Comment: Call for JSC to explain itself is a JUST cause

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is mandated by Article 285 of the Constitution to determine whether or not the Judges in office at the commencement of the Constitution, possess the qualification of judges specified in Article 149.

The Constitutional deadline for this to take place, August 7, 2010, is now nearly upon us.

Article 285 no doubt provides the country with a unique opportunity to further strengthen the Maldivian Constitution and Democracy by ensuring that the Judiciary and ensure that it is an institution which enjoys the trust and confidence of the Maldivian people.

The successful consolidation of democracy and the protection of Human Rights granted in the second chapter of the Constitution depend on the country not letting this opportunity pass it by.

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on May 11 released a statement specifying the criteria for evaluating the eligibility of judges under Article 149 of the Constitution. The criteria have caused much consternation and concern among various sectors of society. While some have questioned the appropriateness of the educational standard set in the criteria by the Commission, others, including this organisation, have been particularly worried about the Commission’s interpretation of the term ‘high moral character’ stipulated in Article 149 of the Constitution as a necessary attribute for Judges.

According to a press release by the JSC on the 27th 26th of May 2010, the only criterion for evaluating whether a Judge meets the ‘high moral character’ stipulation is whether the Judge has been convicted in a Court of Law of an offence for which a hadd is prescribed in Islam, criminal breach of trust, or bribery.

If the a Judge has any other criminal convictions in a Court of Law for an offence not specified in Article 149(b)3, then s/he will be reviewed by the JSC before a decision on his/her eligibility is made.

This decision by the JSC raises some interesting questions to which this organisation feels the JSC should provide the Maldivian people with answers.

1) What does ‘being convicted’ mean?

Under the previous Constitution not all criminal cases would necessarily be taken to a court of law. It would have been possible for a case to be investigated, decided and punished and decided by other authorities such as the Justice Ministry, Anti-Corruption Board and the President’s Office.

Does this then mean that Judges with such convictions who have had their cases decided in such a manner (if there are any) would still satisfy the ‘high moral character’ stipulation? The Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) wrote to the JSC in the public interest on three occasions requesting information on the criminal records of Judges under the Right to Information enshrined in Article 29 of the Constitution.

MDN is yet to receive a response to this request from the JSC. In the absence of such information, it is all the more imperative that the criteria used by the JSC ensure the trust of the public in the Judiciary.

2) What of those judges who have had criminal cases filed against them in courts by the Attorney General (under the previous Constitution) and the Prosecutor General (under the current Constitution) but were not convicted in court?

Is it unreasonable for the people to demand that such allegations warrant not disqualification but at least a review of the case by the JSC to ensure that the Judge in question meets the ‘high moral character stipulation’?

3) What of those Judges who have cases pending against them at the JSC itself?

Is it not appropriate that the JSC review and decide these cases before deciding whether the Judge in question meets the ‘high moral character’ requirement?

MDN has brought together a coalition of 12 concerned NGOs (Madulu, Maldives Aid, Maldives NGO Federation, Huvadhoo Aid, Maldives Youth Action Network, Strength of Society, Rights for All, Huvadhoo Association for National Development, Society for Women Against Drugs, Journey, Nadella Island Development Society) who have launched the Just (Insaaf) Campaign, calling on the JSC to address concerns regarding the criteria. The petition drive launched by the Campaign is now underway in Male’ and some Atolls.

The Just Campaign urges all concerned citizens to read the petition (available at and if you agree with it, send in signed copies to MDN (fax: 330 2598, email: [email protected]).

The Campaign also has tables at the main entrance to the Carnival in Male’ and on Boduthakurufaanu Magu behind Dharubaaruge. The tables will be in place until Thursday June 10 from 1630 to 2230hrs.

The JSC has been mandated with one of the most crucial tasks to be performed during the transitional period. The Maldivian people now look to the Commission to ensure a Judiciary in which they can trust and a Judiciary which can protect the tenets of Islam, the principles of democracy and the basic rights of the Maldivian people.

No democracy can function effectively if there is a deficit of trust between the people and any of the three pillars of democracy, of which the Judiciary is one.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]


20 thoughts on “Comment: Call for JSC to explain itself is a JUST cause”

  1. Agree with the issue. But I also feel that MDN should also raise concern regarding other issues. It should not be a tool for MDP to achieve their objectives. It is obvious that after direct verbal confrontations with the judiciary MDP is now using this so called NGOs. Why were NGOs silent regarding the mysterious death of a youth in police custody?Instead of trying to reform the judiciary it would be wise for the NGOs to first reform themselves.

    Who are these so called NGOs? What are their real membership numbers? Do they have democratic constitutions and are they following those constitutions?Are they following good governance or are they just run by few individuals for their own benefit? Do they discuss these issues at board level or ask opinion from their members before getting involved in these issues? Who are funding them? Politicians? Are they seriously working to solve the problems in the community or are they just writing proposals for international donors according to the interests of the donors? Are they transparent in their conducts?

    I have an issue which I would like MDN and their so called NGO network to address. Its regarding the inconsistency in Maldivian constitution and decentralization law regarding the eligibility to run for various posts.

    For example if you see the criteria set for being eligible to run for atoll council and island council you will see that it is very stringent.

    However if you look at the criteria to run for parliament you will see that it is not as rigid. Even people who have been convicted for crimes for which a hadd is prescribed in Islam can run for parliament.
    Maybe because parliamentarians are the ones who are making these laws and they reserved special provisions for themselves. Or maybe they felt that parliamentarians can be a bunch of criminals/drug lords/rapists/child molesters and members of atoll and island council must be saints.

  2. Since when did a divorced women started teaching how to be married, the cause is just but the NGOs supporting this is very interesting, only if one would check how they operate, how many of them have members and are elected to board, the JSC is not doing any good to the society but so are those NGOs raising the concern hence the public loose any interest or trust in the system.

  3. In a nation where -

    1. The president is a CONVICTED thief.
    2. Where his Advisor Afeef has been SENTENCED for defamation.

    People talk about high moral character.

    The president is the head of the entire state, which includes, the government, parliament and the judiciary.

    Hence everyone should agree that he should have a much higher moral character than his subordinates, HES THE PRESIDENT!!

    Where are the NGO's on that, but the truth is, this is a fragmented group of NGO's run by the same people and who lacks any public support, running around for political support.

    The only thing the petition does is, try to get the parliament to influence an independent commission, and if thats the case, then people should do the same for all the other independent commissions and let the parliament run the commissions through their committees.

  4. There is probably no point in commenting on this issue any more. The people in JSC are no better than the judges in various courts that needs to be removed. So why would they set standards to exclude their own kind? We need to remove JSC and therefore elect decent people in parliament next time. This is the only way out of this mess.

  5. Instead of attacking the NGO's involved in this case we should concentrate on the JSC.

  6. Some selected NGO's working very hard to promote "secular state" in the Maldives. This young chap wants to shine and his well wisher sisters such as Hindha and others are behind this chap! Lets see if the true Islamic Values win this country or the Athestist and so called liberals win?

  7. we dont mind about the democracy .. we are muslims. now every maldivian has understood democracy from Mr Nazim. who has confirm he is non muslim and now insha allah he return to islam alhamdhulillah. Democracy plane to give freedom of religion in the Maldive... But we will not leave democracy to do watever democracy want do/ Insha allah we will kick out democracy from Maldives...Pls publish this comment

  8. mdn this is great and don t mind the narrow minded arrogants who try to complain and do nothing about it. and if the cause is just why not everyone support the cause. MDN good work

  9. How does 'Islam' and 'atheism' creep into the comments even in an article about a petition to the JSC?

    I'm afraid, I've lost faith that such mindless, insecure and paranoid folks even deserve a democracy or a just legal system or indeed - any perks of a modern civilized society.

  10. Some mindless and stupid people like "yaamyn" would never understand the real motive behind the attack on Justice system! I agree that there are true reforms that is much and urgently needed to Maldives Justice system..but people like Vel and this chap wants to secularize it while they do the job and wants to do it silently! These fools don't know that they are distorying the Maldivian society from the root! Or perhaps some of them are too "addicted" to understand any conseqences and others are so greedy to win "postions" to understand the deer conseqences! Remember Islam is way of life not just a mantra chanted every five t

  11. Most people do not want to be behind any group who claims to work even for just causes. Because JUST is determined by the outcome. If its favourable then it is just. And vice versa.

    NGOs should write a petition to the Finance Minister to develop a governance code for state owned companies which includes the process for recruitment and procurement as advised by the Anti Corruption Commission. The outcome of this will be prevention of unfair recruitment of MDP members and prevention unfairly awarding contracts to MDP members. But will this cause be JUST for these NGOs and others who work to support MDPs evil agenda?

    I am sure certainly not.

  12. @ Ilham: Asalaam Alaikum. Did this Vel and this other chap ever say they want to "secularize" this State?
    And are you insinuating that this "Hindha and others" are atheists? If so, how do you know that they are?
    By calling others names such as mindless and stupid and atheists and fools and greedy, are you in line with the way of life that Islam has taught us?

    Peace, brother (or sister)...

  13. wow ilham, totally missed the point didnt you? did you bother reading the petition? do you even know what the issue here is? where in the world does secularization or even religion come into this?

    and just to clarify, with regards to this issue, there is no race going on between islamic values and liberalism or atheism. or is it an islamic value that judges with criminal records be reappointed and made permanent? in that case your islam and my islam is very different.

  14. JSC and their ineffectiveness never occurred to our narrow minded friends here did it. this has nothing to do with islam or atheism, unless you people want to drag anything from decentralisation to atheism to public toilets into every effort people make for a better Maldives!

    @Ilham: why don't you try doing some good for the country? you just might qualify for a "position" you know. at this rate you are looking pretty "addicted" to antagonism. get a life man. do your five chants and stop grumbling if you can't do anything better.

    MDN and other ngos, you are doing a great job. keep it up. however i feel it is high time you involved the parliament into the review of judges. if the JSC didn't do it in the first place they would never do it right. it is not because they don't know what is right but because they don't want it.

  15. @ addu... man, you have a serious problem. somehow, some ngo or someone in an ngo seems to have had quite a disagreement with you. you apparently know a lot, but you, for some strange reason, refuse to accept the limited conditions and political dynamics within which these ngos (and everyone else in this country) are operating.

    and seriously, you are discrediting the work that some of these ngos and the ppl working in them do (and most of the time voluntarily at that).

    tell you what, why don't you take the initiative of contacting these ngos and working with them (give them your time, guidance, skill and knowledge freely) to work on what you have proposed?

  16. It's very un-Islamic of you to criticize and make offensive, unsubstantiated claims against NGOs who worked hard to create public awareness and involvement on this key issue; (which let's not forget is - reforming the judiciary). What have you done lately to improve this country?

  17. as far as I know, the NGOs that are being bashed are not exclusive clubs. any person interested in the cause are able to join these NGOs.

    to make a good difference, join the NGOs to see what its really like. you can make your voice heard there

  18. Hehe, haha.


    Ha ha ha.

    I've made the Maldivian ppl fools in 30 years by depriving university education and only focusing on small-time O/L which is also way too low in standard than the times in the late President Ibrahim Nasir (my fore most enemy & whom I hate so much.)

    Also I will get more power in 2013 when DRP or PA or Hassan Saeed or Dr.Waheed or Gasim wins the preseidency. HA HA HA

    What a bunch of fools are most Maldivians (even those graduated ones too. Cannot simply guess the games DRP and me and Yamin is playing with you guys all.) HA HA HE HE


Comments are closed.