The Supreme Court will host the 18th meeting of the chief justices of the Supreme Courts of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states here from March 10 to 12 with a view to developing judicial cooperation among them. Though Pakistan is a member of the SCO, reliable sources said no delegation from the neighbouring country will attend the meeting.
According to a press statement issued by the apex court, the Chief Justices or Chairpersons of the Supreme Courts of SCO member states have been invited to attend the meeting. The meeting is likely to witness discussions on ‘Smart Courts’ and the future of the Judiciary; Facilitating ‘Access to Justice’; Institutional Challenges facing Judiciary: Delays, Infrastructure, Representation, and Transparency, it said.
The release said the meeting will involve a joint interaction with the Chief Justices/Chairpersons/Judges from the member/observer States and representatives from SCO secretariat and will conclude with the signing of a joint statement. ”In the active and constantly expanding activities of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the interaction of the highest judicial instances is becoming more and more popular,” the statement said. It added the SCO was created in 2001 on the basis of ”Shanghai five” formed by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia and Tajikistan and its main goal is to strengthen mutual trust, friendship and good neighbourliness, encouraging effective cooperation in several areas among the member states. The SCO members now include China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia constitute the SCO observers while Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodiaand Nepal are the SCO dialogue partners.
”Meeting of the Presidents of the Supreme Courts allows for a constant dialogue on a wide range of issues, giving a new impetus to the development of relations and allowing the development of mechanisms for further improving the work of the judiciary,” it said, adding the first such meeting was held on September 22, 2006 in Shanghai. ”Since then, the Institute of interaction between the Chief Justices of the Supreme Courts has occupied a special place in the Organization, significantly complementing an established unique practice of cooperation…India assumed rotational presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization for a year in September 2022 through the Samarkand declaration last year,” it said. The apex court press statement said Indian participation in the meeting will include the Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud, and Supreme Court judges Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph, among others.