India hosts 7th meeting of Ministers of Justice of SCO member states

New Delhi (NVI): Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today hosted the Seventh Meeting of Ministers of Justice of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

The virtual meeting was attended by justice ministers from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, according to a statement by Ministry Of Law and Justice.

The Seventh Session of the Justice Ministers of SCO member states deliberated on areas of cooperation; emphasized the high relevance of mutual exchange of legal information on counteraction to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and acknowledged the need for cooperation in ADR mechanism area, among others, the statement added.

Addressing the gathering, Ravi Shankar Prasad, highlighted the initiatives taken by the Indian Government under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for providing affordable and easy access to justice for all.

He also mentioned initiating Pro Bono Legal Services to provide free legal aid to marginalized sections of the society.

Prasad further highlighted that through Tele-Law services initiated in 2017, so far 3.44 Lakh free legal consultations have been given to poor people through video conferencing. He also spoke about the e-Courts project with video-conferencing facility and rolling out of virtual courts, as part of government’s successful transformative change in process automation from the conventional brick and mortar court architecture.

As part of activities of Justice Ministers’ Forum, the Law Minister urged SCO Member States to promote exchange of ideas, best practices and experiences in identified areas through the platform. He also stressed on widening the spectrum of activities being undertaken in the Forum, in particular and SCO in general.

A Joint Statement following the Results of the Seventh Session of the Ministers of Justice of the SCO Member States was also adopted.

The salient features of the Joint Statement are as under:

1. To strengthen the work on implementation of the Agreement on Cooperation between the Ministries of Justice of the SCO Member States (Dushanbe, 18 August 2015).

2. To continue the work on implementation of the Action Plans of the working groups of experts on forensic activities and legal services for 2018-2020, as well as to develop Action Plans for 2021-2023.

3. Consider organizing exchange programs for representatives of the ministries (law and justice of the SCO member-states) to study the best practices in alternative dispute resolution.

4. To continue discussing the parties’ positions on the issues of mutual legal assistance and development of legal services in accordance with national legislation.

5. Actively develop cooperation with the ministries of justice of the SCO observer and dialogue partner states.

6. Continue efforts to develop an online platform for the exchange of legal information, taking into account national laws.