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End of the attestation routine

Not too long ago, attested copies of certificates had to accompany applications for higher studies. Quite often, attestation by the head of the institute or Principal in place of a gazetted officer was also acceptable.

In this context, a little more than a decade ago I approached the dean, because the Principal had authorised the former to sign for him and attest documents. He instructed me to get the certificates verified in the office. The office staff were expected to cross-check copies with the originals and stamp the verified ones with the Principal’s seal. As I had many copies of multiple documents, the eternally busy staff members had not that much time to spare and insisted that I get them verified by some faculty member and they would later affix the Principal’s seal.

The very first faculty member I requested obliged, although he was busy, and signed each of them, affirming them for attestation. Profusely thanking him, I returned to the office, got them stamped and went to the dean’s office, but for the actual bombshell. Some reshuffling had taken place and on that very day the head of our academic department had been promoted Principal. The dean confessed that the Principal till yesterday had granted him permission to attest on behalf of the Principal, while the new Principal was yet to do so. He suggested that I approach the Principal himself.

Although promoted, he was yet to demit the office of the HoD, so I returned to my department in search of him, found him in the corridors and requested attestation, emphasising that all the documents had been verified. Fortunately, he asked me to follow him to his office and when he was at his office door, a group of students arrived to congratulate him on his promotion. He made it a point to shake hands with each of the students and unassumingly he extended his hand to me too, although I was standing there for an altogether different purpose.

Fed up of the day’s exercise and in a reverie regarding the institute, into which I would make in the days to come, I hastily extended copies of my certificates when he extended his hands expecting to be congratulated. Later, after disambiguation by a friend, a witness to the faux pas, I regretted my haste.

Nevertheless, one of the lesser spoken contribution of the current government is the junking of the troublesome practice of demanding attested copies of certificates for higher studies and jobs, along with the application forms; Narendra Modi did this within days of becoming the prime Minister. Self-attested copies are now sufficient.

Of course, one category of people would certainly be cursing this development. In cases where attestations by heads of private institutions were unacceptable, one had to run around for a gazetted officer and they even used to charge fees to attest documents.

sripathi1@yahoo.com


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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 1:23:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/end-of-the-attestation-routine/article26757847.ece

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