Apostillation: An Apostille is a stamp of approval to authenticate the signature of the public official who has certified that the documents presented are true and correct. The Apostille then validates that the signature originates from an individual who has the authority to certify the original documents. The Apostilled documents can then be considered as legal within any other member state. A member state being a country that prescribes to the Hague Convention.
India, since 2005, is a member of the Hague Convention that abolished the requirement of legalization of foreign public documents. Apostille is acceptable in 117 member-countries of the Convention. Apostille is done for personal documents like birth/death/marriage certificates, Affidavits, Power of Attorney, etc. and educational documents like degree, diploma, matriculation and secondary level certificates etc. Any document Apostilled in one member country is acceptable in all the other member-countries, thus greatly simplifying the process of attestation by making it needless to get the documents attested in each or for each of the countries separately.
Need of Apostillation:
Notarisation: Notary public (or notary or public notary) is a public officer constituted by law to serve the public usually concerned with deeds, powers-of-attorney, and foreign and international business; to administer oaths and affirmations, take affidavits and statutory declarations, witness and authenticate the execution of certain classes of documents, take acknowledgments of deeds and other conveyances, protest notes and bills of exchange, provide notice of foreign drafts and notarial copies, and perform certain other official acts depending on the jurisdiction. Any such act is known as a notarisation.
Thus apostillation simplifies the process of legalisation of documents all over the world. However it might still be considered as clumsy, time consuming and not so economical for common man.