Eight judges of the High Court’s nine-member bench have filed a case with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) against Chief Judge of the High Court Ahmed Shareef , for suspending the Hulhumale Magistrate Court’s trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed without allegedly registering the case in court.
The High Court on Monday ordered the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court to suspend former President Mohamed Nasheed’s trial until it determined the legitimacy of the panel of judges appointed to examine his case. The stay order, signed by Chief Judge Ahmed Shareef, stated that the court was of the view that Nasheed’s ongoing trial must come to a halt until the legitimacy of the bench was established.
Following the decision, the Hulhumale-based magistrate court suspended all trials concerning the detention of Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed in 2012.
According to local media reports, the High Court judges who filed the case against Chief Judge Shareef claimed he had issued the stay order without registering the case, did not assign a case number to the case, and had not discussed the matter with the other judges.
They claimed that usual practice at the court was to discuss the matter with other judges, although stay orders were ultimately issued by a single judge.
A spokesperson from the JSC confirmed to Minivan News that the commission had received a “letter” from eight judges of High Court regarding Judge Shareef. However, he declined to provide any details of the case.
This is the second such case filed against Judge Shareef by the other members of the bench.
However, speaking to local media, a High Court media official denied the allegations made by the judges, stating that the case concerning the stay order was registered at the court on Sunday and the former President’s legal team had paid the charges the next day. The media official added that the order was issued after the court had received the payment.
He also said that the usual practice was that a person was asked to pay the charges only after the court decided to accept a case, and that therefore the order was issued after the court had registered the case.
Last year in June, seven High Court Judges lodged a case against Judge Shareef regarding similar conduct in which the seven judges accused him of tampering with decisions made by the majority of the High Court bench.
Other claims by the seven judges included assigning cases to judges arbitrarily, discriminating between judges in assigning cases and of not correcting these issues despite repeated requests.
The case is still pending in the JSC and Minivan News understands that no action has been taken against Judge Shareef so far.
In July 2012, the High Court ordered police to investigate claims made to the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), that Chief Judge Shareef had met officials from Malaysian mobile security solutions provider Nexbis – who was given contract to develop a border control system for the department of Immigration – in Bangkok.
Judge Shareef had returned home from a conference in Singapore after spending a week in Bangkok, where he was alleged to have met Nexbis representatives.
However, Nexbis denied that any such meeting took place, and filed a case in a bid to stop the ACC from publicly sharing information on the investigation while the matter was in court, and seeking an apology for the damage to its reputation.
Asking police to investigate the allegations made to the ACC, the High Court meanwhile stressed in a statement that “no individual Judge can simply influence a decision of the Court, as all cases in the High Court are presided by a minimum of three judges and a ruling is only made by the majority of a particular bench.”
The accusations sent to the ACC were an “extremely irresponsible act with intentions to deceive and manipulate the truth,” the Court’s statement read.
Meanwhile, local media outlet Sun Online claimed that Judge Ahmed Shareef’s name was also included in the Judicial Reform Commission – a commission formed by presidential decree, which opponents of former President Mohamed Nasheed alleged that was to be formed to remove the existing lower courts and reappoint the judges.
However, the commission was never formed after President Nasheed suddenly and controversially resigned on February 7, 2012 which he maintains was forced.
Despite the new case filed against Judge Ahmed Shareef, no decision has been made to revoke the stay order issued by the High Court.