experience is enough for women and persons belonging to the SC, ST, or OBC category.
(b) He/she has been a member of the Indian Legal Service under the Central Government.
(c) He/she has been a member of Judicial Service for at least ten years.
(d) He/she must have held office under the Central or State government requiring special knowledge of law after enrolment as an advocate for at least ten years.
(c) He/she must have held office in the department of Judge, Advocate General, or in the legal department of the armed force for at least ten years.
Is Notary A Gazetted Officer?
Section 6 of the Notaries Act, 1956 states that the Central government and state government at the beginning of each year will publish the list of notaries appointed by that government in the official gazette.
In absence of proper definition for the term ‘Gazetted officer,’ the above provision might seem to us that a notary may be a gazetted officer because his or her name is listed in the official gazette of the government. But the same question ‘is notary a gazetted officer?’ was placed before the Hon’ble High Court of Kerala in the case of Abdul Kadir v. Union of India, where the court observed that “The term Gazetted officer refers to an officer of the State or Central Government with a definite status, A notary is a professional and not an officer of the Government.” The Court in this case also observed that,
“It is not the publication of a person’s name in the official gazette that makes him a gazetted officer, but his occupying a definite official status in the hierarchy of government service”
So, the simplest answer to the question ‘is notary a gazetted officer?’ is No. Notaries are not a gazetted officers. Now coming to the explanation of why notaries are not gazetted officers. First of all, notaries are not officers, rather they are professionals. There are certain differences between an officer and a professional. An officer is a person who occupies a definite status in the hierarchy of government service and is answerable to the government as its employee. But on the other hand, a professional is a person of self-employed, he neither occupies any status in the government service nor is he answerable to the government as its employee.
From the above discussion, we can conclude that a notary is not a gazetted officer. Though the names of notaries need to be published in the official gazette of the government as per the provisions of Section 6 of the Notaries Act, 1952, it does not make him or her a gazetted officer. A Notary is an authorized professional to perform certain functions of an authorized witness.