The Ninth Meeting of Ministers of Justice of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States was represented by Shri Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of Law & Justice today along with Prof. S.P. Singh Baghel, Minister of State in the Ministry of Law & Justice.
Earlier, Shri Rajveer Singh Verma, Additional Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice represented the third meeting of the Experts Working Group on 7th December, 2022 along with senior officers of the Government.
The meetings were conducted through Video Conferencing mode.
The meeting was attended by Minister of Law & Justice of the Republic of India, Kiren Rijiju, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mukanova Alma Kairatovna, Minister of Justice of the People’s Republic of China, Tan Yijun, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic, Baktiyar Saipidinovich Orozov, Minister of Law and Justice of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Senator Azam Nazir Tarar, First Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation, Evgeny Leonidovich Zabarchuk, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Tajikistan, Ashurien Muzaffar Kurbonmukhammad and Minister of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Tashkent Akbar Dzhurabayevich. The meeting was also attended by Deputy Secretary General of the SCO Ashimov Erik Sarsebekovich.
Addressing the eminent gathering of Ministers of Justice from SCO Member States, Shri Kiren Rijiju, Hon’ble Minister of Law & Justice, emphasized that this Session was of special significance as SCO had completed 21 years of its creation since 15 June 2001 and India was also celebrating “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” an initiative of the Government of India to commemorate 75 years of independence and the glorious history of its people, culture and achievements. It commensurates with the spirit of SCO, as it had been established with the aim of strengthening mutual trust and respect among the Member States. SCO pursues its internal policy based on the principles of mutual trust and benefit, equal rights, consultations, respect for the diversity of cultures and aspiration towards common development.
He mentioned the e-Courts Project, conceptualized as a Mission Mode Project of the Government of India, as a part of the National e-Governance Plan based on the “National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology in the Indian Judiciary”, established after long-standing efforts on the parts of our government during the difficult times of Covid 19 Pandemic and helped the courts to perform all the task of Justice Delivery in virtual mode. The project is under implementation since 2007 under the joint partnership of Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India and the e-Committee of the Supreme Court of India. It is aimed at transforming the judicial system of the country by ICT enablement of courts and enhance the judicial productivity, both qualitatively and quantitatively for making the justice delivery system accessible, cost effective, transparent, accountable, efficient and time bound. The services under the project cater to all key stakeholders including the judiciary, High Courts, The District & Subordinate Courts and the citizens/litigants/lawyers/advocates.
He also highlighted Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism, which offer a faster, transparent and accessible option to the citizens of the country. In fact, they were one of the major factors to achieve “Ease of Doing Business” by improving dispute resolution with regard to contract enforcement among the national or global stakeholders. Another very important ADR mechanism is Mediation. Mediation is a voluntary dispute resolution process. To have a consolidated law on mediation, the Government of India has introduced the Mediation Bill, 2021 in the Parliament. He apprised the gathering of the high priority, the Government has accorded to resolving disputes through ADR; framing business facilitating laws and rules, including Commercial Courts Act and Arbitration Laws with a view to make India a preferred destination for investment and businesses.
As part of activities of Justice Ministers’ Forum, the Minister congratulated all Ministers of the SCO Member States for their efforts towards achieving the goals of the SCO and assured India’s full cooperation in the future as well. Also, in this emerging era of digitization and new possibilities, He called upon all the SCO partners to commit to promote technology in all fields and adopting, developing new mechanisms like ADRs in the Legal System of all the SCO Member States. Earlier, the Experts Working Group discussed issues related to the provision of legal services to individuals and/or legal entities, and stressed on the need of the development of information technologies in the provision of services.
Emphasizing the mutual understanding reached on the development of the legal systems of the SCO Member States, taking into account the agreements and tasks provided for in the SCO Development Strategy until 2025, the Ministers of (Law and) Justice of the SCO Member States declare the following:
1. To carry out interaction between the Ministries of (Law and) Justice of the SCO Member States, contributing to the preservation and expansion of mutual trust, good-neighborliness and friendship between the SCO Member States.
2. To continue work on the implementation of the Cooperation Agreement between the Ministries of Law and Justice of the SCO Member States, signed in Dushanbe on August 18, 2015.
3. To continue strengthening cooperation between the Ministries of (Law and) Justice of the SCO member States in order to promote the development of legal systems.
4. To organize mutual visits of representatives of the Ministries (Law and) Justice of the SCO Member States, hold SCO regional conferences, bilateral symposiums, seminars, workshops and joint courses on topical legal issues and exchange experience in this field.
5. To continue the activities of Expert Working Groups on forensic expertise and legal services.
The Ministers of (Law and ) Justice and senior officials / experts from the Ministries of Law & Justice of India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan participated in the three days’ deliberations. The next Meeting of the Ministers of Justice of the SCO Member States will be held in 2023 in the People’s Republic of China.