Former President Nasheed promises to reform Judicial Service Commission within 68 days

Former President and opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s Presidential Candidate Mohamed Nasheed has said that he and his party will reform the state’s judicial watchdog the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) within the remaining 68 days before the scheduled presidential elections.

Speaking during a press conference on Monday, Nasheed said issues coming up recently concerning judges significantly threatened the dignity and credibility of the entire judiciary.

“The Maldives has set standards for judges established through its constitution. We are witnessing a time where those standards are being grossly ignored by the state institution concerned with judicial oversight and accountability,” he said.

Recalling his decision to arrest Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed, which eventually led to the ousting of his government on February 2012, Nasheed said that there had been 12 cases filed against the judge in JSC but the commission had failed take any action.

“Eventually, I raised the concerns to the police commissioner, the Defense Minister and the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF). When they took the action which they all believed was the best decision, you all witnessed what happened next,” Nasheed said.

Apart from the fall of his government, the dire repercussions of the arrest of the judge included a criminal prosecution of Nasheed and senior officials of his government at the Hulhumale Magistrate Court, in what he and his party contended was a politically-motivated attempt to scuttle his re-election bid.

A stay order from High Court led to the temporary suspension of the trials, and the suspension of the Chief Judge of the High Court by the JSC on year-old charges of misconduct.

Nasheed claimed other judges had begun displaying similar behaviour as that of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed, and said as yet state institutions including the JSC had failed to take adequate measures.

He also said that there are disputes within the JSC which had to be resolved through parliament.

Among these disputes included the recent stand made by the Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid, warning the JSC Chair that he would boycott the commission meetings should Hassan Fahmy – the Chair of Civil Service Commission who was deposed by parliament but reinstated by a Supreme Court ruling –  continue to take part in its meetings.

In a letter sent in early June to the JSC Chair, the Speaker of Parliament – who is by virtue of his position a member of the JSC – stressed that even though the chair of the CSC is also by virtue of his position a member of JSC, Fahmy cannot sit in the JSC because he had been deposed from his position by parliament.

“Therefore we need to take measures to find a way Speaker Shahid can sit in the commission, by deciding the matter of Fahmy. Therefore, in the 68 days left before the elections, we need to reform the judiciary. That is fairly easy for us now and I am confident that we can do that,” Nasheed said this morning.

Among the much needed reforms, the former President said the JSC must re-establish its credibility by making decisions in a transparent and informed manner.

“On the other hand, a presidential candidate currently sits in the JSC. We need to find another way where such anomalies are not present in the commission,” Nasheed said, referring to Jumhoree Party (JP) leader and business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim, who sits in the commission as parliament’s representative.

Speaking about the current composition of the JSC, Nasheed said  there was no specific model for an organisation such as the JSC.

“In some constitutions, parliamentarians are vested with the duty to oversee the judiciary while in others there have been cases where judges have looked into the cases of other judges. There have been committees appointed by heads of states that have looked into such cases,” he said.

Therefore, the question was not about the composition of the judges but rather the personal integrity of members sitting on such commissions, he said.

Nasheed emphasised the need for transparency, calling for the media to be allowed to cover JSC meetings and report on matters that take place within the commission.

Highlighting recent video footage that appeared on social media depicting Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed and a local businessman discussing the political affiliations of the judiciary, Nasheed claimed that while every individual was entitled to right of private life, such videos of judges must be investigated even police investigated those who were trying to use them for blackmail.

Nasheed also expressed concern over a possible hand in the government over the leaking of the videos involving judges after a senior council member of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s Gaumee Iththihaadh Party (GIP) was arrested trying to sell explicit sex videos featuring a judge.

Nasheed also expressed his frustration over MPs from former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), alleging they lacked any commitment towards judicial reform.

“PPM members do not see the need to take action against disciplinary issues of the judges, they do not see that the JSC needs reforms, they do not see that there are problems with the Supreme Court and they do not see the need to investigate pornographic videos of judges. Instead they say they those who shot the videos should be held culpable,” he claimed.

Nasheed said that his party had a 90-point legislative agenda to reform the judiciary once elected, but said this would require a sizable majority for his party in the parliamentary elections early next year.

“This legislation will cover most of the reform we are seeking. Before we embark upon this, we need to have a majority in parliament and without this it would be fairly difficult for us to implement these reforms,” he said.

He noted that after the elections the new government would face a period of a limbo until the parliamentary elections in May, but said he was “very confident” his government would overcome this.


21 thoughts on “Former President Nasheed promises to reform Judicial Service Commission within 68 days”

  1. This has to be on the top of your list of priorities.

  2. I wonder why he never did this when he was still in power and ruling the country like a dictator for 1100 days .

    How can he fix the problem in less than 68 days ? I guess he has the control on JSC and that is why he is possible to fix the issues.

    Since he is one of the man who is controlling the judiciary together with Gayyoom, i can believe that he will be able to fix the problem within 2 days also.

  3. Mr. Nasheed , if you can reform the judiacy and establish rule of law , that wd be enough. We will choose u even if other promises cannot be fullfled

    This has to be your no 1 priority as mentions above

  4. Kuribee, instead of complaining about what was not done before, think positive and vote President Nasheed for a new term 😉 I am sure that even you will benefit from a reformed judiciary in Maldives. Everyone except big time crooks will!

  5. Kuribee is a joker. If you recall Nasheed tried to reform the JSC but idiots took to the streets to defend a corrupt judge.

    This time around who ever wins should have absolute backing from all of the public regardless of what party they follow to get rid of unqualified and corrupt judges.

  6. Nasheed should know that it's impossible to close all the loop holes in any system. Humans are very creative and will find new ways to get around ANY system that's put in place.

    When Dictator Abdel-Gay-Yoom was in charge, it was rather easy to work one's way through the "system". No one bat an eye lid. As a result, his mates got filthy rich, and the rest is history.

    Now, we have a few obstacles put in place to prevent easy manipulation. However, crooks have found ways around them (e.g. a guy who was ousted from his post still remains at large siphoning off state funds). The net result is our less than stellar Judiciary, Executive and Parliament!

    The solution is to have a mechanism in place for continuous reform. When loop holes are found, they need to be patched. This is a never ending process. You cannot just write a constitution, appoint independent institutions and be done! That has never worked anywhere in the world.

  7. Currently all roads lead to a corrupt judicary. The country can never recover unless they are removed. That is obvious.

  8. Our compatriot, @Kuribee is no joker at all!

    @Kuribee has a permanent disorder! An uncertain itch!
    Nasheed, when heard or seen trigger this itch.
    Unless the itch is off-loaded, and extravagantly, there can be no ease, or peace, for @Kuribee!

    Just like the Asterix character, OBELIX; while a baby, @Kuribee had fallen into a certain magic portion, that was been brewed by a dude-ruid!

    Anyone who take this portion will is supposed to have a perpetual dislike towards a certain Nasheed!

    It is very unfortunate that @Kuribee had fallen into the cauldron!

  9. Anni should try to abolish this monkey judiciary; you don’t need a judiciary in uncivilized underdeveloped people. You can’t change the people of Fishermen’s Republic; they will be fishermen whatever changes you bring to the system. The people who will be ruling there will be these uneducated monkeys who think Shria is something very unique came down from the heaven.

    What you can expect from such inhuman people, you can pay them fat salaries but their greed is unlimited, these people will work when there is smell of money. In 30000 population, you may get a handful criminal cases, most of the cases in fishermen Islands are domestic issues, and cheating and robbing, you can solve that problem without using this judicial system. This gives opportunity for those uneducated inhuman judges to squeeze money from rouge people and do ruling in favor of those who pays them more and the whole judicial system is like an enterprise to make money.

    It is natural for human being to be greedy, the only thing that can stop such natural instinct is when people understand that the purpose of life is only to do good not to be slaves of some imaginary god who is very much like a human being who has desires, emotion that drives him to be happy when praised, scarified and worshiped and in return he will give eternal lust. The whole problem is people as general what you can correct when there is nothing to use to clean up the mess.

  10. Nasheed is well known corrupt person. He is the one who had sold states assets for peanuts and he is then one who is the biggest threat for the judiciary and he is the one who had tried to hijack the judiciary system .

    I know 90% of the readership of this propaganda news media are Nasheed hardcore activist who are being paid to post all good comments about him and the news itself has to bring out all good about him and promote his profile.

    But that does not mean people like us who like to have better society and better democracy , should stop making criticism about the dictator Nasheed and Gayyoom.

    Both Nasheed and gayyoom are responsible for damaging our social fabric and they both had robbed this country.

    But Nasheed is even worse and he managed to robbed more in just 3 years than what Gayyoom managed in 30 years.

    I guess still this can be credit for Nasheed and guess Nasheed is then can be considered a better robber .

  11. Promising.

    It cannot be emphasised enough the necessity of ensuring the "judicial reform” process is carried out in a transparent and responsible manner, so as to gain both public trust and investor confidence in the judicial system and the State.

    In following democratic best practice, I hope President Nasheed, and the MDP, will draw up an blueprint of the proposed reforms to the Judicial Service Commission and Courts, and share these with the Public for comment and discussion too together with any proposed amendments to Law or Constitution.

    This would help prevent allegations of political wheeling and dealing which may raise further doubt upon independence of judges and the Courts.

    While a majority in Parliament (by hook or crook) can amend legislation and rearrange government/ Courts through politics, substantive and meaningful change, and real reform drawing legitimacy from the Constitution will come, in my opinion, from first addressing the issues in JSC which is deeper than just the composition; and second, by redressing and fully executing Article 285 which guaranteed fully independent, competent, honest judges to the State and Citizen.

    Both are do-ables, in fact obligations and duties upon the State. What was missing is political willingness.

    I wish President Nasheed the best of luck, and the strength to see through the process of building a democratic State in the Maldives where a majority of those “leading” the political process are in fact the enemies of democracy, and thereby the Constitution.

    Aishath Velezinee
    Member of the Maldives' Judicial Service Commission (April 2009 - May 2011)

  12. @Kuribee!

    "I guess still this can be credit for Nasheed", very true!

    The consistent supply of criticism will be handy for someone evaluating!

    Moreover, I am a one hundred percent or more, sure you ultimately shred 'that itch' with a YES vote for the man you itch so much!

  13. i have vited the guy in 2008 and will never again.

    My vote will go to either of the three other candidate and yet to decide based on what they can really do the for the country .

  14. not only my vote and there are bit of a crowd who will do same along with me.

  15. Hip hip hurrrrrrrrrrrrrrah!
    I am more than a hundred percent sure you and the bit of a crowd will go and get rid of 'that itch' by voting for President Nasheed! Yes!
    Thanks Sweetheart! You are one in a million!

  16. Velezinee, people like you should become the Attorney General. People like you who really love the people. Why did Nasheed failed? All because of his cabinet. Look at Aminath Jameel. She cannot "hingaa" the Health Ministry.What a flop. Look at Shifa Mohamed. She cannot even look after her weight. Look at Zulfa. She fled away,when in need. Look at so many people in Anni's cabinet. They could not give him appropriate advice.

  17. Everyone has forgotten our new constitution..

    With the adoption of the new constitution in 2008, the 3 powers has been separated..

    Executive - Parliament - Judiciary

    This way Executive can't meddle with the Judiciary, we all know that Judiciary needs to be reformed.. but it has to be done within the powers stipulated in the law..

    Best is Executive to give up their harsh and unlawful approach.. then request the International Community for assistance to reform, here Majilis will also need to play an important role..

  18. @KURIBEE

    To answer your question about why judicial reform did not happen in President Nasheed’s administration you should go to the Majlis archives and look at the minutes of the Majlis. There you will see that during the transition period the laws that were required by the constitution were blocked by Maumoon affiliated MPs in Majlis namely DRP and PA and other MPs who had a vested interest in ensuring there was no judicial reform. Swearing the sitting judges for life before the Judiciary Act was passed was a violation of the constitution.

    So if you really want to point fingers of who violated the constitution point at the MPs who obstructed the Judiciary Act from being passed and the man who conducted the swearing in of the judges. The MDP was in the minority in the Majlis at the time.

    And if you want to go further than that look at the constitution. Look at Gayoom and his cronies in that Majlis including special representatives of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and chaired by none other than Gasim the Great who was Gayoom’s Finance Minister at the time who allowed such a ridiculous structure for the JSC in the constitution.

    Face the fact: the Maldives is a failed state. And it was failed by the power hungry egoistic narcissistic men playing mind games just for the heck of it rather than any real interest in the welfare of the people.

    The only way we can restore integrity in the institutions of the Maldives is by revising the constitution and making laws and creating the structures that would support a modern vibrant nation.

    So YES to President Nasheed's commitment to reform the Judiciary. And vote the parasites in Majlis who block judicial reform out of the Majlis in the next parliamentary elections.

    We have the power to do this by our vote.

  19. Is that even possible to do such in a short time?


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