President Abdulla Yameen has appointed Supreme Court Justice Abdulla Saeed as the Maldives’ new Chief Justice within an hour of Majlis unanimously approving him for the position.
Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs staged a walk out prior to the vote, accusing the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) of burying the country’s 2008 democratic constitution.
MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy described the PPM and its coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) as “enemies of democracy bent on taking revenge on the people after having assumed power through brute force.”
Tonight’s extraordinary session at 9pm followed an extraordinary morning session during which a two-third majority of MPs voted out incumbent Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz and Justice Muthasim Adnan.
Speaking to local media today, Faiz condemned the Majlis vote as unconstitutional, and said the move raises doubts over the separation of powers and the continuation of judicial independence in the Maldives
“Today will be written down as a black day in the constitutional history of the Maldives. I state this is a black day for the constitution. Taking such a vote against the constitution is, I believe, disrespectful to the constitution,” he said.
Faiz and Muthasim were voted out after the Majlis amended the Judicature Act to reduce the seven-member Supreme Court bench to five judges.
The ruling coalition maintains the move will strengthen the judiciary and facilitate judicial reform.
Former President Mohamed Nasheed had appointed Faiz as the country’s first Chief Justice in 2010, days after he ordered the army to lock up the Supreme Court premises when the interim Supreme Court bench illegally declared themselves judges for life.
Faiz and Muthasim have formed the dissenting opinion in several controversial cases, including the decision to annul the first round of presidential polls in September 2010.
“Dismissal of a country’s Chief Justice against the constitution is no small matter,” Faiz told CNM today, adding “MPs are mandated to uphold democracy. But today there are doubts over how they perceive democracy.”
Faiz said he had decided not to speak in his defense prior to the vote due to conflict of interest and because he did not want politicians to benefit from any of his statements.
Muthasim was the only Supreme Court Judge with a background in common law.
New Chief Justice
Saeed, who served as the Chief Justice of the Maldives’ first interim Supreme Court from 2008 – 2010, was voted in with 55 votes.
Jumhooree Party (JP) MPs Gasim Ibrahim and Hussain Mohamed voted for Saeed despite having opposed Faiz and Adnan’s removal this afternoon. JP MPs Ali Hussein and Abdulla Riyaz, who had voted against the two judges’ dismissal, did not participate in the vote.
The watchdog Judicial Services Commission (JSC) had recommended that the two judges be dismissed for gross misconduct and incompetence on Thursday. But details of the ruling or evaluation criteria have not been made available to MPs or the public yet.
The seven member Civil Court last night declared the Judicature Act amendment unconstitutional and said it could “destroy judicial independence” in the Maldives.
PPM MP Riyaz Rasheed said Saeed’s appointment would strengthen the judiciary and facilitate judicial reform as MDP had advocated for.
He described Saeed as an educated and capable candidate with a master in Shari’ah and law. Saeed had also committed the Qur’an to memory, Riyaz claimed.
Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed, implicated in a series of sex tapes, administered Saeed’s oath of office.
10 thoughts on “Abdulla Saeed appointed as new Chief Justice, dismissed Justice Faiz laments “black day””
"Saeed had also committed the Qur’an to memory"
If this is a sufficient condition to uphold law and democracy in the country, then God help the Maldives!
I'm no fan of the dismissed Chief Justice Faiz. After all, he had his hand in the overthrow of the first democratically elected government of the Maldives. But the manner in which Justices Adnan and Faiz were dismissed clearly is as undemocratic as it gets.
Maldives is fast becoming the next Zimbabwe!
Hmm, isn't the black, short fat guy in the middle the same chap who was seen in those "porn" videos?
Who would have thought that this country follows Allah's religion!
Sri Lanka is a close neighbour of Maldives and a big influence on Maldivian culture.
The current president of Sri Lanka, Mr Rajapaksa, is a democratically elected populist leader and authoritarian ruler.
Rajapaksa and his Parliament dismissed the Sri Lankan Chief Justice who came from the famous Bandaranayaka family.
Bandaranayaka had become too independent of Rajapaksa. So she was removed.
The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka passed a resolution condemning the government's move, but a new Chief Judge chosen by the government was sworn in to head the Supreme Court.
The Chief Justice of Maldives has been summarily dismissed, but there has not been any protest from his Supreme Court colleagues.
The dismissed Chief Justice, because he was the leader of the Supreme Court, must share any blame along with the other Justices, for anything wrong they did as a team.
I do not think that the dismissed Chief Judge was an angel. He looked to me like somebody without much clout and backbone.
Most notably, he seems to have been dismissed for his dissent from the majority verdicts.
As for the other judge, he seems to have been punished also for his dissenting judgements.
Voices of dissent in verdicts of the Justices are important elements of a democracy. Flushing out the dissenting voices are hallmarks of an autocratic state.
Democracy in the Maldives has suffered a blow at the hands of Gayoom family.
Now we see the difference between Anni and Yameen.
One was interested in Worldly pleasures, while the other systematically plays kings gambit chess, with the politics.
One is an amateur, while the other is a professional strategist.
All praise be to God, who plans best and out-smarts all other man-made strategies. God has favoured president YAG, over his competitor. No one can go against Gods plans.
Mashallah, finally we rid of Nasheed corruption. Next MDP must investigate.
The PPM had its focus firmly on the ball, ie, to manipulate the judicial process to their advantage.
The MDP has its focus mainly on the Ali Hameed, ie on a different ball (no pun)
Its takes more strategy and tactics than Ali Hameed jokes for MDP.
Now the 3 powers are de-separatated and is in the hands of the ruling administration. On the positive side, it has made the president very strong and able to bring stability to Maldives.
On the negative side, all 3 powers may falls into wrong hands such as
a) some puppet propped by a foreign state
b) an extremist Islamic cleric
c) a megalomaniac businessman
d) some drug load
e) a renegade general
Now the opposition MDP has a bigger challenge. One hopes MDP is organized and clever enough to win the next Majlis election with a good majority.
Thats a tall order, but doable.
At least now we can this will reduce direct influence on Muthasim Adan by Nasheed.
Also hope that similar way, parliamentarian numbers also get reduced to 30 members from next election.
I bet you could get the same number of grade 8 honor roll students from the U.S. and they would still have higher academic abilities and achievements than this group of judges. What a bunch of hacks these guys are with their "masters in shariah". hahaha!
Interesting experiment, give the grade 8 students and the judges the same standardized tests (math, natural science, geography, law, history) and see who comes out on top.
"Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed, implicated in a series of sex tapes, administered Saeed’s oath of office."
The grandest of decorations to the wonderfully baked cake some heroes now can split and eat!
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