Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court suspends all cases

The Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court has announced that it has suspended all ongoing cases following an injunction issued by the High Court on Sunday halting the trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed.

The High Court granted the temporary injunction or stay of the former President’s trial pending a ruling on procedural points raised by Nasheed’s legal team, which included the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

In its announcement on Monday, the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court said it has suspended proceedings on cases involving marriage, divorce, guardianship, family matters, property lawsuits, civil cases, criminal cases involving extension of detention periods as well as other matters that could be affected by the questions raised over its legal status.

Meanwhile, at Sunday’s hearing of Nasheed’s appeal at the High Court, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) revealed that it had filed a case at the Supreme Court to determine the legitimacy of the court.

Writing in his personal blog last month, Independent MP Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed explained that a magistrate court could not legally be established at Hulhumale’.

The Judicature Act states that magistrate courts should be set up in inhabited islands aside from Male’ without a division of the trial courts (Criminal Court, Civil Court, Family Court and Juvenile Court).

According to appendix two of the constitution, Hulhumale’ is a district or ward of Male’ and not a separate inhabited island. The former magistrate court at Hulhumale’ – controversially set up by the JSC before the enactment of the Judicature Act in October 2010 – should therefore have been dissolved when the Judicature Act was ratified.

Meanwhile, local media reported yesterday (November 5) that the Supreme Court ordered the Civil Court to send over all files and documents on a case submitted by a lawyer, Ismail Visham, over a year ago challenging the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

The Supreme Court had issued a writ of mandamus ordering the lower court to suspend its hearings and had taken over the case. The apex court had however not conducted any hearings on the case.

A court official told local media that a hearing on the case of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court’s legal status has not been scheduled.