Supreme Court rules after High Court on council office relocations

The Supreme Court yesterday ruled against orders issued by Magistrate Courts in Maafushi and Nilandhoo that called for atoll councilors to move the premises of their secretariat offices back to their islands.

Haveeru reported that the decision of the Supreme Court followed the earlier verdict of the nation’s High Court backing temporary orders issued by local Magistrates in support of Kaafu Atoll councilors who opted to move their offices in Maafushi to Thulusdhoo without government approval. The High Court had also ruled in favour of council counterparts in Shaviyani Atoll, who wished to move their own office from Maafushi to Thulusdhoo.

In the ruling, judges were said to have ruled unanimously against the Maafushi and Nilandhoo Magistrates Court claiming that rulings that contradict previous judgments made at national courts of the same level were invalid.

According to the paper, judges added that the three levels of courts in the nation were a vital means of guaranteeing law and order and no court was allowed to intervene in the “special jurisdictions” of another legal institution at the same level.

The issue of relocating offices and the powers of local councils formed during local elections last month has proved to be a particularly divisive issue this week for the country’s politicians and courts, with the country’s police service also being drawn into the dispute.

Correction: The article has been amended from its original form that incorrectly stated that the Supreme Court had ruled against the High Court. Minivan News apologises for the error.