On October 16, 2020, the seventh meeting of Ministers of (Law and) Justice of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States was virtually hosted by Indian Minister of Law & Justice, Communication and Electronics & Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, which saw the adoption of Joint statement by SCO member states..
- The Indian side urged the SCO Member States to promote exchange of ideas, best practices and experiences in identified areas through the platform.
- Notably, prior to this meet, i.e. on October 13-14, 2020, Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice also hosted the 2nd meeting of the Experts Working Group (EWC) where discussion were held to promote resolution of disputes and other related activities of the Ministries of (Law and) Justice including legal services and forensic activities.
Key Points from Joint Statement:
–Implementation of the Agreement on Cooperation between the Ministries of Justice of the SCO Member States (Dushanbe, 18 August 2015).
–To continue the work on implementation of the Action Plans of the EWCs on forensic activities and legal services for 2018-2020, as well as to develop Action Plans for 2021-2023.
–Organization of exchange programs for representatives of the ministries (law and justice of the SCO member-states) to develop cooperation.
–Continue efforts to develop an online platform for the exchange of legal information, taking into account national laws.
Efforts of India highlighted during Meet:
The Indian side highlighted the initiatives taken by the Indian Government for providing affordable and easy access to justice for all which are.
- Initiation Pro Bono Legal Services to provide free legal aid to marginalized sections of the society.
- Initiation of Tele-Law services in 2017 under which 3.44 Lakh free legal consultations have been given to poor people through video conferencing.
- e-Courts projects with Video-Conferencing facility and rolling out of Virtual Courts.
- During COVID19 pandemic over 25 Lakh hearings through video conference have taken place at various courts of India, out of which 9,000 virtual hearings have taken place at the Supreme Court alone.
Participants: The Ministers and senior officials from the Ministries of Law & Justice from Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan participated in the Justice Minister Meeting.
- The Keynote address and Closing Remarks were delivered by Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, Secretary.
A First Expert Group Preparatory Meeting through video-conferencing will be held October 17 and 18.
Recent Related News:
i.Union Minister Dr. SubrahmanyamJaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had a four-days visit to Russia from September 8-11, 22 to attend the SCO-CFM (Council of Foreign Ministers) Meeting in Moscow.
ii.On July 24, 2020 Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan participated digitally in the SCO Health Minister’s Digital Meet at Nirman Bhawan, Delhi. The meeting was chaired by Mikhail Murashko, Minister of Health of the Russian Federation.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):
The SCO comprises eight member states — India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan; four Observer States (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia); and six “Dialogue Partners” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey).
Secretariat– Beijing, China
Secretary-General– Vladimir Imamovich Norov