Highlights of Ministers of Justice Summit of SCO
The Seventh Meeting of Ministers of Justice of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States was hosted on October 16, 2020. It was hosted by Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law & Justice, Communication and Electronics & Information Technology.
- The minister highlighted the initiatives taken by the Indian Government under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for providing affordable and easy access to justice for all.
- As part of activities of Justice Ministers’ Forum, the Minister urged SCO Member States to promote exchange of ideas, best practices and experiences in identified areas .
- SCO Member States also discussed the importance of promoting alternative dispute resolution mechanism.
Initiatives that India took
- Pro Bono Legal Services – This was launched in order to provide free legal aid to marginalized sections of the society.
- Tele-Law services initiated – This initiative was launched in 2017. Under this initiative legal aid is provided to the poor people through video conferences. Over 3 lakh 44 thousand free legal consultations have been given to poor people through video conference so far.
- E-Courts project and Virtual Courts– Under this, During COVID19 pandemic, over 25 Lakh hearings took place through video conference at various courts of India. The supreme court alone disposed off nine thousand virtual hearings.
Features of Joint Statement
- To strengthen the implementation of the Agreement on Cooperation between the Ministries of Justice.
- To work for the implementation of the Action Plans of the working groups of experts on forensic activities and legal services.
- To organise exchange programs for representatives of the ministries in order to study the best practices of dispute resolution.
- To discuss the parties’ positions on the issues of mutual legal assistance and development of legal services.
- To develop cooperation with the ministries of justice of the SCO observer and partner states.
- To develop an online platform for the exchange of legal information.