On 8th January 2020, The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued revised guidelines to expedite the delivery of mutual legal assistance and justice in criminal matters with other countries under the government’s policy of zero tolerance for crime at all.
In this regard, India has signed Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with 42 countries in November 2019 for cooperation in criminal matters & the MHA is also designated ‘Central Authority of India’ for it.Key Points:
i.Revised norms: The guidelines, issued in December 2019,are steps to speed up the delivery of justice. The revised guidelines will provide investigative agencies with step-by-step guidelines on drafting and moving request letters, mutual legal aid requests or Letters Rogatory (LR) and summon requests, notices and other judicial documents.
MHA had issued LR in 2007 and service of summons or judicial process on the persons residing abroad in 2009.
ii.Aim: By incorporating various legal and technological developments in recent years, its goal is to make documentation more concise, focused and suited to international needs in this regard. Concerns raised by various courts have also been taken into consideration for fast and timely receipt of documents of people living abroad.
iii.Provision to the Authorities: The revised guidelines will provide investigative agencies for service of documents on authorities of foreign nation within 10 days of receipt of request in respect of offences carried-out against children &women.
iv.Training has also been provided to investigators, prosecutors and judicial officers in mutual legal assistance in criminal matters by the ministry.
v.India is also the signatory of various international conventions like the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).
Mutual Legal Assistance:
It is a mechanism whereby countries cooperate with each another with the aim to provide and obtain formal assistance in prevention, investigation and prosecution of crime to ensure that the criminals do not escape for want of evidence available in various countries.
About Home ministry:
Formed– 15 August 1947
Headquarters– New Delhi
Minister responsible– Amit Shah