Law amended to prevent passports being held without court orders

Parliament has passed an amendment altering the immigration law to prevent the holding of passports without a court order.

The amendment was submitted by ruling Progressive Party of Maldives MP Ibrahim Riza, and was passed by a total of 65 votes.

Under the amendment, Article 5(b) of the Immigration Act has been made void.

Article 5(b) of the current Immigration Act stipulates that a passport can be held for a maximum of seven days on request of the police authorities even without a court order. If passports are to be held for a period extending seven days, it must be done so under a court order.

A police media official stated that the change in law will not present any difficulties to the services as their normal procedure is to obtain court orders before requesting that any passports be held or travel bans imposed.