Parliament deadlock continues

A third consecutive week of parliamentary sittings have been cancelled over an ongoing dispute over the attendance of Independent MP Ismail Abdul Hameed, who was convicted of corruption on August 29.

The last sitting on October 24 was cancelled after heated arguments between opposition and ruling party MPs over the Kaashidhoo MP’s right to participate in sittings until he exhausted the appeal process.

The High Court has since upheld the Criminal Court verdict.

Meanwhile a statement put out by the secretariat on Sunday explained that this week first sitting yesterday was called off as Speaker Abdulla Shahid’s efforts to resolve the dispute through discussions among parliamentary group leaders have been so far been unsuccessful.

The statement noted that according to article 74 of the constitution, “Any question concerning the qualifications or removal, or vacating of seats, of a member of the People’s Majlis shall be determined by the Supreme Court.”

The Supreme Court meanwhile concluded hearings today on a case filed by a private party over Hameed’s seat. According to the Majlis secretariat, Speaker Shahid has written to the Chief Justice requesting the case be expedited so that sittings could go ahead.

According to local media reports, the Supreme Court today heard from third parties who had entered into the case.

The statement however noted that committee meetings, where legislation is reviewed and stakeholders are consulted, have been taking place.