Power of Attorney for India - Where can I buy Stamped Paper?

Stamped Paper for the Power of Attorney for India

Many clients who wish to appoint someone to act on their behalf in India, especially for property related transactions, normally appoint that person through a general power of attorney or special power of attorney. If they were to prepare and sign a power of a power of attorney in India, the power of attorney would normally be prepared on stamped paper. Stamped paper is a form of 'pre-paid' tax or duty and would normally be available from government offices or licensed vendors/suppliers in the state that is relevant to the property or the transaction. However, if you are in Australia and need to appoint someone to act on your behalf in India, what do you do?

The general advice for clients who are in Australia and who need to appoint someone to act on their behalf in India is to have the power of attorney prepared for them in India (preferably by a lawyer or someone who knows what is required so that the document will be legally valid in India). Whether they then print that power of attorney on stamped paper and send the original hard copy to you or they just email a copy of the power of attorney to you is a question of logistics.

Since the power of attorney attracts stamp duty in India, duty will eventually need to be paid and so using stamped paper is one way of ensuring that this requirement is satisfied. The trouble with preparing the power of attorney on stamped paper is that the stamped paper will need to be purchased in India. The delivery time and cost of sending that stamped paper from India (whether the contents of the power of attorney have been printed on it or not) may mean this is option is relatively expensive and involves substantial delays - especially when compared to the option of just emailing the document.

In fact, while many clients have their original power of attorney printed on stamped paper sent to them by their lawyers in India, more and more clients are relying on the internet or email to receive documents - especially the power of attorney. These days it is quite common for clients to receive an email from their lawyer in India (or in many cases it is their bank) containing the contents of the power of attorney. Those clients then print the power of attorney on normal A4 paper, which is the standard paper used in Australia.

Most cases require the power of attorney signed in Australia but used in India to be notarised and sometimes it also needs to be legalised (involving an apostille from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and stamping from VFS/Indian Consulate). Section 18 of the Indian Stamp Act 1899 provides that 'every instrument chargeable with duty executed only out of India and not being a bill of exchange or promissory note, may be stamped within three months after it has been first received in India.' This means that if the power of attorney was NOT printed on stamped paper, the duty must be paid after the power of attorney arrives in India. Unlike stamped paper which is 'pre-paid', stamping on a document that is not printed on stamped paper is 'post-paid'.

Edit 2017 (see updated video)

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This blog is supported and maintained by . Phang Legal is a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. With offices conveniently located in Parramatta, Phang Legal supports and services the Indian community across Sydney with readily available and easily accessible notary public services at highly competitive rates.

For more information regarding notary public services for documents going to India, view our notary publications at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/jurisdiction/india-notary/.

Frequently asked questions regarding our notary public services can also be found at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/faqs/.

For Hindi to English translation services by NAATI accredited translators, see https://hindi-naati-translation.blogspot.com.au/.

Ern Phang
Notary Public

Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public, including the kinds of problems and solutions that his clients face when sending documents to India.

IMPORTANT: the information in this article is correct at the time of publication, however the law constantly changes. This means you should always refer to the most recent articles because we try to update this blog on a regular basis with the most current information.