The term Self Attestation indicates to certify that a document is true, correct or genuine by signing. Usually, it is in the form of verification by an official who is skilled to affirm the authenticity of a document. Most applications made for education, jobs or services require the production of document copies of the applicants. As it would be impossible to submit original copies of records in order to be verified, another solution would be to get photocopies of the same papers attested by gazetted officers of the government or notary public as the case may be. These officers are licensed to affirm the authenticity of the photocopy of a document after verifying the originals. They issue attestation simply after physically checking the original document and on being convinced that the document is authentic. Such officers do not attest documents that look forged or fake. This prevents persons from submitting fake photocopies for availing several benefits. It also prevents time-loss to the governmental firms in physically verifying every record of applicants who may not be eligible for the profits or programmes.
How Does Attestation Take Place Generally?
Traditionally, a person wanting to get a document attested takes it to either a Notary Public or a Gazetted officer. Gazetted officers are normally government employees of Group A and some posts in Group B. They are authorised by the government to attest documents. After physically validating a document, they affix their signature and rubber stamp on a document’s photocopy as True Copy. Notary Publics are senior advocates designated by either the state or the central governments. They possess the ability to attest documents as well. They too physically verify the original documents and attest documents as True Copies by affixing their signatures and stamps.
What Are the Challenges in Traditional Methods of Attestation?
The traditional method of attestation generates difficulties for many people applying for several programmes. In India, being a populous country, its government officials are immensely overloaded with work. Many government departments are understaffed. This creates a challenging condition for officials to find time to address the attestation needs of the public. Indeed, getting an attestation is a challenging task. As far as notary publics are regarded, they are usually concentrated near Sub-registrar offices and courts. This prevents a vast majority of people especially living in rural areas to avail the services of notaries and to get their documents attested. Getting documents attested continued to be the major challenge before most applicants until a ray of hope was offered by the Government of India promoting Self Attestation.
What Is Self Attestation and Why Self Attest?
Self-Attestation is a method of verification of a document by the applicant himself/herself. It is done by taking a photocopy of a document and then self-certifying by affixing signature on it and writing ‘true copy’ or ‘self-attested’ if required. Self-Attestation empowers the owner of a document to vouch for its authenticity by affirmation. It saves valuable time and resources taken in finding officials who provide attestation and then actually getting them to attest it.
Self Attestation Process in India
Self-Attestation can be done simply by affixing your signature on the photocopy of a document. Make sure that the signature is striking and touching any area of the copied matter. If there are more than one sheets, sign on all the sheets clearly.
Government Approval for Self Attestation
The Government of India decided to make self attestation of documents valid for government-related applications. The Public Grievances and Department of Administrative Reforms took cognizance of the inconveniences faced by the public in getting their documents attested; most of them parting away with the considerable sum of funds by notaries while some facing refusals from gazetted officers. The difficulties so faced by people from villages and in remote areas were also considered.
Under the method of self-attestation, the original documents may be produced at the final stage. This was confirmed in an office memorandum sent to all chief secretaries of the states and union territories administrators. The memorandum also said that self-attestation method is citizen-friendly and compared to the initial way of attestation that costs not only money but also involves wastage of the citizens’ time and the government officials.
The commission requested the government to review the existing requirements of attested copy or affidavit in various application forms in a phased manner and to make provision for self-certification of documents wherever possible, after receiving the approval from competent authorities. Self-attestation, however, will be retained at places where it is a statutory requirement.