The parliament’s independent institutions oversight committee yesterday declared that the Elections Commission (EC) President Fuwad Thowfeek and Vice President Ahmed Fayaz still remain in their posts despite the Supreme Court’s verdict to the contrary.
Yesterday (March 10), parliament also sent a letter to Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain and Attorney General Mohamed Anil stating that the dismissals were contrary to the constitutional procedures governing their appointment and dismissal, as well as the Elections Commission Act.
The letter stated that the contents were based on the legal advice of parliament’s Counsel General Fathimath Filza after her analysis of the Supreme Court’s verdict.
Senior leaders within the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) have today criticised the letter, noting it did not represent a parliamentary decision and also that such statements were beyond the Majlis’ remit.
EC President Thowfeek, Vice President Fayaz and the remaining members – Ali Mohamed Manik and Mohamed Farooq – were also been summoned to attend a committee meeting at 1:30pm today (March 11).
The EC members have been summoned for the purpose of discussing how procedural matters were carried out during the case proceedings, as well as to discuss ‘suo moto’ proceedings as applied through the constitution.
The committee held discussions with the EC members as well as Thowfeek and Fayaz at a closed-door session today.
In addition to the members of the EC, the committee also decided to summon members of the Judicial Services Commission at 2pm today to debate ‘suo moto’ and the means of taking action against the Supreme Court.
Deputy Chair of the committee, MDP MP Rozaina Adam – who chaired Monday’s meeting – alleged that while the Supreme Court has the constitutional mandate of having final say in matters of justice, what is currently being observed is a tendency to abuse those powers.
MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy stated that “it is an obligation to criticise a court on which’s bench sits ‘naked’ judges” – referring to the leaked sex video of Supreme Court judge Ali Hameed. He added that there is no law which outlaws the criticism of courts outside of court hearings.
“What we are seeing today is judicial shamelessness,” Fahmy said, asserting that the Supreme Court’s verdict against the EC was unconstitutional.
“It’s a parliamentary statement, not a decision”: PPM PG Leader
PPM Parliamentary Group Leader Moosa Zameer has responded to the letter sent yesterday, stating he did not believe it was a parliamentary decision.
“I don’t believe it is a decision. On the other hand, the parliament can release a statement or send a letter to someone based on the advice of the Counsel General. However, that is not a parliamentary decision,” said Zameer.
“We don’t accept that the letter signed by the speaker and his deputy is a parliamentary decision. Parliamentary decisions are ones which are taken on the parliament floor,” Zameer is quoted as saying to local media.
He added that it was obligatory for all to obey the orders of the Supreme Court, and that the PPM’s stand echoed this principle.
When contacted by Minivan News for further comment, neither Zameer’s nor PPM MP Ahmed Nihan were responding to calls at the time of press.
President Abdulla Yameen has also criticised the letter, claiming that it is outside the parliament’s mandate to release such a statement.
Speaking at the launching of PPM’s Villimalé parliamentary candidate Ahmed Nihan’s campaign, Yameen stated that it was the norm in a modern civilisation to obey the rulings of the Supreme Court.
He reiterated that the government would follow the orders of the Supreme Court and that it would proceed to elect new members to the EC.