Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT)


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MHA issues revised norms for mutual legal assistance treaties


  • A mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) is an agreement between two or more countries for the purpose of gathering and exchanging information in an effort to enforce public or criminal laws.
  • Under the MLAT, a country can request for obtaining evidence for criminal investigations and prosecutions.
  • The evidence includes witness statements or the service of documents among others.
  • The revised guidelines provide step-by-step guidance to the investigation agencies for drafting and processing letters rogatory or mutual legal assistance requests and service of summons, notices and other judicial documents.
  • India has signed Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) with 42 countries for cooperation in criminal matters.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal Ministry and the Central authority for seeking and providing mutual legal assistance in criminal law matters.
  • Similarly, cases pertaining to civil and commercial matters are required to be taken up with the Ministry of Law & Justice, which finalizes and notifies treaties and arrangements with other countries as per the relevant statutory provisions in the Code of Civil Procedure.
  • Some countries with which India has signed MLAT in criminal matters include USA, Israel, Australia, Canada, UK, Switzerland, UAE, Russia, France, South Korea, Singapore, Spain, Mexico, Egypt, Mauritius, Turkey, Thailand etc.

Prelims Question

Q. With reference to Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. The Home Ministry is the central authority for seeking and providing mutual legal assistance in criminal law matters
2. The Ministry of Law & Justice is the central authority in civil and commercial matters for MLAT
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer to the Prelims Question