Home department is headed by a principal secretary. It is an interior ministry mainly responsible for the maintenance of internal security and domestic policy. For purposes of authentication of documents, the HRD ministry delegated the responsibility to the respective Home Departments of each state after 2005.
It is the critical initial step of attestation. All the documents meant for attestation / apostille must be attested by the home department. Out of this 80% of the documents are attested by the Maharashtra Home Department. Otherwise known as Mantralaya. The main reason of this being that Mantralaya has been a point for attestation from the very beginning. The ease and acceptability of Mantralaya attestation at many embassies make it a popular choice.
For Indian consulate attestation, the home department of the state, where the document originated, its attestation must be obtained and is compulsory.
Earlier in the late 90s and early 2000s instead of Home Department attestation, HRD attestation from New Delhi was the norm.
With the onset of globalization and increased outflow of Indian migrants, the HRD ministry of New Delhi delegated this responsibility to the respective Home Departments of each state. Hence HRD attestation from New Delhi is no longer required but instead Home Departments Attestation is required but the name still remains.
In case of UAE and Oman; state Home Department Attestation is not necessary but in case of Saudi Arabia, it is compulsory where the HRD Ministry in New Delhi delegated this responsibility to the respective Home Departments of each state, an exception was made in the case of 2 states namely Kerala and Karnataka.
In both these states the concerned Home Department created a special department called as Regional Authentication Centers or RAC. The RAC of Kerala is called as NORKA Roots.
The procedure and time frame for Home Department Attestation varies from state to state for e.g. Documents originating from Tamil Nadu go to the university for verification and depending upon the university and age of the certificate time frames may vary.
In case of Kerala, usually the documents are attested and returned on the same day.
In some cases even the money (to be paid as a DD) will vary again depending upon the age of the Document and the university. For e.g. Maharashtra.