Rinzin Wangchuk

The public notary office will be moved to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) premises at Changangkha.

The notary service, which is overwhelmed with visitors, has been functioning from a small two-room unit below the Riverview Hotel in Thimphu where parking space constraint is a huge problem.

People seeking notary services were able to apply online and seek appointments for 11 notary services after the Cabinet Secretariat’s public service and grievances redressal division (PSGRD) handed over the judiciary eServices to the judiciary in August 2017.

The 11 eServices the judiciary, offered from two public notary offices in Thimphu and Mongar are marriage certificates, name change, translation of marriage certificates, lost documents, marital status, attestation of documents, child adoption, organ transplant, the closing of accounts and transfer of shares, child travel documents and attesting agreement, wills, contracts and testaments.

Until the opening of a regional office at the Mongar dzongkhag court in November 2019, notary services were offered by the lone public notary office in the capital.

To enhance access to justice and address difficulties faced by people from far-flung places in availing notary services from the two offices, the Supreme Court issued a circular in June  2021 to decentralise notary services by making them available in all the dzongkhag and drungkhag courts across the country.

“In order to minimise inconvenience faced by the people with regard to notary services, all courts now offer notary services,” the Supreme Court stated in the judiciary annual report 2021. “Notary services have become increasingly important and highly sought-after in recent years, especially with an increasing number of people travelling abroad to both work and study, for which attestation of documents by a recognized notary office is a requirement,” the report stated.

The report stated that the courts across the country offered a total of 10,845 notary services in 2021. Of the total, the courts issued 5,680 marriage certificates, 1,778 attestations of documents, 13 organ transplants and 3,374 affidavits.

The number of notary services availed by the people is expected to increase manifold as the courts were overwhelmed by the people travelling abroad. For instance, the Thimphu notary office alone issued more than 7,900 documents, including 1,609 marriage certificates and 3,653 attestations of documents from January to August this year.

“It is a good move for the judiciary and OAG to shift the existing notary service office to more spacious premises,” one litigant in a civil suit said. “Otherwise, both litigants and people availing notary services will have to park their cars near Lungtenzampa School parking or near Hotel Riverview,” he said.

The Registrar General of the Supreme Court, Drangpon Gembo Dorji said that the notary office is being shifted to the OAG premises to decongest and share costs.