25 lakh cases heard virtually by courts across country: Law Minister

His remarks came while hosting a virtual summit of Ministers of Justice of SCO countries

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday said that as many as 25 lakh cases were heard virtually by courts across the country, including 9,000 by the Supreme Court, owing to the curbs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also read: Law Ministry panel bats for more virtual courts

Mr. Prasad made these remarks while hosting a virtual summit of Ministers of Justice of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) countries. He said the Government of India was prioritising framing of laws, including the Commercial Courts Act and Arbitration laws, with the aim of making the nation a preferred investment and business destination.

Ministers of Law and justice from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and an ‘authorised’ representative of Pakistan attended the meet.

A Law Ministry statement said Mr. Prasad highlighted the initiatives taken by the government for providing affordable and easy access to justice for all.

Also Read | Virtual court system in Supreme Court hits a century

“Addressed the Virtual Summit of Ministers of Justice of Shanghai Cooperation Organization & highlighted various initiatives taken by @narendramodi government govt related to Pro Bono Legal services, Tele-Law services, e-Courts etc. to improve access to justice,” Mr. Prasad tweeted.

Free legal consultations

He said that so far 3.44 lakh free legal consultations have been given to poor people through videoconference after Tele-Law services were started in 2017. He highlighted the importance and role of e-courts with videoconferencing facility and the rolling out of virtual courts during the pandemic.

“During the pandemic, over 25 lakh hearings through videoconference have taken place at various courts of India, out of which 9,000 virtual hearings have taken place at the Supreme Court alone,” he was quoted as saying by the Law Ministry.

The Minister urged the SCO member-states to promote exchange of ideas, best practices and experiences in identified areas through the platform of Justice Ministers’ Forum.

Earlier, an Experts Working Group of the SCO member-States deliberated upon the importance of promoting alternative dispute resolution mechanism and legal cooperation among them.

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